Stopping for shave ice (which is never locally referred to as “shaved” ice) is most typical on an unusually hot day, or after hours at the beach. But, as long lines tend to wrap around the Island blocks, any time in Hawaii is a good time for shave ice. Here are eight local shave ice flavors you have to try.
Li hing mui
This salty seed is the culprit of all the red tongues you see outside the shave ice shops and is every local kids’ favorite flavor. For even more punch, ask for li hing mui powder sprinkled over the entire cone.
It may seem like a strange choice for shave ice, but add lychee next to other tropical fruit flavors like mango, lilikoi, and guava, and you will have wished you tried it sooner.
Ask any local about pickled mango and they will start reminiscing about “small kid time” and their family’s special recipe. Green mangoes are pickled with vinegar, sugar, salt and sometimes shoyu (soy sauce) creating the perfect sweet, sour, and fruity shave ice flavor.
From dessert to jelly, lilikoi (passion fruit) is an iconic flavor of the islands and is used in many dishes and treats. Since most shave ice stands in Hawaii use fresh juice to create their signature fruit flavors, opt for one of those.
If you haven’t heard of this shave ice flavor, you should definitely also try its namesake, the Melona ice popsicle. This popular South Korean ice cream tastes like creamy honeydew melon.
Similar to picked mango, lemon peel is a popular snack typical of mom and pop crack seed stores. It’s hard to describe all the flavors of lemon peel—it’s a pop of salty, tangy, acidic, and sour all at the same time.
This classic Hawaiian dessert can also be enjoyed on shave ice. It’s hard to go wrong when choosing haupia—creamy sweet coconut—as a flavor.
If you’ve been in Hawaii long enough, chances are you’ve heard the acronym POG. It’s a juice blend of passion fruit, orange, and guava, and has been a household name in Hawaii since the 70s.
Add mochi, azuki beans, ice cream, or custard
Try any of these additions to take your shave ice to the next level. Typical snow cones will never be the same again.
Pay a little extra and have your shave ice drizzled with a condensed milk mixture, adding a dimension of creaminess to each flavor.