Take a picture…Home is where the shave ice is

by Tania Ginoza on November 14, 2012 · 14 comments

One of my favorite things about Hawaii is the shave ice.  It’s supa ono. (super delish!) and since our winter merely means bigger waves on the north shore and a slightly earlier sunset, we can indulge in this refreshing treat year round.

I’ve had Ululani’s Shave Ice on my must eat list for way too long. So I finally headed to the Dairy Road location on my lunch break to see what all the fuss was about.  Two thumbs way way up!  The ice is the perfect consistency, soft and velvety.  They smooth the outer layer and then poke holes in the ice before pouring the syrup.  I thought this was brillant as it meant no disappointing white ice partway thru. Hitting ice with no syrup in a shave ice is a pet peeve of mine. I can eat plain white ice at home, thank you very much.  Ululani’s offers a wide variety of syrup flavors, including sugar free options.  Add-ons include Maui’s own Roselani ice cream, mochi balls and shredded coconut.  I had a coke/cherry/lime combo with macadamia nut ice cream.

Shave ice was originally brought to Hawaii by the Japanese who worked on the sugar cane and pineapple plantations.  It’s very similar to Japan’s kakigōri.  Hawaii shave ice and kakigōri are a much finer and softer consistency than the traditional ice chips snow cone served on the mainland.  Shave ice is made by spinning a block of ice over an ice shaving blade using an electric or hand cranked machine.   A popular way to serve shave ice is with a bit of ice cream in the bottom of the cup or cone with the ice topped off with condensed milk.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

lisacng @ expandng.com November 14, 2012

What fun colors! And great idea to poke holes for the syrup to flow. On the mainland, if you buy shaved ice from a street vendor, you always get white ice. That’s why I don’t buy shaved ice anymore. On the mainland, we also have Rita’s which is “italian ice” and that’s the syrup already mixed-in to the smooth ice. It’s yum too! My fav is mint chocolate chip but I haven’t seen that flavor on their menu in years! Anyways, back to shaved ice. The only place I like it is from Asian bakeries where they serve it with condensed milk and lots of gelatinous goodies. Haha. But the ultimate shaved ice experience is on the streets of Taiwan. But watch out for the source b/c many a foreigner cannot handle the tap water they use to make the ice. Sorry for the long comment! haha.


Tania November 14, 2012

Mmm, I’ve never had Italian ice but it sounds good. The Asian treats sound great too. I used to love the dessert shops in Hong Kong but mostly went there during fall/winter so had warm desserts with sesame, that kind of thing, never thought to see if they had icy treats too the few times I went during the summer. I wonder if they have something like that. I’ve always wished we had those types of dessert shops here, used to love how everyone used to hang out there at 10 pm on a weeknight.


lisacng @ expandng.com November 15, 2012

Not sure HK is as big on the shaved ice stands as Taiwan is. There is so little “street food” in HK now b/c of sanitary rules/laws. Taiwan is the king of food, in my opinion, and I wasn’t that impressed with I went Alan to HK a few years ago. It was fun watching him re-live his childhood though! A lot of types of food had sentimental value to him.


another jennifer November 14, 2012

Yum! I love that they poke holes in the ice before adding the syrup. Pure genius!

I went with my family for the prompt. The picture I used is from our trip to NYC. No matter where we are, home is always where my family is!


Tania November 14, 2012

I was thinking of doing a family shot or a comfy interiors shot but as we get close to the holidays I thought about my friends and cousins who have moved to the mainland. When Hawaii people are away for too long, we tend to reminisce about the every day things, like shave ice.

I’m hopping over now…are you ready?


Jen November 14, 2012

I agree! I love eating shave ice. Actually, I had some Matsumoto’s this past Sunday. I got this tropical flavor one. It was so good! Your looks ono-licous. I never saw shave ice with holes. That’s smart. I’m going to ask my shave ice to come with holes, so the syrup can get to the bottom faster.


Tiffanie November 14, 2012

That looks delicious! We sought out shave ice when we were in Maui long ago on vacation. I’ve always wondered why there was ice cream under the ice, but now I see it is a variation on condensed milk being poured over it (I Googled kakigōri!), a way to bring in the creaminess. Wonderful photo, Tania!


Elinor Gawel (Eli) November 15, 2012

I like mine mango/lime with haupia (for non Hawaii readers-coconut cream) They have that at Rainbow Mall in South Kihei. Italian ice is another favorite of mine from back east. The stuff in the freezer section of the grocery store is a pale comparison. I’m sure I will miss it when we move back to the mainland someday.


Tania November 15, 2012

I need to try the coconut cream! Thanks Eli for the tip. Another lime gal, awesome.


Sylvia November 19, 2012

This photo reminds me of the Kula Elementary Fair yesterday. We were sitting next to a whole group of little kids that were in shave ice heaven. You can tell by the looks on their faces… and all the shave ice on their faces, too!


Tania November 20, 2012

That is part of the fun of eating shave ice, seeing the joy on all the kids’ faces.


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