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Vegan Ice Cream Fools a Farm Girl

September 10, 2019, 7:06 AM HST
* Updated September 8, 10:51 AM
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Oh, Hilo, you are in for a treat—a frozen one to cool you off in the summer heat. Please help me welcome Hawaiian Licks into the fold of Hilo’s delicious-yet-healthy restaurants. It features vegan ice cream and frankly, it’s amazing. The shop is located in the Hilo Plaza Building.

As a former farm girl, I was a little skeptical about vegan ice cream and wanted to know what it is made from. Hawaiian Licks’ “Sales Badass” Tatiana Robson (it actually says that on her business card) explained that it is made from coconut milk and coconut cream, with no stabilizers or preservatives. Some (local) sweeteners and extracts, like fruit or honey are used; they endeavor to use locally-sourced products.

Still, I was skeptical and assumed everything would taste like coconut. That’s not a bad thing because I happen to love coconut, but not everyone does. Surprise! It doesn’t taste coconut-y. It’s magic.

It’s also delicious. My first sample was Ka‘ū Coffee. It tasted like an iced Ka‘ū coffee (Ka‘ū beans having a slight hint of sweetness to them). Robson, a former barista, said she worked hard to develop the flavor profile of this frozen treat. She nailed it—it was not overly sweet and the coffee flavor came through.

How many years has it been since you had a 50-50 bar (orange-vanilla)? I think I may have been in the second grade. Hawaiian Licks’ Orange Creamsicle (with Kalapana oranges) took me back.


I could not resist trying the Golden Milk Hippie Juice, a mixture of turmeric, ginger, local black pepper, cinnamon and honey. The pepper and cinnamon gave it the nicest little after-burn on the palate.


The flavors change frequently and I look forward to trying Thai Iced Tea, Ube Cardamom and Backyard Lemon, among others.

You know I always check out the kitchen—and Hawaiian Licks’ is all open and spotless.

Robson said that they are also manufacturing the frozen goodness for sale at KTA, Sack N’Save, Island Naturals and various restaurants.


Seating is ample inside and out, and there is a fun “short person” area near the window.

Find Hawaiian Licks at 180 Kino‘ole Street, Ste. 104. Family-friendly. Open Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Casual. Parking: Street.

Special seating for short customers at Hawaiian Licks. PC: Marla Walters

Counter seating at Hawaiian Licks. PC: Marla Walters

Hawaiian Licks flavors. PC: Marla Walters

Tatiana Robson Hawaiian Licks’ “Sales Badass.” PC: Marla Walters

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