Chill out with a local favorite: shave ice

A Hawaiian shave ice!
A Hawaiian shave ice!

Don’t call it a snow cone. Sure, it has a base of ice topped with circus-bright colors, but the similarity ends there. Where snow cones are made from tiny, crunchy chunks of ice, Hawaii’s favorite treat is made of finer stuff. It’s fluffy and airy, much like freshly fallen snow. While most of the island residents refer to these as ‘shave ice’ or ‘shaved ice,’ folks from the eastern side of the Big Island may confuse you when they call it ‘ice shave.’ No worries; it’s all the same stuff. Order yours with azuki beans or li hing mui for real island flavor!

Check out these favorite island spots for shave ice:


Matsumoto Shave Ice: Located on the North Shore of Oahu, this is the place to stop for refreshment when you’re out exploring the island. They make their own syrups. 66-087 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa

Aoki’s Shave Ice: Another North Shore shave ice shop, they have shave ice as well as ice cream, smoothies, and snacks. 66-117 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa

Waiola Shave Ice: Ask for a snowcap if you’re up for something new! Located just 6 or 7 blocks from the Doubletree Alana Hotel Waikiki. 2135 Waiola Avenue, at the corner of Paani Street


Annie’s Island Shave Ice: On Prison Street in Lahaina, Annie’s is off the beaten path, but worth looking for. It’s just a short walk from the budget Best Western Pioneer Inn. 113 Prison Street, Lahaina


Hawaiian Blizzard Shave Ice: This spot is open only in the afternoons, so you’ll want to time your trip accordingly. Located in Kapaa down the street from the Kauai Coast Resort in the Kapaa Shopping Center. 4-1105 Kuhio Highway, Kapaa


Scandinavian Shave Ice: Located just across from Kailua Bay in downtown Kailua-Kona, look for the long line of people. Happily, the line moves quickly and you'll have an oversized cool treat in your hands in no time. 75-5699 Ali’i Dr., Kailua-Kona

- Kris Bordessa of Honolulu On The Cheap and Big Island On The Cheap

[Photo credit: Flickr/bump]

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