“Hispanics, Latino—they know the word paletas because paletas is the Spanish word for popsicles,” said Paletas Hawaii owner Laurainne Martinez.
Originally, Martinez sold popsicles with her brother during the summer in Seattle, where her family is, to make some extra money. But Martinez convinced her family to move the shop to Hawaii and open full-time where summer lasts year-round.
Martinez uses a family recipe from Mexico that was passed down from generations. All the fruit-based paletas are made with chunks fruit with no artificial tastes or coloring. They offer a variety of flavors including Tamarind and Hibiscus, made from the fruit and flower.
“Paletas Hawaii is trying to incorporate a Mexican dessert into Hawaii, not just the Mexican food. We want people to know more of the desserts that the Hispanic or Latino community has to offer as well,” Martinez said.
Find them at: 156 Unit A Mokueia Street, farmer’s markets, Ala Moana Beach on Saturdays
“We add a splash of aloha to our popsicles,” said Aloha Pops owner Kathy Sills. With local flavors like coconut, lilikoi and passion orange guava, all popsicles are made with fresh, local ingredients whenever possible.
Since opening in 2011, Sills wanted to bring a popsicle tricycle to Hawaii, much like the ice cream tricycles that were popular in New York. With the help of social media, Aloha Pops really took off and can now be found at events such as Eat The Street, Honolulu Night Market—even catering for private parties, birthdays, anniversaries and other events.
But no matter where Aloha Pops goes, it hopes to accomplish one thing: “We want to bring out the kid in you,” said Sills. “We want you to take a bite of our popsicle and go, ‘Wow, I remember when I was 10 years old and sitting, eating a pink popsicle down at the beach and getting sand in it and getting all jumpy and running off in the water.’”
Find them at: Store location on 1160 Smith Street or Aloha Pops Tricycle at the King Kamehameha statue on King Street
After Christine Vestfals and Lary Lutz got married on Maui 11 years ago, they kept returning to the island for anniversaries and holidays, eventually wanting to stay permanently. After noticing a popsicle trend on the mainland, the couple decided to try it on Maui. In 2012, the couple launched Shaka Pops and quickly became popular among locals and tourists who kept returning for more.
Shaka Pops highlights tropical flavors such as pineapple ginger or pina colada, but their most popular flavor is the lava flow. “When and my husband and I were here vacationing, we’d always go out to have a fruity cocktail like a lava flow and thought it was something that would really appeal to tourists, but that’s actually our most popular flavor with locals as well,” Vestfals said.
Find them at: Various retail locations around Maui, swap meets on Saturday mornings at Maui Community College, community events
OnoPops chef and owner Josh Lanthier-Welch’s brother got the idea of opening a popsicle business in Honolulu five years ago when he tried a high-end popsicle place on the east coast and was impressed by the exotic flavor combinations made from local fruit. He eventually convinced Lanthier-Welch, who lived on the mainland at that time, to move back to Hawaii and opened up OnoPops in 2010.
“We’re not just a frozen novelty company,” Lanthier-Welch said. “We’re also absolutely committed to supporting Hawaii agriculture … We’re 100 percent local.” From the fresh fruits that were grown in Hawaiian soil to the dairy from the Big Island and raw sugar cane from Maui, you won’t find any preservatives or artificial flavors in any of the OnoPops, and each is made with only three to five ingredients.
Find them at: Farmer’s markets, Zippy’s, retail locations such as Wholefoods and Safeway
Try this: Butter mochi
(Image: The OnoPops brothers)
5 ) ICE FRU
Ice Fru Owner Jackie Doiguchi’s daughter loves ice cream, but Doiguchi didn’t want to give her factory ice cream because of the high amounts of sugar and additives. So she decided to make her own healthier ice creams and popsicles, and shared it with the public in 2012.
Doiguchi wants to promote and share healthier dessert options. She gathers fresh, local ingredients from local farmer’s markets and doesn’t use a lot of sugar. With the help of her worker, May Sinhvongsa, they make batches of the ice creams and popsicles each week that come in either square, chocolate bar or heart shapes.
Find them at: Inside Palama Supermarket at Waimalu Shopping Center
Try this: Watermelon pop
(Image: Ice Fru options at Palama Supermarket, photo Jackie Doiguchi)