"INSTA-GRAMMABLE" DESSERTS

It seems like in the past few years, instagrammable desserts have been a thing now. Who doesn’t love desserts that are brightly colored, topped with an assortment of fun different toppings? Or even better, a fish shaped waffle to hold your ice cream in. If it’s one thing I am a sucker for, it is sweets. And if it’s pleasing to the eye aka IG worthy, then I am an even bigger sucker for it. So for this Food Battle I compared three of Honolulu’s newest popular dessert places, all gram worthy and all deliciously sweet.

THRILLS

Thrills in Food Battle Desserts
Thrills on Piikoi

Thrills is a soft serve shop located on Piikoi, right next to Ichiriki. Upon entering, you’ll notice the brightly lit up store with the cute flowered wall (of course meant for you to take your Instagram worthy photos), pink benches and cute sayings.  I expected a variety of different flavors to choose from but they actually only have four that changes weekly. Ube seems to be a regular on the menu and one of the more popular choices. And unfortunately, they don’t offer twists on flavors so you’ll have to settle on one. You have a choice between a cup ($5) or cone ($6) which includes one free topping. I thought that was pretty reasonably priced for a dessert. Each additional topping is 50 cent more unless you get the toasted marshmallow then it’s a $1.

Thrills in Food Battle Desserts
Topping choices for your soft serve

My first time visiting I decided on the ube (in a cup) because I love all things ube, and topped it with fruity pebbles. In my honest opinion, the ube soft serve was good but I imagined the flavor to be a little stronger. On my most recent visit, I got their brownie batter, in a cone, with Lucky Charms cereal for my topping. You have a choice between the dark cocoa or the vanilla batter which happened to be a pink colored cone. As much as I wanted to try the dark cocoa, I couldn’t resist the cute pink colored cone (duh for the pictures). The brownie batter was light in flavor again and kind of just tasted like a chocolate ice cream but the Lucky Charms definitely went well with the soft serve. I also recommend getting it in a cone.

Thrills in Food Battle Desserts
Left: Matcha oreo with Reese's Puffs in dark cocoa cone; Right: Brownie batter with luck charms in vanilla cone

Overall, I love having Thrills as a dessert option and I am “thrilled” that Thrills is open daily from 12pm to 10pm and till 11 pm on Fridays and Saturdays. Perfect for all you late night dessert fiends like me. Paid parking is located behind the building (same parking lot as Ichiriki) or you can do what my friend and I did and walked from the shopping mall.

Thrills
510 Piikoi Street
Honolulu, HI 96814
Instagram page

SOMISOMI

Somisomi in in Food Battle Desserts
Matcha and ube swirld with custard filling ($5.95)

SomiSomi, a Korean inspired dessert, is another trendy dessert spot located in the Makai Market at Ala Moana. It replaced my beloved favorite Dairy Queen but it’s okay because SomiSomi is that good. They are another soft serve spot but they are known for their fish shaped cones (tastes like a pancake) called taiyaki. It is freshly made and you can get it with a filling of your choice (Nutella, custard, red bean, taro or cheese). Similar to Thrills, they have only four flavors but it stays the same except for the twists. That changes weekly.  I have tried every single flavor so far — Oreo, matcha, ube and milk. Honestly, I like them all! It really all depends on what mood I’m in. Oh and FYI, the matcha has a very strong matcha tea taste so if you don’t like that, I’d recommend a different flavor.  

As for the filling, my favorite has been the taiyaki with Nutella or custard. The filled taiyaki combined with the soft serve is just heaven in my mouth. I also love how rich and creamy the soft serve is. It’s honestly probably the best I’ve had on this island. You also have a choice of how you want to eat the soft serve. You can order it with the soft serve inside the Taiyaki aka “AH-BOONG” or you can have the taiyaki on top (upside down). Speaking from experience, I recommend getting the taiyaki upside down so it is less messy and easier to eat. But if you want it for the instagram worthy photo then I’d get the “AH-BOONG.” 

Somisomi in Food Battle Desserts
Somi Somi taiyaki ice cream in a cup

For a cup of soft serve it is $3.95 but for the taiyaki cone it is $2 more. The toppings are unlimited and you also get a choice of a macaron or flower to add on top! This place has definitely been my top new dessert places to satisfy my sweet cravings. Yes, the line can get kind of crazy on some days, but it goes by pretty fast and I promise you it is all worth it.

SomiSomi
Located in Ala Moana Center
www.somisomi.com

ICE MONSTER

Ice Monster Waikiki in Food Battle Desserts
Coffee Sensation - Large size, brown sugar jelly, panna cotta, cream gelato ($13.50)

Although not soft serve, Ice Monster is another place I like to go to especially when I want something really refreshing. The shaved ice dessert place is a chain from Taiwan. They also have a food truck at Don Quiote that I would pass by all the time so when I found out that they were opening a store I was pretty excited. Ice Monster can’t be missed as it is located in Waikiki right next to Nordstrom Rack. The place itself is huge!  I was actually surprised how big it was considering it is just shaved ice. I will say though, their shaved ice is not just any regular shaved ice. I would describe the taste and texture being in between shaved ice, snow and the creaminess of ice cream. And it is overall delicious!

They have 6 different flavors to choose from — Bubble Milk Tea Sensation, Fresh Mango Sensation, Fresh Strawberry Sensation, Fresh Papaya Milk Sensation, Matcha Sensation and Coffee Sensation. Although all of them sounded good, I decided on the Coffee Sensation. Each shaved ice comes with different toppings. Mines included brown sugar jelly, Panna Cotta and cookies and cream gelato. All the toppings complimented the creamy coffee ice dessert. For some reason, I don’t feel so bad eating it since it feels like I’m just eating ice or at least I just tell myself that. 

Ice Monster Waikiki in Food Battle Desserts
Fresh Mango Sensation - Small size, mango sorbet, panna cotta, fresh mango ($12.80)

The Ice Monster dessert ranges from $13-$15 (for the large size). It sounds pricey but it is meant for sharing. I would say the large is good for 2-3 people. You can also get a small order that range from $10-12. If you check in on Yelp, they offer 10% off 😉

I really enjoyed this place and it is especially a nice treat for those really hot days.

Ice Monster
2255 Kuhio Avenue
Honolulu, HI 96815
www.ice-monster-hi.com

THE VERDICT

Although I love all three places and each is different, my go-to dessert place would have to be SomiSomi. Their soft serve wins hands down in taste and consistency.  Plus their taiyaki are always freshly made!