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Shave Ice on Oahu

Tried a couple new places this time. Here is my personal preference for Shave Ice on Oahu.

1. Ailana Shave Ice- Shave ice is extra fine and toppings are made with real fruit. Had the Strawberry Creme and Haupia. Also, tried the Tropical Trio which was also very good. Located right behind Ala Moana Mall with parking.

2. Shimazu Store- Toppings are also homemade (well some of them) I got the small and it was pretty huge.

3. Ice Garden- I always get the one with the flan and condensed milk topping.

4. Waiola Shave Ice- This used to be my number 1 but others have surpassed it.

5. Matsumoto Shave Ice- I like the toppings but the ice needs to be finer and its far from town.

6. Tropicana- I did not like this one. Maybe an off day. The toppings tasted old.

7. Island Snow- This was just bad. This tasted like a snow cone, not shave ice.

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Matsumoto Shave Ice
66 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI 96712

Ice Gardens
Aiea Shopping Ctr, Aiea, HI 96701

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  1. Agree wit u..been to Ailana last june. Like what they serve.
    While growing up always went to Shimazu, formerly B&S. We're talking in the 1960s.
    Parking was no problem then as we rode our bikes. The shave ice was big then and only 25 cents....

    1. Great list, Socal boy. I will need to try Ice Garden and Shimazu when I get back to Oahu. I also think Ailana is the best shave ice, especially with the whole fruit toppings.

      Like you, Waiola used to be tops on my list. They skimp on their syrup and the service is not very friendly.

      I understand Tropicana might be undergoing ownership change. I love this place also, but we'll see how it tastes the next time we visit.

      Another place I want to try not on your list is Mountain Magic, not brick-and-mortar, but a truck or stand that serves shave ice in a shopping center in Kapolei. My sister-in-law raves about it.

      Have you tried Get Shaved in Northridge. Not quite on par with Oahu establishments, but very good and fine.

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      Ice Gardens
      Aiea Shopping Ctr, Aiea, HI 96701

      1. Ice Garden should be some place to try just for their unusual condiments (e.g. oatmeal)

        Hula Boba is also a favorite as they use what seems to be blocks of ice milk to shave from. They also use fruit preserves instead of syrup.

        For ice quality alone, I've always like Jon's Store in Puunui, which is at the top of Liliha. This is a really small mom-and-pop place, and I don't know if it's still there. The ice here was fine, but not so fine that it becomes close to a slurpee or icee. (I think Waiola can get this way.)

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        Ice Gardens
        Aiea Shopping Ctr, Aiea, HI 96701

        1 Reply
        1. re: Jazzaloha

          Hula Boba in Chinatown uses a non-dairy frozen milk-like ice. I thought it had a bit of an articial taste. In Kaneohe they have a nice snow ice place called Boba Berry. They do use soy milk in their snow. I like it better.

          I could imagine a place that used Boba Berry snow ice with Ailana's whole fruit toppings, etc.

        2. Thanks for the new suggestions for shave ice. I am always willing to try someplace new. However, I will always go back to Ailana until I find someplace better.

          1. hmmm...wailoa is totally my fave (mostly a textural thing) but i havent tried the top 3 on socal's list...have to get on the shave ice trail...

            i'll throw one more out there: the shave ice at the ol' wailua sugar mill up on da north shore is pretty good. they got the best syrups : all their toppings are NATURAL - made with whatever fruits etc they have in season.....no artificial anything. really tasty, sometimes chunks of fruit in there (mango, pineapple, papaya, conconut etc). the one "syrup" that totally set it off for me was their wailua chocolate topping -- he makes it with the wailua milk chocolate they produce up there, melts it and makes a chocolate sauce that is creamy, sweet, and MONEY. i mixed that with their natural coconut syrup and topped it with some condensed milk (of course) and man oh man was that a unique shave ice treat. i will say i found their ice a bit gritty, so it didnt all come together to perfection....when he asked me what i thought about it (he's proud of his stuff!) I mentioned that i thought it could improve texturally to be a finer shave, and i mentioned waiola as my personal standard for creamy texture...he agreed and mentioned that he was investing in a new machine eventually...this was a few months ago, so maybe he's rockin' some finer ice these days....dunno.

            chee!

            2 Replies
            1. re: fatstern

              the texture thing is tricky. some people strongly prefer the grainier ice, more 'traditional' asian style. to me thats not shave ice, the ultra smooth texture like at waiola is what makes hawaii's shave ice unique, but it is anything but a unanimous opinion.

              1. re: KaimukiMan

                Count me in as one who likes the more traditional type of shave ice (although I don't like it when it's like mini cubes of ice---the Zoo used have a machine like that). I find that Waiola can be so smooth it veers into icee/slurpee territory, which I don't care for.