Sunday, January 8, 2012

Okinawan Sweet Potato Haupia Squares

Enjoying my little treat on gorgeous Waikiki Beach
One of the things I loved about growing up in Hawaii was being exposed to so many different cultures, languages, and of course, food.   While the title of this next delicious dessert sounds completely normal to me, after telling a friend from New York about it, she replied, "the whatta?"

So let's break it down: 

Okinawan: where this pretty little potato is from.  For the geography-challenged, Okinawa is one of Japan's southern prefectures (ok, I may have looked that up.  I was going to say "somewhere in south Japan" but that sounded a bit vague).

Sweet Potato:  Okinawan sweet potato is my FAVORITE kind of sweet potato, not just for it's lovely sweetness, but for it's wildly different color--a beautiful deep purple hue.
Poor little guys, I wanted to take them all home.
Haupia: this is my FAVORITE Hawaiian dessert.  In a nutshell, it's coconut pudding--but definitely not your average pudding.  Traditional haupia is very thick with a creamy, coconut flavor that's mildly sweet.

You can probably see that by combining two of my favorite foods--Okinawan sweet potato and Haupia--we're already off to a really good start.  Add a sweet and crunchy graham cracker crust and POW: a delectable dessert, courtesy of a fabulous mix of cultures (Japanese + Hawaiian + American).
Don't be fooled by the simple sign--just go inside.
You can thank me later.
The best part about this story is where I found this little gem- a tiny little deli/bakery with no sign, which sits next to a walk-up order window selling plate lunches.  Yet another reason to love Hawaii: some of the most amazing foods are found in the most hidden, discreet places.  

A few of my Hawaii friends told me that the next time I visited, I had to stop at the Diamond Head Bakery, located near the zoo.  Luckily, we were able to stop by on my last day to not only try a few lovely desserts, but also meet up with my friends Adrene and Bart from LA.
Hanging out in front of The Moana, my favorite hotel in Waikiki
After oohing and aahing at the huge selection of available treats (Diamond Head Torte, Pumpkin Crunch, Coconut Bread Pudding were also contenders), I settled on the delicious Okinawan Sweet Potato Haupia Square.  Adrene and Bart grabbed a scrumptious plate lunch and then the crew brilliantly decided to head to nearby Waikiki Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, to enjoy our treasures.  Such a lovely end to my trip--delectable treats enjoyed on gorgeous, warm, sunny Waikiki Beach.  

And a few hours later, I was on a plane back to New York.  Gorgeous, warm, sunny New York.

Diamond Head Market & Grill
3158 Monsarrat Ave.
Honolulu, Hawaii 96815
(808) 732-0077


  1. The next time you're home you must try the blueberry cream cheese cake. It's my favorite!

  2. Thanks Kayce! Shouldn't be a problem. I plan on stopping here regularly from now on. :)