Kalo Bombs Just Showed Us Our New Favorite Ice Cream Topping
Pa‘i‘ai on ice cream with coconut cream and coconut flakes now has a following in Wai‘anae.
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I never knew the realm of possibilities of the uses of kalo, especially when paired with ice cream. It all started when I first tried the Sweet Lady of Waiāhole dessert from Waiāhole Poi Factory last year. Even though I grew up in Hawai‘i, this was the first time I tried kūlolo and I was instantly hooked. Just thinking about the warm kūlolo paired with creamy, melting haupia ice cream makes my mouth water. So when I saw a scoop of pa‘i‘ai on top of ice cream from Kalo Bombs, I was intrigued.
Kalo Bombs is a hole-in-the-wall shop in Wai‘anae, located in the same building as Sugar Hut. The signature item is the Pa‘i‘ai Bomb, highlighting the hand-pounded kalo with just a little water. It’s a cup of ice cream topped with pa‘i‘ai made fresh daily, drizzled with coconut cream and sprinkled with coconut flakes (regular cup $10, keiki $7). There’s also a Kalo Bomb, the dessert without ice cream, and an Açaí Bomb which replaces the ice cream with açaí. For people who just want pa‘i‘ai, Kalo Bombs sells it by the pound.
Photos: Amanda Valiente
I’m here for the Pa‘i‘ai Bomb. My sister and I choose different flavors of Dave’s Ice Cream for our keiki-size cups. My sister’s choice is haupia; mine is kūlolo, of course. We go outside to wait and admire the variety of kalo planted around the shop.
Kalo Bombs makes pa‘i‘ai fresh every day using kalo from different farms across Hawai‘i. You can buy it by the pound at the shop; they’re even looking to start a monthly subscription service. On hot days like today, it’s the Pa‘i‘ai Bombs that frequently sell out.
Before long a worker comes out with our treats. I dig in, careful to get a bit of every layer on my spoon, and my first taste of pa‘i‘ai is even better than I expect: The smooth, sweet ice cream paired with the thicker, not-so-sweet pa‘i‘ai and coconut flakes create a harmony of flavors and textures. I don’t even care that I can’t really taste the coconut cream. Both ice cream flavors are really good paired with pa‘i‘ai, but the kūlolo has little chunks of kūlolo mixed in, which just elevates the dessert to the next level. I struggle to eat this all before it completely melts. Before I know it, my cup is empty and I’m a little sad, but very satisfied.
I’ve just discovered probably one of my new favorite ice cream toppings. It’s such a simple concept, but a scoop of pa‘i‘ai really adds so much to ice cream. And now there’s a place that specializes in it. If you’re making your way to Yoks or Mākaha and want a sweet treat along the way, Kalo Bombs is where to go.