Any visitor to Hawaii will see and probably try shave ice (not shaved ice) – those bright colored cones of ice and sugary sweet syrup, but what makes it different than the snow cones found in the continental United States? It’s created by shaving ice off a huge block. The blade creates light, fluffy mounds of ice that holds onto the syrup instead of the tiny hard chunks of ice that snow cones are made of.
This island delicacy came to Hawaii by way of Japan. During the plantation days, Hawaii saw a huge influx of workers from Japan, Portugal and the Philippines and with them came traditions and of course, food. The Japanese had a treat of shaved ice and soon small business were popping up to serve this delicious and refreshing treat.
Today shave ice can be found all over the Hawaiian islands. Visitors have their choice of traditional or organic. You can also get it with ice cream at the bottom, a cream topping, halo halo (sweet beans, coconut, sago, agar jelly, tubers and fruits) or other creative combinations.
Remember to bring your camera because Hawaiian shave ice is always ready for it’s photo shoot!
Our favorite shave ice spots:
Traditional: JoJos Shave Ice, Kenecke’s, Island Snow, Hawaiian Blizzard (on Kauai)
Organic: The Fresh Shave, and Wailua shave ice on Kauai
Want to do a tasting on your trip? We got you started with a Tripidee trip of some of the top shave ice spots on Oahu.