Where to Find the Best Shave Ice on Oahu

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 and of course lines of visitors and locals at popular purveyors such as Matsumoto’s. Here are our favorite spots for Hawaii’s signature cold treat.

Oahu Shave Ice Map

Shave Ice on the South Shore

Island Vintage Coffee
Photo: Courtesy of Island Vintage Coffee

Island Vintage Coffee

Centrally located in the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center (level two), this is a popular spot for breakfast and lunches – but we love their shave ice too! Everything here comes from local artisans and growers who have a commitment to producing quality products in Hawai‘i. Open daily 12pm to 9pm. islandvintagecoffee.com

shave ice Oahu
Photo: @uncleclays

Uncle Clay’s House of Pure Aloha

This isn’t just any old shave ice. Uncle Clay’s homemade syrups are made from all-natural ingredients like fresh Hawaiian fruits, fruit purees, and natural cane sugar. No artificial sweeteners or colors are used. Open daily 12pm to 6pm. houseofpurealoha.com

Waiola Shave Ice
Photo: Courtesy of Waiola Shave Ice

Waiola Shave Ice

Waiola Shave Ice is known for making azuki beans daily and custard pudding and mochi balls twice a week. Their syrups are homemade using sugar cane, some with natural flavors, and Waiola offers more than a thousand flavor combinations. Open every day but Tuesday, 12pm to 6pm. waiolashaveice.com

Shave Ice on the West Side

Papalua Shave Ice
Photo: Courtesy of Pāpālua Shave Ice

Pāpālua Shave Ice

Disney fans swear everything tastes better when it’s Mickey-shaped, and we’re inclined to agree. So of course the add-ons at Pāpālua Shave Ice at Disney’s Aulani don’t stop with sweetened condensed milk (a must!) and ice cream — you can also add ears to your ice. Choose three flavors from a huge range of syrup choices, including guava, coconut, mango and lilikoi, then get that camera out — those ears instantly transform your treat into Instagram gold. Open daily 11am to 5pm. disneyaulani.com

Shave Ice on the North Shore

Photo: @matsumotoshaveice

M. Matsumoto Shave Ice

M. Matsumoto has been serving shave ice on the North Shore since 1951 — this is the shave ice OG! There could be a line but it moves quickly, and on a hot Hawaiian day this shave ice will cool you right off. Located in historic Haleiwa town, M. Matsumoto is surrounding by plenty of shops to check out as you indulge in your shave ice treat! Open daily 10am to 6pm. matsumotoshaveice.com

Wicked Hi Slush
Photo: Courtesy of Wicked Hi Cafe

Wicked Hi Cafe

These slushies are delicious — local honey is drizzled on top of your choice of flavors, which are fresh, tropical and just the thing to quench your thirst. This is not your traditional shave ice, but these cups of frosty delights will hit the spot, we promise. Open Wednesday through Monday 9am to 5pm. Closed Tuesday. wickedhislushie.com

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Oahu Shave Ice Map

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