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Hawaiian “Shave” Ice

Shave ice2Whether you’re staying in a luxury villa in Hawaii, a hotel or resort, or with friends and family, no Hawaiian vacation would be complete without indulging in our famous “Shave Ice”.

Originally brought to Hawaii by Japanese plantation workers in the early 1900’s, Hawaiian Shave Ice can now be found throughout the islands and is a favorite snack amongst tourists and locals alike.

Although they resemble each other in appearance, Shave Ice is not to be confused with the snow cone. While they are both made of ice and syrup, this is where the similarities end.  As its name implies, the tasty Hawaiian treat is made of shaved ice giving it a nice fluffy texture which absorbs the syrup rather than allowing it to sink to the bottom. Such is the life of the common snow cone.

Now we know that it may seem odd to call it “Shave Ice” instead of the more obvious “Shaved Ice”, but that’s just the way that it is. Shave ice machines employ a sharp blade to shave down blocks of ice, producing powdery flakes which are then packed in to cones or cups.  Perhaps the best part of Hawaii’s Shave Ice is the syrup flavors. This is the tropical “Paradise of the Pacific” after all so you can expect to find syrups in flavors like guava, mango, coconut and pineapple to name just a handful of the favorites.

If that weren’t enough to set it apart from the run-of-the-mill snow cone, Hawaiian shave ice cements its status as a true dessert with all of its extras. It’s often served with ice cream, whipped cream, sweetened condensed milk, and the popular Adzuki bean paste. Depending on your preference, this can be added to the bottom, the middle, or as a dollop on top of the frozen treat.

You won’t have any trouble finding shave ice in Hawaii as it’s available in many of our shops, restaurants, and even on our food trucks. If you’re on vacation in Hawaii, we recommend you put Shave Ice on your list of things to try before you leave our beautiful state – your taste buds will thank-you! To read about some of Hawaii’s other culinary treasures, see our post on Hawaii’s best restaurants.