by VICTORIA HENLEY
Nestled in the sleek, stylish, bustling business district of Waikiki (only about a 10 minute drive from the city center of Honolulu) is Cloud 9 Cafe: a delightful hidden gem, brimming with bright colors, an infectiously upbeat aesthetic, personality abounding and some of the most unique, scrumptious, and flavorful authentic Taiwanese treats you’ll find on the island.
Owned and operated by brilliant entrepreneur, Anna Tam, who just opened the eatery earlier in 2023, Cloud 9 is yet another dynamic woman-run business that is making serious waves with locals and tourists alike.
Cloud 9, which is due to high demand and their meteoric rise to local fame in a relatively short time period nearly packed to the brim with customers during breakfast and lunch hour, affords patrons the unique opportunity to taste the distinctive culinary culture of Taiwan. No passport required.
Upon arrival, my group and I were warmly greeted by Anna, who sat us at a cheerful, colorful, high top table before she thoroughly explained the distinctive and unconventional items on Cloud 9’s menu, as well as suggested pairings of beverages, main dishes, etc. We decided to trust Anna’s superb recommendations while also selecting some unique and intriguing treats of our own, and our cumulative selections all paired together to create an exceptional, and incredibly different culinary experience.
Although a rather intimate space and establishment , Cloud 9’s remarkably expansive selections of coffees, teas, specialty beverages, sweet treats, light lunches and pancakes will leave you spellbound and ready to come back for more.
Some of our recommendations and personal favorites were:
Iced Americano: Robust, aromatic, and bursting with flavor, this Italian coffee shop classic should definitely have a spot on your “Must Try” list on your visit to this delightful establishment.
Assam Tea: Freshly brewed and laden with quality flavor, this traditional Taiwanese tea is any tea lover’s paradise.
Coffee Milk Tea: Victoria’s top beverage selection: combining the distinctive flavor of fresh Island coffee, with the smoothness of freshly brewed tea and the creaminess of milk with tapioca. Otherwise known as “boba team” this is a wildly unique tale on the boba trend that has quickly garnered acclaim among Cloud 9 Cafe’s ardent supporters.
Purple Rice Roll: The quintessential option for a light lunch, the purple rice roll combined the daring, flavors of avocado, freshly cooked rice, and a palatable array of colorful, and distinctively flavorful spices. This unique and delightful menu option combines Chinese donut, Spam, tea egg, dried pork and dried scallions, all wrapped up in a tasty and aesthetically pleasing purple rice roll.
Braised Pork with Rice and Tea Egg: Featuring tender, succulent, quality braised pork, with a hearty serving of rice and traditional Taiwanese Tea Egg.
Cloud 9 souffles: A signature dish by Cloud 9, this one-of-a kind cafe’s pancake style soufflés are easily one of the best desserts you’ll find in town, offering the light airiness of a soufflé with the texture of a pancake.
Our top recommendations for this signature dish are:
Strawberry: Featuring a fluffy, delectable, multi layered soufflé, dripping with frothy, light strawberry frosting and adorned with real, fresh strawberries.
Chocolate Cream with Oreo Chips: Featuring Cloud 9’s signature multi layered soufflé, topped with a creamy, rich milk chocolate frosting, all topped off with a generous portion of Oreo cookies.
Come see for yourself why Cloud 9 Cafe has established itself as the go to destination for authentic Taiwanese gourmet lunch fare, fantastic coffees, teas, and boba, and the only dessert soufflés of their kind on the island.
Special thanks to the wonderful Kei Segawa for facilitating our visit for this spotlight feature as well as the amazing Cloud 9 owner, Anna, and staff for taking such excellent care of us during our visit.
PHONE NUMBER: (808) 739-9988