Oahu's Best Shave Ice
Island-style shave ice (never shaved ice—it's a pidgin thing) is said to have been born when neighborhood kids hung around the ice house, waiting to pounce on the shavings from large blocks of ice, carved with ultrasharp Japanese planes that created an exceptionally fine-textured granita.
In the 1920s, according to the historian for syrup manufacturer Malolo Beverages Co., Chinese vendors developed sweet fruit concentrates to pour over the ice.
The evolution continued with mom-and-pop shops adding their own touches, such as hiding a nugget of sweet bean paste, Japanese-style, in the center; placing a small scoop of ice cream at the bottom; adding li hing powder (a sweet spice); or using multitoned cones.
There's nothing better on a sticky hot day. Try
Waiola. Off Kapahulu Avenue, Waiola Shave Ice, known for its finely shaved ice and wide variety of flavors, has recently become famous through its regular appearance on the reboot of Hawaii Five-0. In real life, the service is a bit surly and the prices are slightly higher than those at most other shave ice places, but it's close to Waikiki. 3113 Mokihana St., Kapahulu, Honolulu, HI, 96816. PHONE: 808/735-8886.
Aoki's. If you're not in the mood to stand in the long line at the famous Matsumoto's Shave Ice, walk across the parking lot to Aoki's, where the locals prefer. Here the shave ice is just as good, if not better, with a variety of tropical flavors to cool you off. 66-117 Kamehameha Hwy., Haleiwa, Honolulu, HI, 96712. PHONE: 808/637-7017. www.aokishaveice.com.