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Mochi, Gelato, Abalone: Three New(ish) Eats at Ala Moana Center


Inside Minamoto Kitchoan, which Japanese confections and made-fresh obanyaki with sweet potato

Minamoto Kitchoan
This boutique of wagashi, or Japanese confections, is like a candy store fused with Tiffany's, offering dozens of delicate sweets in glass cases and neatly arranged in beautiful gift boxes. You'll find white peach jelly, mochi-wrapped persimmon, kumquat in mochi and ethereally light cookies as flaky as puff pastry. Minamoto Kitchoan, which has locations in Tokyo, San Francisco, London and New York, aims to bring seasonal flavors to its stores, which means in the coming weeks, you'll find more cherry blossom and spring sweets, such as a cherry blossom crepe wrapped around red bean and sakura mochi. If you're lucky, the staff will be filling the hot iron molds with obanyaki batter—fluffy pancakes sealed around red bean, cream cheese or sweet potato (my favorite). But even if they're not making them to order when you go, get one anyways—this fluffy, warm cloud of sweetness never fails to soothe my shopping-weary soul.
Street Level, Center Court

Fourteen flavors of gelato and sorbetto

Aloha Gelato
I've watched shoppers lured to Aloha Gelato at all hours by the smell of freshly-baked waffle cones. This open-air cafe took over the Pacific Place Tea Garden earlier this year, offering 16 gelato and sorbettos made by Il Gelato. They range from the ultra-rich, such as the gianduja (hazelnut and chocolate) to the refreshingly light calmansi sorbetto. Aloha Gelato also makes Belgian waffles and mochi waffles, but these are secondary to the gelato cone experience.
Level 3, Center Court

Abalone rice

Kona Abalone
Looking for the tender, tiny, Kona-raised abalone? You no longer have to fight the farmers market crowds to get them. Kona Abalone's new storefront offers ready-to-eat options such as abalone sashimi, grilled, as poke or over rice. You can also pick them up fresh or frozen to take home.
Street Level, Center Court

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