After a jaunt to the beach, nothing beats cold and colorful shave ice. Mainlanders may call it a snow cone or an icee, but the proper local lingo is “shave ice” (not shaved ice). With so many great shave ice places in Hawaii to choose from who really has the best shave ice?
In comparison to an icee, shave ice is much finer. It simply melts in your mouth. You can either drink it or spoon it into your tummy. But, beware of brain freeze if you eat too fast!
Shave ice can be traced back to Kakigori, which is a Japanese ice dessert. Immigrants during the sugar cane plantation days brought this idea with them. Japanese visitors and adventurous tourists love to add Azuki beans to the mix. These special beans come from the Far East, and are prepared by boiling them until the beans soften and then some sugar is added.
Angel’s in Laie
My favorite shave ice place on Oahu is Angel’s in Laie. It is so well known that even Mrs. Obama and her daughters visit there when they are in Hawaii. They have a multitude of syrup flavors, but I usually opt for the melona (tastes like rock melon), mango, and lychee. They also offer the usual favorites, including grape, raspberry, strawberry, blueberry, or tropical fruit like coconut, lilikoi, guava, pineapple and a zillion more.
If you want to go all out, order one of Angel’s Halo, starting with vanilla ice cream in the bottom of the cup, shaved ice in three different flavors of your choice on top, sweetened condensed milk dripped down the side, and with generous whipped cream on top. It is so delicious!
Matsumoto Shave Ice
Probably the most popular place to get Hawaii shave is Matsumoto Shave Ice, which is located on the North Shore of Oahu. Matsumoto’s is a family business which has been going since 1951. It is nearly impossible to drive past it without having to stop and check it out, as the old store has all sorts of great things to look at inside. You will hardly ever drive by and not see a line. There is usually a wait, but the wait is worth it. Matsumoto’s is so popular that even stars such as Tom Hanks, Jason Scott Lee, Megumi Oishi, Kristi Yamaguchi and Junichi Ishida have stopped there, had a shave ice, and left their photos and signatures on the walls.
Another great place to get shave ice is the Ice Garden in Aiea. It is fluffy and yummy. It is best to ask for the plastic cup holder with the collar so it will be a delicious and enjoyable experience. Recently they have started adding bursting flavors that seep through the ice and keep people in the area coming back for more.
There are many more establishments that offer shave ice in Hawaii, but these are some legitimate spots chosen for your perusal. Enjoy!
Some Other Great Shave Ice in Hawaii Options