Hawaiian Shave Ice: The Must Eat Sweet Treat

These local shaved ice shops will sweeten any sunny day on the Hawaiian Islands! From nostalgic, rainbow-colored cups to gourmet creations, here are our top picks for the best Hawaiian shaved ice.

What is Hawaiian shaved ice, you ask? Along with rogue chickens, unforgettable luaus, and diving below the surface of crystal-clear water, it’s the most quintessential part of your time on the islands!

These refreshing creations are made of shaved ice and sweet syrup, but they’re not exactly Hawaiian snow cones.

Aside from having no cone, the major difference is in the small details. Whether it’s the consistency of snow that makes each spoonful powdery soft and fine or the unique flavor of syrups that soak the ice beneath, these local shops have each contributed to setting Hawaii’s most beloved cold treat to the highest standards.

Follow along as we share seven of the best spots for Hawaiian shaved ice.

The 7 Best Spots for Hawaiian Shaved Ice

1. Matsumoto Shave Ice

Location: 66-111 Kamehameha Hwy #605, Haleiwa

Hawaiian shaved ice Oahu has been synonymous with the word “Matsumoto” for decades now. Of all the shave ice shops on the island, Matsumoto Shave Ice is the one that sells more than 1,000 shave ice treats in a day. The lines are long, but many will agree that the wait time is extremely worth it.

You can order Hawaiian shaved ice with ice cream or a classic bowl with up to three flavors. Add some extras for an even more decadant taste, such as azuki beans, mochi, and condensed milk. One thing’s for sure. Whatever you order the first time will make you keep coming back for more. There’s a laundry list of great flavors to try each time you visit!

Red, blue, green, and yellow shaved ice on a counter with syrup bottles lined up behind it
Photo Credit: Matsumoto Shave Ice via Facebook

2. Original Big Island Shave Ice Co.

Location: 69-250 Waikōloa Beach Dr, Waikoloa Village

The Original Big Island Hawaii famous shaved ice is said to originate from a doting mother’s treasured recipe. To this day, Reggie Ignacio still uses his mother’s recipe to serve traditional flavors of shave ice Hawaii at the Original Big Island Shave Ice Co.

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This historic shave ice shop has been serving locals and visitors with drool-worthy treats for 50 years. Once you taste one of a handful of selections such as Rainbow with strawberry or pineapple and blue vanilla, you’ll understand why every new generation of shaved ice lovers always consider Original Big Island as one of the best Hawaiian shaved ice recipes.

3. The Fresh Shave

Location: 5356 Koloa Rd Suite C, Koloa

Shaved iced machines are all the rave in Koloa these days, thanks to The Fresh Shave. This South Kauai shave ice truck serves tasty refreshing treats without the traditional mixing and matching of flavors. Instead, customers get to choose from preset menu combinations. And voila! Out comes a delicious bowl of shaved ice from a pretty cool hand cranked machine

All selections are named after mustache styles, such as the coconut and lime concoction Chevron, and the Kauai-coffee-flavored Dirt McGirt. Each serving comes complete with a straw wearing a paper mustache, making the experience an Instagram-worthy shot.

Kids sitting and eating bowls of shaved hawaiian ice from Ululani Hawaiian Shave Ice in Maui Hawaii
photo credit: Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice via Facebook

4. Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice

Location: Lahaina Marketplace, 790 Front St, Lahaina (plus 6 more locations in Maui)

If your palette is in the mood for explorative tastings and bombastic flavors, head over to Ululanis Hawaiian Shave Ice. There are no less than 6 locations across Maui, and possibly more in the future, so you won’t have any trouble getting a taste of one of the dozens of shaved ice flavors concocted by Ululani and David Yamashiro.

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Imagine Li Hing powder and sweetened condensed milk over shaved ice so fine it’s melt-in-your-mouth goodness. At Ululani’s, each bowl of shaved ice is nothing short of perfection.

5. Uncle Clay’s House of Pure Aloha

Location: 820 W. Hind Drive #116, Honolulu

Fruity, zesty, and oh so velvety. These are just three of the best words that define what you’ll get in Uncle Clay s House of Pure Aloha. Tasting Uncle Clay’s fresh fruit Hawaiian shave ice creations are heaven on Earth. Strawberry Dream, Tropical Delight, and the Classic Rainbow are crowd favorites.

Your first spoonful of shave ice Oahu at Uncle Clay’s can also be your masterful creation. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your custom shaved ice! Put some toppings like ice cream or sorbet. Maybe a mochi or fresh fruit to boot!

Close up of Rainbow Shaved Ice at Matsumoto Shave Ice in Oahu, Hawaii6. Wailua Shave Ice

Location: 4-831 Kuhio Hwy, Kapaʻa

Hawaiian shave ice and syrups make for the perfect local treat, but at Wailua Shave Ice, these phenomenal highlighter-colored cups are transformed into a gourmet delicacy.

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Shaved ice chef Brandon Baptiste hails from the iconic Per Se in New York City. His learned sophisticated sense of texture and flavor was put to good use when he returned home to open the iconic Wailua Shave Ice that we know and love today.

Catch the chef working on limited ice shave specials, made with finely shaved ice doused with real fruit juices. Whether it’s pineapples, strawberries, or oranges, the seasonal fruit you catch will keep you coming back for more.

7. Waiola Shave Ice

Location: 2135 Waiola St, Honolulu

Simple and sweet is what best defines the shaved ice treats served at Waiola Shave Ice. There is nothing grand to Waiola’s concoctions, but as one of Hawaii’s oldest shaved ice stops that are still in existence, we’d like to think that this local master has perfected the art of making this icy treat.

A bowl of rainbow shaved ice Hawaii doesn’t have to be so grand. The most basic ingredients served on top of ice so soft it evaporates on the tongue put Waiola Shave Ice on the map since 1940. To date, the shop still serves the same icy treats, but you can always go crazy on toppings and extras like green tea, caramel, or even Hershey chocolate.

close up of coastline and blue waters at Puako Bay in Big Island Hawaii, USAPlan Your Dream Aloha Vacation

The Hawaii Islands have plenty to offer in terms of finger-licking food and cult-worthy indulgences. On your next visit to the Aloha State, add a couple of stops to taste some Hawaii shave ice.

And while you’re planning your itinerary, check out Tripster’s Aloha vacation packages for savings on hotels, attractions, and shows.

Have You Tried Hawaiian Shaved Ice?

What is your favorite flavor combo? Leave us a comment below!

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Written by Nicole King

There are only two things that make Nicole really happy–books and travel! When her head’s not buried in a book, she’s most likely...

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