shave ice

When I was first asked to start a blog to document my travels, I was busy getting prepared for my trip to Italy. I was leaving in two weeks with tons still left to do and no time to think up a “catchy” name. I decided on using a title that would describe my trip. After returning from Italy and adding posts about Hawaii, I decided it was finally time to change the name of my blog. I wanted a title that represented both Hawaii and Italy. I came up with the idea of “shave ice & gelato” because it represents two unique foods – one relating to Hawaii and one relating to Italy. I hope you like it.

Just about everyone knows about gelato, but I am not sure if everyone knows about shave ice.
hawaiishaveice_2So, what is shave ice?

I have heard people trying to compare it to a slush cup or a snow cone. It is neither a slush cup nor a snow cone. It is soooo much better.

Snow cones and slush cups are usually made from ground ice. What makes shave ice unique is the way the ice is cut. You start with a block of ice. As the block of ice spins around, the razor-sharp blade “shaves” the ice making a soft fluffy texture. The “shaved” ice is then packed into a paper cone.

I found this video on YouTube which demonstrates how shave ice is made:

Once the ice is packed into the cone, various flavors of syrup are then poured on top. Because the shave ice is so fine, the flavors absorb into the ice rather than settling to the bottom of the cone.

When ordering a shave ice, you are faced with many choices. First, you must decide if you want a small or a large shave ice.

Next, you need to decide if you want just shave ice, a scoop of vanilla ice cream at the bottom of your cone, azuki beans at the bottom of your cone, or a combo of both ice cream and azuki beans. When I first heard of beans with shave ice, I could not imagine why anyone would want to have beans with shave ice. Once I tried it, I understood. The beans are not like regular beans. They are sweet and so ONO when mixed with ice cream and shave ice.

Finally, you must decide on the flavors. You can usually have three flavors poured on top of the ice. Two of the most famous shave ice places on Oahu, both located in Haleiwa on the North Shore, are Matsumoto’s and Aoki’s. You will always find a long line at both of these shave ice stores. Below are the flavors each offer.

Matsumoto’s offers:
Strawberry, Pineapple, Lemon, Coconut, Banana, Vanilla, Root Beer, Grape, Lime, Lilikoi (passion fruit), Orange, Honeydew, Melon, Mango, Raspberry, Coffee, Watermelon, Bubblegum, Cotton Candy, Pinacolada, Banana Cream, Lihing Mui, Lychee, and Cherry.

Aoki’s offers:
Strawberry, Banana, Pineapple, Lemon, Lilikoi, Coconut, Rootbeer, Vanilla, Melona, Chocolate, Blue Hawaii, Coffee, Bubble Gum, Cherry, Lime, Orange, Watermelon, Guava, Mango, Rasberry, Cotton Candy, Li Hing Mui, Grape, Strawberry Cream, Lychee, and Pina Colada. As well as the following Sugar free flavors: Strawberry, Banana, & Watermelon.

And here are my dear friends Katia & Guido enjoying a shave ice from Aoki’s:


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