Ice cream shops are ideal for a mid-afternoon snack or an after dinner tide-over.

On Oahu, numerous ice cream shops are conveniently scattered across the island to satisfy any islander’s sweet tooth. Here are three that I think are stand-outs:

Samurai Inc.

With two locations (in Kalihi and Aiea), Samurai Inc. is considered one of the most renowned soft serve shops on the island. With its constantly changing and wide variety of flavors, Samurai keeps things interesting. I’ve visited Samurai numerous times for this reason. Their soft serve. Samurai’s soft serve isn’t necessarily ice cream, gelato, or frozen yogurt. The soft serve offered at Samurai is unique and uncommon when it comes to their flavors and texture. A velvety serving of soft serve strawberry and vanilla ice cream combined feature flavors that complement each other dulcetly well. Aside from their soft serve, Samurai also offers other snacks such as popcorn and candy. Parking for Samurai isn’t a hassle because of the ample street parking and there normally isn’t usually a long line of customers waiting so my occasional visits to Samurai are quick and short. Besides there being minimal space to sit down and enjoy my soft serve, Samurai’s is one of my favorite go-to ice cream shops.

Via Gelato

Centered in Kaimuki, the friendly and quaint Via Gelato attracts the attention of hungry stomachs. When I first walked in, I took notice of the cozy, friendly environment. Hand-drawn paintings are featured on the wall in one corner, and the ambience makes it a great hangout spot. The sweet aroma of freshly made waffle cones permeated my nose as I was immediately greeted by a worker who was making ice-cream cones from scratch. Looking at the cases lined with numerous flavors of gelato such as the guava sorbet, caramel with caramel cuts, salted caramel fudge swirl, frosted flakes, I was overwhelmed with indecisiveness and excitement. I decided on on a small cup of green tea and haupia gelato. I noticed that the gelato had a softer and creamier texture than ice cream. What’s most impressive is that all of the gelato is hand-made in the kitchen located in the back of the store. I was so intrigued by Via Gelato that I ended up getting a part-time job there not too long after my first visit.


Lastly, with its three locations in Aiea, Honolulu, and Hawaii Kai, Bubbies is a well-known ice cream shop and brand in Hawaii. I decided to visit Bubbies to find out if it lives up to its reputation. Because of the overwhelmingly large chalkboard crammed with different dessert types, toppings, and sizes available to customers, the line at Bubbies was long and slow with indecisive customers. While waiting, I noticed positive reviews and accolades decorating the walls. Stacks of mochi ice cream immaculately lined the front half of a display case while the other half displayed tubs of various ice cream flavors, ranging from passion fruit, blueberry, and tiramisu. Bubbies also serves cakes, sundaes, smoothies and floats, but I limited myself to only ordering their popular mochi ice cream, a creamy homemade ice cream coated with a light and chewy mochi shell. Service was exceptionally good, but there was no available restroom to customers, similar to Via Gelato. Due to its popularity, parking and seating at Bubbies can be hard to come by. This is also a problem with Via Gelato. Also, Bubbies’ cash-only policy isn’t appealing but its delectable flavors and welcoming environment makes up for it.