Sweet Home Cafe, Honolulu

Best Free Shave Ice With Ono Hot Pot

I found an amazing free dessert at Sweet Home Cafe. The catch: you buy a hot pot meal which is the best deal in Honolulu.

The shave ice is something out of the ordinary. A yummy bowl of delicately flavored shave ice surrounded with tapoica balls, homemade almond tofu, gummy fruits, and coffee pannacotta. It’s frankly worth paying for the food just to get the generous free dessert. Be ready to save some room.

You won’t find Sweet Home Cafe driving around. It’s completely hidden is an interior strip mall off King Street in Honolulu. Is it worth finding? Absolutely.

The Food is Authentic Taiwanese Hot Pot.

While waiting for a table, your soup order (plus any meats) is taken and you are given a dizzying list of instructions and items you’ll be choosing from once inside.

You pick from a list of many possible soup bases. This will be shared with your group and you can split the order and try two kinds. This is perfect if one person wants vegetarian and other wants chicken for example.

The entire process seemed daunting enough that I almost left. I wish I had a video of the host explaining the process. It was a show in itself and took almost 3 minutes which put me on overwhelm. Don’t panic.

Once Inside: 4- Step Guide to Look Like a Local Customer

1. Take your seat in the small 48-seat restaurant. You may share a large family style table. The soup is brought to your table in a stainless pot and the induction burner is turned on to keep it boiling. Rice is also served.

2. Walk to the back where multiple refrigerators contain all of your choices from fish to meats, tofu to vegetables, noodles and everything in between. They’re all on colored plates wrapped with plastic. The cost per plate is based on the color, starting at $2.99. I picked about a half dozen ingredients.

3. Pick from a huge assortment of amazing homemade sauces. There’s no limit. Now head back to your table.

4. Cook the ingredients, separately or ensemble, and when cooked to your satisfaction, use the stainless scoop to move them to your bowl together with broth. Add sauce, and your first bowl of delight is ready to consume.

The shave ice dessert arrived at the end with the check. A deal at $34 including tax for two people.

Details: Sweet Home Cafe is located at 2334 King Street with free parking. Open daily from 4pm to 11pm. Expect a line; we waited 20 minutes. Once inside there is a 90 minute maximum.

Thanks to Honolulu Magazine, where I first heard of Sweet Home Cafe.

3 thoughts on “Best Free Shave Ice With Ono Hot Pot”

  1. Wow! That sounds delish! Too bad I’m already back home….I dearly want to get back to the islands!
    Even though my wife and I had been to the islands many times, we had never had shaved ice until this last time! And boy, did we pick a winner! Matsumoto’s Shaved Ice in Haleiwa! What a delishious, sloppy mess! Three flavored shaved ice on top of vanilla icecream on to of red beans! I fell in love with the red beans during a 2 week business trip to Hong Kong a few years ago. A local recomended some red bean filled pastries and I’ve been hooked every since! I’ve even tried making my own to some limited success.
    But for shaved ice, there is no comparison…and no, this is no sno-cone either!
    We’re already making plans for a two week trip next September…two islands next time.

    1. @ John: That’s South King.
      @Ed: Do come back to Hawaii soon. And make a point to try Sweet Home and let me know what you think. It was beyond my expectations.


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