It was originally called “goodie-goodie.” But because early Japanese plantation workers had trouble saying that, the name succumbed to their heavy accents and evolved into something slightly more Asian-sounding: “guri-guri” (GOOD-reee-GOOD-reee).
Guri-guri keeps it simple with only two flavors: pineapple and strawberry.
Today, it’s one of Maui’s most refreshing frozen treats that’s not quite a sherbet nor an ice cream but rather a hybrid that falls into a category of its own. Guri-guri has a smoothly sweet and slightly textured taste that could almost be related to shave ice; however, a second bite would tell your taste buds otherwise. What is this wonderful concoction?! Two scoops strawberry, one scoop pineapple and the subtle simplicity of mom and pop stores from back-in-the-day.
The Tasaka family started the business more than 90 years ago on Maui – opening a stand-alone shop on Puunene Avenue, then a candy store and finally its current location at the Maui Mall in 1973. Longtime customers will tell you it hasn’t changed a wink. Faded pink exterior walls color the modern-day hole-in-the-wall; inside, a gleeful old man greets you with a toothy grin among the stacks of cardboard boxes and lingering syrupy aroma.
The prices have also frozen in time. For $1.65, customers get three scoops of guri-guri in a waxy paper cups; a subtle reinforcement of the mom-and-pop element at Tasaka Guri-Guri. Visitors who will be island hopping can bring guri-guri with them from Maui by ordering the pints of it to go. They remain frozen for about 3.5 hours but should be kept in a cooler and checked in at the airport, since it’s considered a gel/liquid.
Your visit isn’t complete until you get a pic in front of the shop’s old-school sign.
You’re trip to Maui won’t be complete until you’ve colored your tongue with guri-guri! Trust me, it’s a brain freeze so worth having!
TASAKA GURI-GURI • 70 E. Kaahumanu Ave., Ste. C13, Kahului, HI 96732 • 808-871-4513 • Free parking available; near bus route
Posted by: Bruce Fisher