ISO Shave Ice
- David Kahn Jun 28, 2010 11:14 AM
I just got back from a week in a straightforward little town in the middle of Kansas (Emporia). It's hot there this time of year, and in the middle of town there was a little shave ice stand, where they shave the ice off of a big circular block, powder fine, pack it firmly into a cup, and douse it with whatever combination of flavored syrups you request. They have 50 or 80 flavors, so the combinations really are almost infinite. I was leaning toward tropical flavors during my stay, with mango, guava, pineapple, and coconut predominating, but now I'm really regretting not having gone the cherry/lime route at least once.
So, my question is, is there anyplace in Los Angeles where I can rectify this error? I need freshly shaved ice, powder fine (none of that rough crushed snowcone/raspado stuff) and lots of traditional flavored syrups. (While I love the Korean shaved ice with the red bean paste, fruit cocktail, and Fruity Pebbles and all, that's really a different animal.) I'll drive if necessary, but if there was something within five miles of Mozza, say for example, that would really be spectacular. (I live a couple of blocks from Mozza, and being able to walk would make the shave ice a more nearly calorie neutral proposition.) Any suggestions?
The Get Shaved truck can be followed on Twitter and also has a brick and mortar in Northridge. As a lover of shave ice, I have found them to be as good as it gets in this area. Get Shaved does make it to the Midtown area, depending on their schedule. The ice is really fine, nearly as good as my favorite spots on Oahu. As a reference, this truck does it better than the famed Matsumotos on the North Shore of Oahu.
Otherwise the best place is Shakas in Alhambra (also Monterey Park).
Agree, the Get Shaved truck is the best shave ice I've had outside of Hawaii. I thought they did an excellent job of finely shaving the ice so that it is nice and soft, which is a real rarity on the mainland. However, the flavored syrups were good but not great...I would prefer the syrups to be less sweet and more fruity...you could discern the flavors, but there was also a strong generic sweetness. That said, it's good stuff.
Just tried the Get Shaved stand in Northridge on Reseda Blvd just north of Nordhoff near the campus. I have tried the trucks in the past and found them great. The stand offers options like macadamia nut ice cream, mochi balls, azuki bean and li hing mui powder, along with a wide variety of syrups. The ice is shaved very fine, like the best places in Hawaii (and no, I don't mean Matsumoto's). The offerings are smaller than what you would find in Hawaii, but no complaints here. It's real shave ice done by people who know how.
9255 Reseda Blvd
Or follow the truck on Twitter.
There's also NOLA in Sherman Oaks (on Ventura, close to Woodman) that does New Orleans style shaved ice.
Aloha Food Factory at the end of the 710 in Alhambra has Hawaiian style shaved ice. I have yet to try it. I normally just go to the Mexican pushing the block of ice and ringing the bell in El Monte. But I guess some people would never do that. I grew up with it so I'm not worried, most of the time.
Aloha Food Factory
2990 W Valley Blvd, Alhambra, CA 91803
Sorry to reply so late in the game, but the heatwave has me thinking of New Orleans-style "snoballs"; and, when they're done correctly, they're just as delicately wonderful as anything in Hawaii (and certainly Kansas!).
This past summer we finally got around to trying New Orleans Snoballs, on the southeast corner of Slauson and Overhill in Los Angeles. We were not at all disappointed by the product. Their snowballs are as good as Plum Street or any of the New Orleans favorites.
If you're interested in reading a bit about New Orleans-style snowballs, check out this article on Chuck Taggart's Gumbo Pages:
New Orleans Snoballs
4452 W Slauson Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90043
More props for Get Shaved. I've been eating shave ice a lot, and Get Shave does the texture right. Plus good syrup flavors and extras.
Class 302 in Rowland Heights, a trek for you, is also supposed to be excellent fine shave, but they only offer milk ice.