[ food Category ]
March 09, 2003

Liliha Bakery

Have you ever wondered what makes Liliha Bakery's food so good? Well, my husband Basil and I went on a quest this morning for the truth. We loaded in the wagon, and headed to our favorite spot for Sunday morning coffee and coco puffs.


You gotta get up early to beat the crowd to Liliha Bakery on a Sunday morning. Since we're corporate rats, and have been programmed to wake up before daylight, sometimes my husband and I find ourselves up at 6am on a rainy weekend morning in Manoa. We put on a pot of coffee at the house, and at some point during the first cup, one of will pipe up, "Who wants to go to Liliha Bakery for coco puffs?"

Shining like a beacon on a rainy Sunday morning...

This question, of course, is rhetorical. We're going to Liliha Bakery, come hell or high water once the thought of the delightful pastries, friendly staff, and good old diner feeling have been planted in our sweet little pea brains! This morning, on the way to the bakery I asked, "Do you think they put something in the food? I mean, what makes it so freakin' good? I'm salivating just thinking about it." So, we decided to pay close attention, and try to unveil the secret behind the goodness of Liliha Bakery.

By 7:15 am, the place was already buzzing. That wonderful clinking and clanking of diner plates, and short orders being called down the line to the happy short order chef (a true master!). We smiled at the waitress, and she immediately brought us two coffees. We ordered pancakes, a bacon omelette, and of course, coco puffs. Then we sat back, and watched. Every move by the staff was observed. The dishwasher, silently busing the counter and looking at every customer with sparkling knowing eyes. Every pancake flipped by
Sansei Short-Order. The gleeful customers, ranging in shape, sizes, age, and nationality, all buzzing from caffeine and that special Liliha high. Is is the people that make Liliha Bakery so onolicious? They're certainly a big part of it.

But there's something else. Something bigger than friendly folks making lovely pastries and artery clogging breakfast delights. After finishing our bacon omelette with potatoes. After scarfing down homemade white bread and scrumptious pancakes, it appeared. Like a vision, it came to me. THIS my friends is what makes Liliha Bakery's food soooo very ono. The one, the only.....

GIANT butter bowl!

A hardy slathering is lovingly dolloped on every plate that crosses the counter at Liliha Bakery. Sticks and sticks of this magic elixer are blended into every cake, cookie, and cream puff. Butter. Creamy, yellow, heart stopping butter.

Ahhhhh....... mmmmmmmmm......... gooooood!

Here are the vitals:

Liliha Bakery
515 North Kuakini Street
Honolulu, HI 96817
(808) 531-1651

* Aside: Hmmm....this is my second entry about food. Are you starting to see a pattern here? *

Posted by Beth at March 09, 2003 03:52 PM


Posted by lemurs on March 9, 2003 8:20 PM:

I would have to say that even more so than the giant bowl of butter, the thing that makes Liliha Bakery's lunch counter so awesome is the radioactive pink jelly that they slather on all the toast.


Plus those coco puffs are so great that I have to go there every time I'm in town. Mmmm. I really have to say that most of the best wallet-friendly food places are in the Kalihi/Liliha/Palama area. Or maybe that's just the Kalihi girl in me talking. :)

Posted by Albert on March 10, 2003 1:38 PM:

Never been there, but surely admire your splendid illustrated entry, Beth!

Posted by lisa on March 10, 2003 3:01 PM:

I've never actually been to the bakery myself, but I've been known to stalk anyone with a box of coco puffs and drool until they take pity on me and give me one :)

I think next weekend we'll have to stop by and try the whole experience.

Posted by Madnamo on March 10, 2003 3:08 PM:

I'm a frequent patron of Liliha Bakery and that placed is just packed during the holidays and special occasions. Demand for coco puffs is so great now they sell them by the boxes prepacked so not to waste any time putting a dozen or so into a new box. I call those coco puffs the peacemaker because no matter your personal enemy, all is forgotten once you take a bite.

Posted by mitchell on March 12, 2003 4:43 PM:

Beth, you didn't post hours, so I'll add them here, since Liliha Bakery's hours of operation are a huge part of why it's so great.

It's open 24 hours, but it closes early Sunday afternoon and remains closed throughout the day Monday, reopening on Tuesday morning at about six.

I've lived in Pauoa Valley and Kamehameha Heights, two neighborhoods RIGHT NEAR the bakery, and am a frequent customer. It does butter a disservice to call what Liliha Bakery puts on everything "butter," but that's okay. We all know what you meant.

I'm a sucker for the hamburger (er, Freedom Ground Beef Patty) steak. The potato salad it comes with is killers.

I'll second the Kalihi/Liliha/Palama sentiment. For those whose wallets don't favor those expensive (eighty cents per!) coco puffs from Liliha Bakery, you might want to take a short cruise down School Street to Kamehameha Bakery, which is right at the intersection of School and Houghtailing (and right down the hill from where I live, thank goodness). The pastry's not as good as at Liliha, but the malassadas are only $.35 per, which means you can get five dozen for just over twenty bucks, and be a hero on the morning it's your turn to pick up the pastries. If you like your malassadas on the doughy, eggy side (and why wouldn't you?), it's tough to beat Kamehameha Bakery.

Plus, the hours! It's open at 2 a.m. on weekdays! They actually answer the phone!

And if you had to get down to the bakery too early to wolf down a proper breakfast or to pack yourself a good lunch, Mitsu-Ken (DON'T get me started on Mitsu-Ken) is just a block down School Street!

Posted by andrew on March 15, 2003 1:27 PM:

why can't i get a cocopuff in chicago? after 9 or so years away, that and the malasadas are pretty much what i miss about hawaii. oh yeah, and not freezing in the winter.

Posted by Barbara on September 5, 2003 5:56 AM:

I was born and bred in the School Street area and Liliha Bakery was our mainstay!! Living anywhere outside of Honolulu, and away from Liliha Bakery has been trying. I now live in Beaufort, SC, and sure wish that Liliha Bakery had a website so they could ship me some of their ono pasteries, especially the coco puffs.

Posted by Braddah eDZ on October 7, 2003 9:20 AM:

OMG! COCO PUFFS! I go coo coo for coco puffs! Maui Loves COCO PUFFS! Get a batch ready... imma coming!!! Wahuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!

Posted by CGee on October 10, 2003 9:48 AM:

Beth...your pictures have made me so homesick! I live in Virginia now and cant get anything close to a Liliha cocopuff here. A long time back, when I used to work for Consolidated Theatres, Liliha was the place to go for a latenight hamburger. They made the best in my opinion, with W&M in Kaimuki being a close 2nd. Ahhh the memories.

Mitchell...I used to live in Pauoa too...grew up right there on Naone St.

Posted by Marissa on November 9, 2003 4:56 AM:

I was wondering if you guys ship chantilly cakes or the coco puffs. My family and I are all the way on the east coast and we MISS the chantilly cake, Guava Cake, Haupia Cake....let me know if you ship.

Posted by Char on January 5, 2004 8:00 PM:

I always make sure to get me some coco puffs when in Hawaii! Although, I've yet to try their pancakes and waffles..my brother tells me there's nothing like it. It's hard to take a large gang there and get to eat together...I usually travel with a family of 6!

I did find a website that had a recipe for coco puffs...for those of us who cannot drive to Liliha bakery daily to have them, they are a very close substitute! Even my kids like them just fine till we can get back to the Islands!

Posted by char on January 5, 2004 8:00 PM:

I always make sure to get me some coco puffs when in Hawaii! Although, I've yet to try their pancakes and waffles..my brother tells me there's nothing like it. It's hard to take a large gang there and get to eat together...I usually travel with a family of 6!

I did find a website that had a recipe for coco puffs...for those of us who cannot drive to Liliha bakery daily to have them, they are a very close substitute! Even my kids like them just fine till we can get back to the Islands!

Posted by sandy on March 8, 2004 8:08 PM:

I have been living in Florida the past 6 years, and have always raved about Liliha Bakery. Here in Florida, real bakeries are pretty much non existent! We get all of our baked goods from the bakery department in grocery markets! I grew up going to Liliha Bakery. All our birthday cakes came from Liliha bakery...no one can make a buttercream frosting like this! Even though it wasn't anyones birthday, I would go and pick up a few of the cupcakes just to 'feed' the cravings until the next birthday! I think people here are tired of me talking about how awesome Liliha Bakery's frosting anytime we have to eat one of the cakes here!
Growin up, my dad would bring my sister, mom, and me here every Saturday night after bowling. We would always get a seat, and my sister and I would always get the same thing. Chicken noodle soup, hamburger steak (with gravy over everything), and cinnamon toast with the cherry jelly. My dad passed away when I was 10, but whenever we think about those times, it alwasy brings smiles to our faces.
I always wish there was a way we could get some of the stuff sent here. The Polynesian Resort here at Disney sells their version of cocoa puffs. They are no way close, but they are as close as we can get to them.

Posted by Debbie on March 20, 2004 12:17 PM:

Does Liliha's ship overnight frozen Cocoa puffs to the mainland? I know they have them pre-packaged that way for our flights out but what happens when thoses are all gone???

Posted by Kurt on April 29, 2004 3:02 AM:

Call them in advance, they'll pre-freeze some coco puffs for the flight ahead of time, I don't think they'll ship them out for you though.. As for the already packed ones in the freezer? if they gone, they gone. (heh, I get 2 doz in my fridge right now in SF, California)

And yeah, the bakeries in the mainland suck, unless you live in SoCal. They have more local food down there. There is a few places that has local food and one bakery in the San Jose area, but it still seems like something's missing.

Been up here for 17 years... sigh.. miss the plate lunches too...

Posted by John on May 27, 2004 1:27 PM:

Visited Oahu last summer and the highlight of our local food adventures was the butterhorn pastry at Liliha. The absolute best one I've eaten in my life (and I'm a big fan of the butterhorn). Can't wait to get back for more.

Posted by Theresa on June 16, 2004 12:45 PM:

Why not open a business here in Vancouver Washington or Portland Oregon State....there are a lot of local from the island, and because the coco puff, chantilly, guave, angel cake are awesome, i think it would be a very profitable bakery....besides it would certainly blow all the other wanna be bakeries here....the mainland doesn't know cakes, or pasteries like the islanders do, liliha bakery spread throughout the mailand would definitely blow doors, as it puts most bakeries here to shame!!

Posted by Queenie on July 7, 2004 6:09 PM:

Makes me home sick for Hawaii. Does anyone have recipes for all this good stuff...coco puffs, chantilly cake, orange or strawberry chiffon cake?

Posted by Tom on July 30, 2004 9:34 AM:

Who has a recipe for the ensemadas....they are terrific!!! and I miss them with my morning tea and coffee?

Posted by anahiwa on August 14, 2004 4:31 PM:

I grew up in Liliha. Whenever family and friends went to the mainland, we always bought dobash, chantilly or german chocolate cake to send home with them. We even sent their custard pies. I agree with you, you can't beat Liliha bakery for most of their cakes and pasteries. Dutch Girl bakery, which was just down the road, made the best glazed doughnuts and butter rolls. Can't find anything that even comes close.

Posted by Teri on September 8, 2004 4:55 PM:

Where can I find a recipe for making Guava pastry's?

Posted by Lily on September 26, 2004 8:54 AM:

Been living in the Washington metro area (Maryland) for 3 years now - sure miss the pastries at Liliha Bakery - dobash, chantilly cakes, cocoa puffs, and the wonderful custard pie - can't even find any good bakeries around here!
Any way to ship them here??!! Would like to get some for my son's birthday!!

Posted by Kirsten on November 12, 2004 8:58 PM:

While i was in Hawaii i had an ensemada almost every day for breakfast and i loved them!! i was wondering if there was a good recipe for them or if they were sold anywhere on the mainland

Posted by Kirsten on November 12, 2004 9:02 PM:

I agree with Thereasa!! im from portland oregon and are in love with ensemadas and many other delicious hawaiian foods. I would love for a recipe for ensemadas or to know of any local places around portland. email me with a recipe!!

Posted by RC on March 13, 2005 7:48 PM:

I got to this website googling for chantilly cake recipes. I also grew up in the Liliha area. My best memories was walking to Kawananakoa School for 3 years (7th through 9th grade)along Kuakini Street. I tried to stop at Liliha bakery on the way home at least twice a week for a snack. I didn't realize I had it so good! I've lived in the Bay Area now for over 10 years and I still can't find a bakery that makes pastries like at Liliha Bakery.

Posted by Allen on May 16, 2005 7:19 PM:

I pressed a link from google that said there was a try at the secret recipe for W&M burgers ... ehhe ... cream puffs are too extravagant for me. If you know of any burger recipe's that mirror W&M PLEASE e-mail me - thank you!

Posted by josh on February 9, 2006 4:31 AM:

plaese tell me that you will ship chantilly cake to the mainland! i live in north carolina and have never been to hawaii, i met a girl who is from there and she always wishes for this chantilly cake. Please i begg you, Please, tell me that youll ship one too me

Posted by Franklin Torigoe on February 11, 2006 11:13 AM:

Please describe a coco puff

Posted by Nani on March 7, 2006 8:03 PM:

I'm originally from Molokai, Hawaii. I've been in the military for 7 years. I just wnated to say...I'm coocoo for coco puffs, liliha's coco puffs! I miss them so much, that was always the highlight of our trip to Oahu...stop by liliha's to bring home some coco puffs...you guys eat em up for those of us who can't!!!

Posted by wanda on June 2, 2006 4:40 AM:

I use to work at Liliha about 10 years ago. I had more fun at that job. and the cocoa puffs are the best, I use to take a small box home,two different buses. and by the time i got home I was lucky to have saved one.

Posted by -M- on September 15, 2006 10:03 AM:

Cocoa puffs are good, but they ain't all that.

All it is folks is a pastry puff (like a cream puff) except they stuff it inside with Jello Chocolate Pudding and on the top is that buttery frosting like that sorta taste like sweet creamy Peanut Butter at the same time.

You can make this at home! don't even think about asking to have a pkg shipped to Mainland, it will ROT! it's not worth it.

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