There are few things that feel as right as supporting good business – and when their product is superior, sweet, cool and refreshing, and healthy – it’s a triple threat. That’s what I found at HOPA, a fourth-generation island family-owned shave ice shop in Hawaii Kai. This one room store is tucked away in the Aina Haina Shopping Center, off the main road between Waikiki and Sea Life Park. Clay, a.k.a Uncle Clay and recently his nephew Bronson, are making quite possibly the best shave ice on the island. And yes, I’ve tasted quite a few cones in my day. Vibe: If Clay is there, you'll get a very friendly welcome, get used to words like Ohana and Aloha and unless you tell Uncle Clay that you’re in a rush, he’ll likely introduce you to everyone else in the shop. His “pure aloha” is contagious and you just might find that you’ve made some new friends.
Menu: Everything including the silverware and bowls has an eye toward sustainability, the syrups and toppings (including homemade mochi) are all natural, no chemicals/dyes or preservatives. Prices; Keiki $3, Original, $4, Large, $5.
Not to Miss: While I would also say this is the spot to buy that Hawaii souvenir, because, HOPA has lots of unique merchandise, if I had to pick just one “not to miss” item, I’d have to go with the green tea and coconut combo.