Take the tropical flavors of Hawaii, mix them in unusual combinations and freeze on a stick. More than a popsicle, the OnoPop* is like the Hawaii cousin of a Mexican paleta. So what is that and why is it worth three dollars on your Hawaii Vacation?
The label says an OnoPop is a: “Fresh Local Gourmet Hawaiian Paleta.” Starting from the end, a paleta is familiar to anyone in an area with a large Mexican population. They are sort of a mix between a popsicle and an ice cream bar – the shape and consistency of the ice cream bar but with fruit flavors like a popsicle. They are often sold from small coolers on wheels, pushed by a person walking.
OnoPops are sold from stationary coolers in unusual places in Hawaii. A restaurant I might expect or a farmers’ market. But this cooler is in Muumuu Heaven – a clothing store in Kailua. I went directly outside so as not to drip on any of the pretty clothes with my Mango Habanero-Lime OnoPop. Each flavor has a personality. This one is Pepper Pitt, described on the company website as, “Lil Hayden Mui’s (Pickled Green Mango) mom and the accountant for P.A. Bean plantation, Pepper always helps her son with his homework so he can grow up and go to college like the kids from Honapu Academy.”
Yep, there is an entire soap (or “OnoPop”) opera involving these frozen characters with flavors like: Chocolate Apple Banana, Caramel Shoyu, Guava Chiffon, Kula Strawberry Maui Goat Cheese, Apple Banana Cream Pie, Kona Latte, Papaya Rangpur Vanilla and more. While the fruit flavors are not unusual, I can honestly say this is the first time I’ve seen a frozen dessert that includes goat cheese or shoyu (soy sauce). Some are water-based flavors and others are milk-based flavors.
These pops are worth three dollars because they “amuse and surprise” my mouth. And I haven’t even gotten past the first flavor because I love it so much. So, the good news is that new flavors seem to arrive regularly, as do additional outlets. The bad news – you have to come to Hawaii to taste them. Awww.
* ono means delicious in Hawaii.