Looking for a cool treat while visiting the islands? Shave ice is another one of those things you just have to try if you’re in Hawaii. And don’t worry. It’s very popular here, so there are many places to get some.
Believe it or not, shave ice dates back to the 7th century when it originated in Taiwan. And it was the Japanese who introduced it to Hawaii in the late 1800s.
There were lots of immigration taking place at this time due to the Hawaiians need for help in the sugar plantations. We learned in earlier posts of Portugal’s introduction of the ukulele and malasada. The Japanese also came to help and introduced their favorite dessert.
Originally, the treat was reserved only for Japans most elite citizens since the ice had to be stored in large ice houses to prevent melting. But with advances in technology, the ice was able to easily be transported and made available more cheaply to the lower classes.
Shave Ice vs Snow Cone
Shave ice is different from the common snow cone that we’re probably all used to. The main difference is the thin shavings of ice that come from a block of ice. The snow cone is pretty much just crushed ice. So the shave ice consists of flakes of ice while the snow cone has crunchy pieces of ice. When the syrups are added, the flavors are absorbed into the flakes of ice instead of pooling at the bottom.
Shave ice can also include little extras if desired. Ice cream, fresh fruit, or adzuki beans can be added to the bottom. The typical flavors of syrup are always available. But Hawaii also offers other local flavors such as lychee, mango, pineapple, guava, coconut, and others. And if you’re just not sure which flavor to order, rainbow is always a common request. Sometimes condensed milk can be drizzled on top to give that “snow-capped” look.
There are a few different locations where you can experience this delectable Hawaiian treat. If you’re in Waikiki and don’t want to venture too far, try these locations:
- Island Vintage is located inside the Royal Hawaiian Center.
- Ice Monster Hawaii is located at 2255 Kuhio Ave.
- Monsarrat Shave Ice is on the way to Diamond Head at 3046 Monsarrat Ave.
- Lahaina Shave Ice is a new store recently opened at 260 Beach Walk.
- Waiola Shave Ice is just outside Waikiki in the Mo’ili’ili district at 2135 Waiola St.
As you travel around the island, there are many more spots. And if you’re on North Shore, you have to try Matsumoto. It’s a pretty popular place and usually has a line out the door.
What’s your favorite shave ice spot?
Feel free to make a comment and let us know.
Image by: Turtle Bay Resort