Kawaii Kokoro

Kawaii Kokoro - Cute Little Pastry Shop Located in Lihue
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

Kawaii Kokoro is a wonderful little pastry shop located in one of Lihue's commercial districts on the island of Kauai. Owned and operated by a husband-and-wife duo, this is a great place to go when you want something sweet with Japanese-styled deserts. 

- The HawaiianIslands.com Local Expert Team

Located in a bustling commercial area of Lihue, Kawaii Kokoro is a small pastry shop located within its own standalone building. This is a lovely business to drop in to pick up some sweet treats during your adventures in and around Lihue.

Kawaii Kokoro is owned by a husband and wife duo, Jason and Nina Sunada, who are both born-and-raised Hawaiians. In fact, both grew up right on Kauai itself and are excited to be able to bring both their Hawaiian experience as well as a touch of their Japanese ancestry to the pastry work they complete at Kawaii Kokoro. The journey to open this shop began when Jason Sunada took culinary courses at the Kapiolani Community College. He studied beneath an Austrian pastry chef who accentuated the use of wholesome products and no shortcuts. Both Sunadas worked at a myriad of local restaurants, bakeries, and pastry shops before finally opening up the Lihue shop.

At Kawaii Kokoro, the slogan on the door and across most of their merchandising reads, “Cute Creations from the Heart.” The Sunadas have stated this slogan was chosen to emphasize the old style of baking that focuses on the basics of wholesome products and adds to it their own touch of authenticity. 

This small pastry shop is located within a one-story, white building with walk-up red stairs. Inside, things are kept simple with white walls and a sparse general area, at the back of which are several rows of display cabinets. Those cabinets are often filled with fresh pastries available for purchase. 

What type of pastries are available at Kawaii Kokoro changes on any given day, but there are some regular favorites. Those favorites include:

Sometimes also referred to as cream puffs, the Kawaii Kokoro profiteroles are light pastries filled with three outstanding flavors: Matcha Green Tea, Vanilla Bean, and 58% Pure Chocolate (from beans grown on Kauai of course).

Japanese-style Cheesecakes
Kawaii Kokoro offers Japanese-styled cheesecakes in two sizes: Four and six inches. Japanese cheesecakes are an excellent choice for those who enjoy the taste of cheesecakes but feel that overall they are too heavy. That’s because here less cream cheese is used and more whipped egg whites added in. This big recipe shift results in a fluffier and lighter cheesecake that still packs in the flavor. This style of cheesecake also does not include a crust, putting that flavorful interior at the center of attention.

Of course, while these are certainly among the biggest sellers, you will find a great array of desserts and sweet items any time you visit Kauai Kokoro. The business even has pre-packaged items like pre-packaged six-count cookies that make a great airplane snack or gift for someone who couldn’t make the trip to Kauai with you. 

If you find yourself falling so in love with Kawaii Kokoro sweets that you want to share them in larger numbers, call or email them for information on large event orders. This pastry shop also has a nice portfolio of custom wedding, birthday, and similar celebratory cakes. 

Insider Tips:
-Kawaii Kokoro is open throughout the day, but that does not mean that all of their items are going to be available all day long. They often experience a lunch rush, especially during the week, and so you might find them out of your desired pastry type if you go too late in the afternoon. We recommend going before lunch if you have your heart set on a certain sweet item.
-Eager for more authentic Kauai foods? Then you won’t want to go to this part of Lihue without stopping at Tip Top. Part hotel, part cafe, part bakery, Tip Top has been a staple of the Lihue community for well over a hundred years now. Began by Japanese immigrant Denjiro Ota and now owned and operated by Jonathan Ota, Tip Top has remained a family business for an incredible four generations.