A HILO CLASSIC

When you think of Hilo food or omiyage, what do you think of first? For me, the first thing that comes to mind is Two Ladies Kitchen. And, for a good reason; the landmark hole-in-the-wall makes the best mochi around.

THE LOCATION

Two Ladies Kitchen is really easy to find. It’s on Kilauea Ave across from the Hilo Bayfront Soccer Fields. Parking is street-only, but if you can’t find any street parking, just park at the soccer field.

Two Ladies Kitchen
Two Ladies Kitchen

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

So, Two Ladies Kitchen has seen immense growth in popularity over the past few years. When I went four or five years ago, they were already crowded, with a mostly local clientele. But nowadays, the line is INSANE, and there appears to be significantly more tourists joining the crowd. As a result, be prepared to wait a significant amount of time for your order, or place your order ahead of time by phone. In fact, I encourage you to place your order at least a day or two ahead so you can guarantee the availability of what you want. 

Two Ladies Kitchen
Pre-ordering is recommended

This time around, we didn’t pre-order, though. Instead, we showed up and waited in line for about 10-ish minutes to place our order. From there, it was another 30 to 40 minutes before we received our order. In the meantime, though, we headed a couple of doors down to cool off with some Shaka Tea and talked story with other locals standing around. One of the workers from Two Ladies also came out to pass out samples of mochi to those of us waiting in line, which was nice. 

Shaka tea near Two Ladies Kitchen
Shaka Tea a few doors down from Two Ladies Kitchen

MENU

What you order really depends on your personal preference, but Two Ladies Kitchen is famous for their Strawberry Mochi. 

Two Ladies Kitchen
The signature strawberry mochi

But, in recent years, their mochi-wrapped fruit lineup has grown considerably. So now, depending on the season, expect to find options such as Grape, Bing Cherry, Yellow Peach, Pluto Peach, Fuji Apple, Poha Berry, Nectarine, and Strawberry Shortcake.

Two Ladies Kitchen
The menu at Two Ladies Kitchen

While the fresh fruit mochi is Two Ladies’ signature offerings, their other selection of mochi is worth the visit too. That menu doesn’t change much but includes a range of azuki-filled mochi, Koshi-filled mochi, a small variety of Manju, butter mochi, peanut butter mochi, brownie mochi, peach white bean mochi, coconut chichidango, lilikoi chichidnago, and sometimes even fresh ginger mochi. 

WHAT WE ORDERED

On our most recent visit, we couldn’t decide what to get. So we told them to give us two each of every fresh fruit mochi they had available. We also got two each of Shiso Koshi mochi, the Lilikoi Chichidango, the Butter Mochi, and the Fresh Ginger Mochi. They even tossed in a few pieces of Oreo-filled mochi as an apology for the wait. 

Two Ladies Kitchen
Two Ladies Kitchen
Fresh fruit mochi!

Of all the pieces we got, my favorite fruit mochi types were the yellow peach/nectarine and strawberry ones. 

Two Ladies Kitchen
Yellow peach mochi

My wife liked the Strawberry Shortcake version, though her unavailable favorites include the Grape and Poha varieties. In case you’re wondering, yes, there’s literally a chunk of cake in the Shortcake Mochi. But it’s strawberry preserves in there, not fresh strawberry. 

Two Ladies Kitchen
Strawberry shortcake mochi

As for the standard offerings, my favorites are the Lilikoi Chichidango and the Shiso (mochi made with Yukari and filled with Koshi). The wife, on the other hand, liked the Fresh Ginger and the Oreo. By the way, the Fresh Ginger Mochi has a much lighter flavor than I thought it would. You can definitely taste it, but it doesn’t burn or anything like that.

Two Ladies Kitchen
Fresh ginger mochi

Unfortunately, the Butter Mochi was a little disappointing this time around.  It wasn’t a buttery or smooth as I remember it being.

FINAL THOUGHTS

You really can’t visit Hilo without stopping by Two Ladies Kitchen. Heck, I’d even plan my trip around a visit there if I can. After all, they’re only open Tuesday to Saturday. And I suppose I did kind of plan our activities that day around being able to visit Two Ladies. But it’s worth it. I wouldn’t hesitate to make the drive to Kona and back just for this again. I’ll just remember to call ahead and order next time. 

Two Ladies Kitchen
274 Kilauea Avenue
Hilo, HI 96720
Ph: 808-961-4766
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