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ISO Taiwanese or Korean style "shave ice"

I have visited Hawaii numerous times, even lived there for a time. Among the foods I miss most is the shave ice I could get at Waiola Market and especially at Tropicana's at the foot of St. Louis Heights. I took a Taiwanese friend to Waiola's one time and he was not impressed; He said that the shave ice in Taiwan was better. But also what is interesting is that both Waiola and Tropicana are run by immigrant Asians, not Hawaiian locals. And I consider these places better than the more popular Matsumoto's because of the smooth texture of the ice, more like light sorbet than snow cone.

I know there are chowhounds out there who have had Taiwanese or Korean "shave ice", although I know they wouldn't necessarily call it that (Hawaiian phrase). If there are any leads where I could find these, even in the greater LA area like Ventura, I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks

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  1. There are a lot of shaved ice at Taiwanese restaurants in the San Gabriel Valley.

    I believe Sin Ba La and the place Konjac right now to it serves it in Arcadia off of Duarte and Baldwin.

    Shau Mei on Valley in San Gabriel also serves this. As does Shau Mei in Monterey Park on Garfield/Garvey.

    The Shau Mei in the food court next to 99 Ranch in Arcadia also serves this.

    7 Replies
    1. re: WHills

      Yep... the Shau May on Garfield/Garvey (which my wife and I call "Kentucky-fried Shau May" due to the bucket on the roof) is our usual destination for Taiwanese slush; for Korean ice (called "bing su"), we usually go to Ice Kiss, on 6th and Catalina (3 blocks from the Wilshire/Vermont stop on the Red and Purple lines)... but do be aware they serve it in a dog food bowl.

      1. re: Das Ubergeek

        Third the rec for Shau May. It is the quintissential Taiwanese shaved ice (bao bing) for me, and I've never developed a taste for konjac that some of the other places are doing now.

        1. re: Das Ubergeek

          5th rec on Shau Mei (which used to be a KFC, thus the bucket) -- and yes, I too prefer the one on Garfield/Valley in Alhambra. Love it with glass/grass jelly, almond tofu & "ton yuan" (glutinous rice "soup balls") and of course, the sweetened condensed milk!

          ~AquaW
          http://la-oc-foodie.blogspot.com

          1. re: AquaW

            We go to Shau Mei on valley and garfield. Very good. Recommend the lychee, small tapioca, and pudding. Don't forget to get a lot of condensed milk on top. Interestingly, in the Hawaiian islands, from my experience, only in Kauai'i does it seem to be popular to get the condensed milk "snow cap", but it makes the shave ice so much better. Guppies in Cerritos is also delicious.

            1. re: azibo

              There's also a shau may in Rowland Heights in Hong Kong Supermarket Plaza (colima, between Fullerton & Nogales).

              We went to the one at North Shore Oahu which I thought was Matsumoto - was a lot finer grain than the taiwanese shaved ice at Shau May, the texture was more pillowy soft than icy. In Hawaii they top it with fruit flavorings (even li hing mui - sour plum) and also ice cream (optional). The chinese version definitely has more chew, especially when you throw in the rice balls.

              1. re: notmartha

                I agree the one in Rowland Heights is good as well, although parking can be crazy around there for some reason. The spots are all weird sizes. I wish they did syrups here too. Li hing is delicious. The sharpness of the blade is really the trick to the texture. They are really 2 different dishes, though, the hawaiian and taiwanese. But both are good.

      2. Not all the Shau Mei (or Shau May) are the same in the SGV.

        For Taiwanese shaved ice I prefer te Shau Mei on the corner of Garfield and Valley, next to the Starbucks.

        In Temple City, I lik the Taiwanese shaved ice at Won Won Kitchen, which I wrote about here: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/355692 .

        Of course Sin Ba La in Arcadia and Rowland Heights is also a good stop for shaved ice.

        There is also a place in the Focus Plaza (SW corner of Valley and Del Mar) that specializes in Taiwanese shaved ice, but the name completely escapes me this early in the morning ...

        3 Replies
        1. re: ipsedixit

          I think it's called 108 Ice Cream and Cafe since it (surprise) occupies space #108 in that shopping center. Also across the street in the shopping center next to the Hilton is Pa Pa Walk, a Taiwanese snack place that has good shaved ice.

          1. re: Chandavkl

            a second for pa pa walk! their mango shaved ice is yummy...condensed milk, mangoes and a scoop of ice cream to top it off. it's pretty big too. i think they must shave down a small iceberg to make it.

          2. re: ipsedixit

            yep, tahts the one i go to when i need a shaved ice fix. doesn't hurt that you can get a double espresso in the same complex.

          3. I love Simbala's shaved ice. It's the only place I've been to where the shaved ice is comparable to Taiwan. There's also Guppies in Cerritos, I haven't actually had their shaved ice but I've seen pictures and they're these gargantuan mounds of shaved ice covered in sweetned condensed milk and fruit

            2 Replies
            1. re: crystaw

              Guppy is good. (I've only been to the one on South Street). Trouble is that there's so many kids hanging around there.

              1. re: Chandavkl

                I really disliked Guppy the one time I went, but it was in the winter. I could see how in the summer, with lots of fresh and good fruit around, it would be delicious. When we went, the only thing worth eating was the ice and condensed milk, which I could eat at home. The strawberries and mangos were all kind of pale and hard, and the bananas were browning around the edges. Yes, a huge mound of ice is fun to look at, but unless it tastes good too don't bother.

            2. I like the green tea bingsoo at Gaam (upstairs at the Chapman building on 6th and Alexandria). The place doubles as a antique and art gallery/store of sorts as well.

              Nicole's bingsu at Nicole's on the first floor of the Ktown Plaza is pretty good for a more traditional paht-bingsoo

              1. Thanks for the response. I will be sure to try Sinbala and Shau May (Mei?) first and try to get to the other suggestions after that. I don't need hot weather to eat shave ice, Hawaiian or Taiwanese.

                7 Replies
                1. re: Ogawak

                  ice kiss! definitely the best korean shaved ice.

                  mr. coffee is also good.

                  1. re: greengelato

                    not enough paht!

                    ...and the one for two people is served in a DOG BOWL, for heaven's sake! (at Ice Kiss, that is)

                    1. re: PseudoNerd

                      Yeah, the dog bowl is a bit off-putting. More off-putting, however, are the Froot Loops.

                      1. re: Das Ubergeek

                        Yeah, it's Fruity Pebbles or nothing! :D

                        But honestly, I prefer Mr. Coffee because their fruit is fresher, staff a little more on top of things, and ambiance much more conducive to sitting and chatting.

                        1. re: Pei

                          Mr. Coffee doesn't have dduk tho...prefer the doggy bowl at Ice Kiss.

                          Second the rec below for Mikawaya's extremely fine textured ice.

                        2. re: PseudoNerd

                          you can ask for extra pat at any joint and they'll give it to you. i always ask for extra dduk and pat.