happy saturday! popping in this weekend to share the story of how uncle clay's house of pure aloha came to be which just might make your heart melt . . .
once upon a time a boy's childhood dream is to become the proprietor of his neighborhood sweet shop. fast forward four decades later when uncle clay finally acquires his coveted storefront then skip forward a few years more when, with the help of nephew bronson and crowdfunding from around the world, a makeover transforms the old timey space into the nicest shave ice shop in the islands.
the handcrafted syrups featuring locally sourced ingredients and the shop's modern decor are what tempted me and the mister to make a detour to 'aina haina after grazing our way through the kcc farmers market. and, oh my, our first hopa encounter was a very pleasant surprise. (in fact, we made two visits during our winter trip just so photos could be snapped for this post.)
the menu features all the tropical fruity favorites kama'aina love along with flavors for more adventurous palates (sweet potato or kalespin, a blend of earthy greens, anyone?). the li hing perfectly balances salty and sweet, the green tea delicate and nuanced, and the lightly sweetened coconut made a fan of your girl reporter who refuses most coconutty offerings.
extra fixings are also on the menu including tropical dreams ice cream (made in small batches on the big island & so 'ono!), homemade mochi, and ono pops li hing powder.
peek inside plus find out how you can help hopa's 1st anniversary pop-up project after the jump!
the hopa 'ohana welcomes every customer with a smile and uncle clay can best be described as an ambassador of aloha who took time to talk story and introduce us to fellow customers before eventually sending us on our way with a hug. it was truly one of the most delightful and inspiring moments during our trip home.
and, since my inner treehugger cringes every time a plastic monstrosity is whipped out upon ordering shave ice (oh for the days when a paper cone would do), hopa scores bonus points for presenting their frozen delights in biodegradable bowls accompanied by compostable spoons.
the next time you crave something sweet you simply must find your way to hopa for a cup of cheer:
- where: 'aina haina shopping center (just a few doors down from cake couture)
- shop hours: mon to thu, 11a to 6p & fri to sun, 10:30a to 8p
treats from local producers, including madre chocolate bars, can also be scooped up in the shop.
p.s. share hopa forward celebrates the shop's 1st anniversary by inviting one and all to help fund a future pop-up which hopes to gift 2,012 cups of shave ice to the community with an extra serving of pure aloha.