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 Princeville, Hanalei, and Kilauea 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.
If you’re happy with your meal, tag us @HawaiiIslander on Instagram to share the love.
Featured photo: Courtesy of Wishing Well Shave Ice
Jojo's Shave Ice
Fresh ingredients and large portions for a great price! At Jojo’s, the size options are Da Kine (28oz) or Big Kahuna (40oz). They have 16 flavor combinations, but if you’d like to invent your own, go for it! You’ll just need to decide your favorite mix of flavors, ice cream and toppings. Additional locations in Waimea and Coconut Market Place. The Hanalei location is open daily 12am to 7pm.
Kilauea Fish Market
Located right outside this fish market is shaved ice — whether you get a meal first, or come only for their shave ice, it’ll be worth your time. There are a variety of flavors, most of which are traditional for shave ice. kilaueafishmarket.com
Wishing Well Shave Ice
You can’t miss this colorful food truck with the wooden roof. The space may be small but Wishing Well is scooping locally sourced goodness to fill up your cup. They focus on local and sustainable here, so you know your cones and utensils are all Earth friendly. It’s a delicious treat you can feel good about. Open daily from 9:30am to 5pm.