The snowy treat known as shave ice (not “shaved”) came to Hawaiʻi with Japanese and Okinawan immigrants who started working on the islands’ sugar plantations in the late 1860s. By the mid-20th century, the modern version with its rainbow of flavors and additions such as ice cream and “snowcaps” of sweetened condensed milk was typically found at humble Japanese-American grocery stores such as M. Matsumoto on Oahu’s North Shore. Today, expect even more flavors, gourmet natural syrups, options such as chewy mochi balls or sweet red adzuki beans. Here are our favorite spots near and around Lihue, Kapa’a, and Hokuala for Hawaii’s signature cold treat.
But wait, there’s more. We’re here to help demystify some of the unusual words you might see on menus like furikake, laulau and lilikoi — and explain which meat is being served and why. And possibly most importantly of all, provide the fun facts on the origins of local dishes.
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Featured photo: Courtesy of Rachael S. on Yelp
North Shore Shave Ice Map
The Fresh Shave
Picnic tables shaded by umbrellas set the tone for this laid-back food truck. Wailua Shave Ice has lots of flavors and toppings to choose from for their traditional shave ice made with fresh local fruit. There are also tasty smoothies and acai bowls on the menu, in case you want to chase your shave ice with something just as fresh and tasty. Open daily from 12pm to 8:30pm.
Hee Fat General Store
As its name implies, this store isn’t exclusive to shave ice, but it certainly does it right and you won’t want to be left out in trying it. They offer their own creations, such as their lava flow shave ice that features pineapple, strawberry and coconut flavors atop macadamia nut ice cream, or customers can create their own by picking their flavors and toppings. hee-fat-general-store.business.site