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ISO Hawaiian SHAVE ICE

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  • ipse dixit Jun 15, 2006 01:28 PM
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Is there anywhere in SoCal that's got a good facsimile of Hawaiian Shave Ice? Preferrably with good ice cream, azuki beans, lots of good syrup choices and properly shaved ice that is powdery in texture (as opposed to the granular kind found in sno-cones).

I'm not talking about the Taiwanese shaved ice you can find at places like Shau Mei and what not. Those are good, but different (for one, they are served on a plate).

I want mine on a cone, with a vanilla ice cream base, some azuki beans, topped with a nice mound of shave ice and then drizzled with rainbow syrup.

If you've ever been to Masumoto (north shore of Oahu) or Wailoa in Honolulu, you'll know what I am talking about despite my very poor description.

Any leads?

Thanks as always.

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  1. Forget it...doesn't exist here and I've been looking around LA area for years and been to all the Hawaiian festivals and places. Most places use the electric ice grinder which don't give you the "shaved" ice texture.

    #1 thing about Matsumoto's is they make their own syrups from scratch using real fruits and sugar. Most syrups these days are made from artificial flavorings and cheap corn syrup sweetener.

    (pictured rainbow snow cone with ice cream $1.95)

    Image: http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/10...

    12 Replies
    1. re: K

      Most places sell shave ice as a secondary item and that's why you'll never find the kind they serve like Matsumoto's here.

      There's an art to making the shave ice. Besides the machine, part of it is preparing the ice. The ice is "tempered" which means its left out so it isn't rock hard when they "shave" it-- its a snowy-slushy texture. Who knows....maybe its the water in Hawaii too.

      1. re: K

        Thanks K.

        Yeah, it's not just the blades and shaving aparatus, I think the way the ice block is formed is different in Hawaii ... maybe something with the high humidity and temp? Or like you say ... maybe it's the water. Sort of like how NY Pizza is just 'different' ...

        1. re: ipse dixit

          Hawaii water is very soft, too, being I think 100% rainwater, and no limestone in the geology anyway, while our water is rock hard. I don't know if that has anything to do with it at all, but I wouldn't be surprised. I have noticed that the ice in my trays here is a lot more brittle than the stuff I made in Tennessee.

        2. re: K

          I don't know about that. I think I recall, at Waiola, that they just pull the ice blocks out of the freezer and put them into the machine.

          1. re: sku

            Ya, ice is hard. If you leave it out it melts -- water. I have been to Matsumoto's and also had a a true shave ice at Navy Pier, Chicago. The blade is what "shaves" the ice. See the link below. I saw these machines at Matsumoto's and Chicago. The water is not an issue. The amount of syrups used drown the water anyway. If you do not see the right machine you will not see shave ice because it is the snow flake texture of the shave ice that will sponge-up the syrup to create the taste/texture sensation. A snow cone has larger chunks of ice and therefore does not come colse to sponging the syrup until you get to the bottom of the cone -- a melted slush. Maybe then the quest for LA shave ice is to find a place with the right machine. Has anyone seen these machines in LA?

            http://www.1800shavedice.com/c-hc-500...

        3. re: K

          That cone brings back some happy childhood memories!

          1. re: K

            That looks so good. PBS had this special called The Ice Cream Show, where they went around the country to places that sold ice cream and different frozen desserts. They hit up Matsumotos and I've always wanted to try one after seeing that. With ice cream on the bottom, of course.

            I remember seeing Shave Ice on the menu at the Local Place in Torrance. They also had ice cream as an option but I don't recall if they had the azuki beans as well. I highly doubt they make their own syrups.

            1. re: melonbar

              Yeah, home-made syrups are key! There was a place I went to a number of times (can't remember the name, but it was 6 or so blocks down the street from Leonard's malasadas in Honolulu) that had great home made syrups. The litchi was divine but the stand out was the li hing mui with small bits of the li hing plum that would end up embedded in the ice. Yummm.

              1. re: L

                Waiola Shave Ice...same kind of shave ice texture ass Matsumoto's.

                1. re: K

                  I know this is an old discussion but was reading this and you are so right that is Waiola Shave Ice. I love that place. I wish in Los Angeles there was one of these. I like it better than Matsumoto's though.

                2. re: L

                  In my frequent visits to Oahu, I have come upon a few places that aI consider the best for Shave Ice:

                  Tropicana is the place you are probably thinking of near Leonard's. It is my favorite, and a little better than Waiola and really better than Matsumoto's. If the the Shave Ice doesnt' remind you of a lighter textured sorbet, it is not that good. That's what makes Tropicana and Waiola the best.

                  I haven't found anything close to that quality here in LA, but I welcome suggestions and recommendations.

              2. re: K

                No, they exist. Try Get Shaved.

              3. The one place I know of is in Simi Valley and it's called Tutu's Hawaiian Ice Cream Shack. They sell authentic shaved ice with all the fixin's.

                4332 Cochran Street, Simi Valley - 805-522-6922
                http://www.tutushawaiianicecreamshack...

                1. I know it's not exactly what you're looking for, but there is a lunch counter place in the Little Tokyo plaza in downtown LA ... across from the fountain ... serves ice that is actually shaved. I definitely don't recall them having vanilla ice cream as a base, and I get the feeling their syrups are not homemade. BUT they have the beans, because they make desserts with them. Maybe you could ask them to mix them together? Worth a shot if you are in the area ...

                  1. I sure haven't been able to find it in So. Cal. Even made a trip to the Lappert's in Hermosa Beach, but they just serve regular snow cones which are completely unremarkable and have nothing to do with real shave ice.

                    Also not shave ice, but good anyway (in contrast to the Hermosa Lappert's) is Raspados Zacatecas (422 N. Ford Blvd., (323) 264-7651). This place makes Mexican crushed ice, so the ice doesn't have the powdery/slushy quality of shave ice, but, they make their own homemade syrups (pineapple, mango, strawberry, peach, watermelon, etc.) with chunks of cooked fruit pulp suspended in them. Best fruit syrups I've had, actually. (Now if you could combine RZ's syrups with real shave ice, you'd really have something.)

                    1. The only place I know of that has Hawaiian-inspired shave ice is Teri Hawaii in Gardena. The have a decent selection of syrups, though not an extensive list. They have lilikoi - so its not you generic 5 flavor snow cone options. You can get ice cream in the bottom. I don't remember if they have azuki beans or not. My inclination is that the do not. It is NOT Matusmoto quality, but the ice was actually shaved last time I was there. It is comparable quality to shave ice you would get while walking around Waikiki, ok/good for Hawaii - great (due to no other options) if you are in LA.

                      Teri Hawaii
                      1425 W. Artesia Blvd. #34 Gardena, CA 90248
                      Phone (310) 327-030

                      The food there does not impress me. Fortunately, Gardena has an abundance of Hawaiian places. I recommend Bob's Okazu-Ya on Vermont or Bruddah's on Gardena Blvd, both 5 minutes from Teri Hawaii. Get a lunch then head over to Teri for dessert.

                      Bob's Okazu-ya
                      16814 S Vermont Ave
                      Gardena, CA 90247
                      (310) 515-2250

                      Bruddah's
                      1033 W Gardena Blvd, Gardena, CA 90247-4957
                      310-323-9112

                      Two more notes, they have a to-go option. I believe they similar containers, but the people who do not get it to go have shave ice that resembes K's picture. The to go order is packed, and a lid is put on it. The packing increases the spead of the ice melting and refreezing in little chunks, so do not get it to go.

                      Note 2: They sell island CD's there, so if your old IZ cd is scratched, you can always pick up a new one. :-)

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: ek

                        Thank god someone finally mentioned Teri Hawaii. Ipse, go here and ignore all previous comments. :)

                        Personally, I haven't scoured L.A. in search of better shave ice, but Teri Hawaii is probably the best I've run into thus far. This is a spot that I've been frequenting since the 80's.

                        In addition, I think it's a bit ridiculous to compare it to Matsumoto's. Shave ice is really so simple, that there are really only three ingredients that can make or break it: 1) fineness of ice, 2) syrup quality, and 3) ice cream/azuki quality. For example, I've had great ice with crappy syrup, horrible ice with great syrup, syrup with a bad aftertaste, lame ice cream, etc. This is more of a simple treat than a delicacy, so once a shop nails these three items, then you have good shave ice. I think comparisons are better justified when the food is more complex.

                        Lastly, IMO, Teri Hawaii...Matsumoto's...(and Waiola)...same stuff. BUT...I would pick Teri Hawaii over Matsumoto's because they serve their ice in a nice-sized cup, unlike Matsumoto's which serves their ice in that ridiculous paper cone=major spillage on a hot day. :)

                        1. re: Mike Q

                          After posting my report, I gave myself the craving for some shave ice. Actually, with the hot weather, I already had the craving.

                          Got a stawberry, lilikoi, pineapple shave ice with ice cream.

                          I had remembered incorrectly, they do have azuki beans available! Double bonus for next visit.

                          1. re: Mike Q

                            Ah, you don't get it. Eating a towering shave ice without spillage (and without that stupid plastic holder they automatically hand you) is the sign of an expert shave ice eater. It's a set of skills that has to be developed from years of eating tall, perfectly packed but feathery cones of ice on blazingly hot days.

                          2. re: ek

                            We went to Gardena today looking for shave ice. Sakuraya said they don't have any :-( , but the nice girl working there said go to Teri's, like you said. :-)

                            Picked out pineapple and lilikoi syrups, plus beans and ice cream-$3.25. Very nice soft ice texture-well saturated with syrup, although my husband said he likes it even snowier/fluffier. I thought it was super, especially at the bottom where the creamy and fruity flavors mixed together.

                            Thanks guys, it really hit the spot!

                            Image: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v22...

                          3. There used to be a shave ice palce at the canoga park Valley Indoor Swap Meet that was passable

                            1. I've never had Hawaiian ice in Hawaii, but what you're describing sounds a lot like the Korean ice available at places like Guppie's in Cerritos or Mr. Coffee in Koreatown.

                              Big bowl (sorry, not a cone), either green tea or vanilla ice cream, soft cooked adzuki beans, plenty of shaved ice, a drizzling of multiple flavored syrups, and a handful of Fruity Pebbles. I'm sure you can ask them to hold off on the cereal, but they're colorful and fun.

                              The downside I can already tell you is that the ice might not be the right texture (I can't remember, but it seems like they use the same machine as the Chinese shaved ice places you mentioned), and the syrups were colorful and tasty enough but nothing special.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: nooodles

                                I've been to the K-town places for shaved ice, and like you say, these creations are like the ones you find at Taiwanese places. Good, but different.

                                1. re: nooodles

                                  Guppies in Cerritos is Chinese and is not even real Chinese shaved ice. There are not enough choices for it to be considered in that ranking. But they do make huge, and I mean huge, shaved ice mountains that the young kids have fun digging into.

                                2. Aloha Food Factory has Hawaiian Shaved Ice with Azuki Beans and Ice Cream on its menu.

                                  Ipse Dixit just posted a positive reviewe of Aloha Food Factory's food a few days ago on Chowhound.

                                  Aloha Food Factory
                                  2990 W. Valley Blvd.
                                  Alhambra
                                  (626) 308-0215

                                  Link: http://alohafoodfactory.com/pages/1/i...

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: Norm

                                    My bad, didn't realize that Ipse Dixit was the Original Poster of this thread.

                                    Ipse Dixit, did you try the Hawaiian Shaved Ice at Aloha Food factory?

                                    1. re: Norm

                                      I did ... it was typical shave ice you find in most Hawaiin places in the states.

                                    2. re: Norm

                                      While I like the food at Aloha Food Factory, not so their ice. They use a ice cube machine. You can't get the fine ice in a cube machine.
                                      I just got back from Hawaii and for sure I went to Waiola. The memory is fresh in my mnd :-) It just reaffirmed, nothing out here, the okazuyas, the trucks, the Taiwanese, Korean or Japanese places and not many places in Hawaii can shave the ice like Wailoa. I don't know of many or any other places that double freezes their ice to the right temperature. (Yes, ice can be too cold).
                                      You can buy the syrups or you can make your own etc, but what sets apart Wailoa is the fine shave. And I don't like shave ice in styrofoam. It makes the ice clumpy because it stays too cold.
                                      Also to me, though you get leakage, that is why paper cups or cones work the best. What is the point of finely shaved ice, if it clumps in your vessel of choice?

                                    3. L&L Hawaiian Barbecue, many locations in L.A. area, see website. You can get it with ice cream, but they don't have azuki beans (shucks).

                                      Link: http://www.hawaiianbarbecue.com/

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Carol

                                        one word....."YUCK!!"

                                      2. have you scoped around Carson? A hawai'ian expat i know went down there to buy da hawai'i kine guava cake (ribbon? chiffon? what do i know) for a party and i think they serve a large expat community down there.

                                        just a thought.

                                        a quick search through public health.org leads a few places -
                                        miki-chan's okazu-ya in montebello, maybe
                                        LEE'S MAUI HAWAIIAN BBQ
                                        9230 LAKEWOOD BLVD
                                        90240
                                        DOWNEY ?

                                        maybe king's hawaiian bakery in torrance? just doing a search on the public health.org site with hawai gives me 75 results. maybe one will be ok.

                                        1. g
                                          Gohantabeyoka

                                          Fugetsudo and Mikawaya in J-Town and Sakuraya in Gardena have the snowy consistency you are looking for, ID.
                                          Their ices are available in azuki, uji-cha, sweet condensed milk and/or a rainbow of colors.
                                          Corean and Chinese ice is a little too chunky for me.
                                          Gohantabeyoka
                                          aka The Koori Kid

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Gohantabeyoka

                                            I'm going to step in and defend Taiwan, just because there are so many Taiwanese shaved ice places in LA that people assume they're doing it right and that people just like the chunkier ice. I haven't had shaved ice in Hawaii, but in Taiwan the ice is a lot lighter and fluffier than I've had here. Perhaps it really is something about the water in those more tropical climes.

                                          2. On the south/west corner of Harbor & Orangethorpe in Fullerton, there's a Maui BBQ that serves shave ice w/ice cream & azuki. They have a selection of approx 8 flavours.

                                            I make my own shave ice w/sweetened evaporated milk & azuki beans.... mmmmm.

                                            1. There is a Japanese/Hawaiian restaurant in Montery Park called Shakas. Serves a good version of Shaved Ice in a cup. Selection of syrup is huge but unfortunately they are all artificial. For extra they add the scope of vanilla. Can't remember the brand of ice cream they use but it is very good. Not sure if they can put the azuki beans on it, but somehow that does sound familiar. Lots of locals frequent the place for their food. Got the usuall spam with this and spam with that combos. I hear that the food is very good, but haven't tried any.

                                              Shakas (5 min past Downtown L.A.)
                                              Corner of Garfield and Riggins in Montery Park.
                                              60 frwy east
                                              Exit Garfield Ave. off ramp
                                              turn left at Garfield
                                              about 1/4 mile on right hand side in a strip mall. If you pass the motel you've gone too far.

                                              My opinion, way better than any Raspada I've ever had! As soon as the Temp. hits 90 plus, I'm THERE!
                                              Oh yeah, there servings are huge if you get it without the lid. I'm talkin soft ball size ball of ice!

                                              5 Replies
                                              1. re: nrique

                                                You have to go to the Shakas in Alhambra on 1st and Main. They took the good machine over there and left the not so good machine at the one on Garfield. The other trick is to tell the girls not to pack the shave ice too tight or else the top is ok and the bottom is hard. At Waiola Market, they don't smash the ice when they mold it so it retains the lightness.
                                                Aloha Cafe on Atlantic has an ok one too, though the flavors are a little more pedestrian.

                                                1. re: mpron

                                                  When did they open the one on 1st and Main?
                                                  I'm sure it's just a matter of the NEW location having the NEW equipment. I guess they need to service the old machines to bring them up to the same level.
                                                  I ALWAYS make sure they don't PACK it.

                                                  1. re: nrique

                                                    Yes, Shaka's is definitely the best around here. They serve it with ice cream, azuki beans and sweetened condensed milk. Their place in Cerritos served huge portions but they closed down several months ago.

                                                    Mikawaya also serves a pretty good shave ice in J town, but they're better known for their mochi and mochi ice cream.

                                                2. re: nrique

                                                  Go to the Shakas on Main and 1st in Alhambra. They took the better shave ice machine over there. The one on Garfield is grainier. I think too a lot of times these places pack the ice too much too so it loses the fluffy texture. I guess too because they want to make them so big. The ones at Waiola are a good size, but not monstrous like some places over here. Waiola also doubel freezes their ice to make them more dense. Also if the ice is too cold, it chips instead of shave so you get chunks. A good shave ice should not crunch at all. In fact, you should not even get the urge to chew, it should just melt in your mouth as soon as you slop it in there.

                                                  1. re: nrique

                                                    I want to revisit this old post by ipsedixit regarding shave ice in LA. Yes tt really does exist at Shakas, and from first hand experience, I consider the shave ice at Shakes in Alhambra as good as the best ones on Oahu. The ice is so finely shaved, it floats down. Even when the shaving is packed a bit, it still is very fine and delicate as the ice I find at Wiola or Tropicana in Honolulu.

                                                  2. Try:
                                                    T N T's Aloha Cafe
                                                    24032 Vista Montana, Torrance, CA 90505
                                                    (310) 375-4553
                                                    A little hard to find (PCH & Anza)
                                                    But REAL shave ice with Ice cream, asuki & condensed milk!
                                                    Lots of other flavors
                                                    Comes in styrofoam but doesn't leak or melt so fast.
                                                    Good "Local" food

                                                    Second best:
                                                    Three Brothers Restaurant
                                                    23722 Western Ave, Harbor City, CA 90710
                                                    (310) 326-3843
                                                    Between Sepulveda & Lomita near Narbonne HS
                                                    Good Friday night specials!

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: akimtn

                                                      Followup: Their old Shave Ice machine broke and the new one is not as fluffy but better than "SnoCone" machines that grind or grate ice cubes. Still the "go-to" place in So. Torrance/West Palos Verdes/Hollywood Riviera for Shave Ice. Try their pancakes or hand made "portagee" sausage or Loco Moco (best fried eggs).

                                                      -----
                                                      TNT's Aloha Cafe
                                                      24032 Vista Montana, Torrance, CA 90505

                                                    2. I was driving west on Washington Boulevard in Culver City/Mar Vista last weekend and drove past a tiny store (around Outdoor Grill - sorry for being so vague) with a "straw hut" setup. On the glassfront, it said Hawaiian Shave Ice.

                                                      Again, sorry for being so vague with the location. And I was driving too fast to catch a name :)

                                                      1. Went searching for good shave ice (no "d" in "shave") in the Gardena/Torrance area. Tried The Local Place and Teri Hawaii.

                                                        The Local Place was little more than a sno cone. Crunchy and not very much syrup.

                                                        Teri Hawaii has been written up a bit on this site, so I tried there. My GF had a tropical with ice cream, while I had a plain with lilikoi. Interestingly enough, my plain lilikoi was very smooth, almost like what I've had at Waiola. But the GF's was a bit crunchy. Still, I would probably go back to Teri for a shave ice fix. Luckily for me, I'm headed to Oahu in June and will get a real shave ice fix then. Tropicana's then Waiola and maybe Matsumoto's.

                                                        4 Replies
                                                        1. re: Ogawak

                                                          Probably Rutt's Cafe in between Inglewood Ave. and Centinela on the south side of Washington Blvd.

                                                          1. re: tony michaels

                                                            If you folks will kindly indulge me....I was in the Mateo's on Sepulveda getting my weekly ration of paletas. I noticed the "fruit of cactus" (pitaya) in a tub in the freezer along with the other flavors they had in stock. I was intrigued and decided to try it. Very interesting texture. Coarser than a sorbet, but finer than than a snow cone. It was red and not too sweet. A very interesting alternative. The little gal behind the counter said she favored the passion fruit and also gave a sample of the mango too. They were much finer in texture than the pitaya. If any of you go into a Mexican ice cream/paleta place you might check it out. I believe Mateo's has 4 locations in southern California.

                                                            1. re: Feed_me

                                                              Thanks for the tip re Pitaya. I i will be sure to try it sometime. I think I will like he flavors you mentioned. The problem is, if it's "coarser than sorbet", then it's not as fine as the shave ice we have found in Hawaii.

                                                            2. re: tony michaels

                                                              We like Rutts very much but their shave ice is nothing to shout about: it will do in a pinch but it's quite crunchy and the flavors are just OK. PayOrPlay Jr. likes it fine, but I suspect he may re-evaluate after we take him to Hawaii in June and he gets to try the real thing, As many others have commented, in LA one is probably better off forgetting about the Hawaiian style (not to mention the New Orleans style sno-ball, also impossible to find around here) and instead going with one of the other style crushed ice desserts that you CAN find around here, especially Korean bingsoo (we had an excellent one last weekend at Mr. Coffee on Western & 6th, and we love the Galleria Cafe's elegant mango bingsoo), Taiwanese slush, and Japanese (we had an enormous, tasty red bean version at Mikawaya a few weeks ago, but it sure could have used some condensed milk!)

                                                              Haven't tried Shaka's, though, will have to give it a whirl.

                                                          2. i have it for you!! i have been to hawaii many times and love matsumotos there is a place in monterey park called Shakas which has the best hawaiian shave ice just like hawaii. it is one block north on garfield ave from the 60 frwy. exit garfield north one block up on the right side.. you will love it......

                                                            1. I have been to Masumoto on the North Shore and ever since have been trying to find that hawaiian ice here in Georgia. Any suggestions, anyone?

                                                              1. You're gonna find a lot at the big Hawaiian Festival this coming weekend (July 21-22) at Alondra Park in Lakewood).

                                                                1. Mikawaya in the Japanese Village Plaza

                                                                  1. I guess the debate continues...
                                                                    The water in Hawaii is pure artesian which bubbles up from the ground. This may contribute to the fine texture of shave ice since it's probably much softer than the mainland. I remember in the old days when typical shave ice was only sold in small family-run delicatessens for 15 cents. There were no large fast foods markets back then. Many of them used the Malolo brand syrups which still can be found at Marukai and other specialty stores on the mainland. For me, I believe syrup taste as well as fine texture makes a good shave ice. With coarse ice you get a snow cone. With too fine ice, you get a slush. Proper shave ice lies in-between.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: Clinton

                                                                      Concur.

                                                                      Also, you should try the "snow flake" at 85 Degrees Celsius, a Taiwanese tea house in SGV. The texture is like (what else?) ... snow!

                                                                      85 Degrees C Tea House
                                                                      425 West Valley Blvd
                                                                      San Gabriel
                                                                      626-282-8688

                                                                    2. I joined Chow hound just to reply to this.

                                                                      Try Get Shaved!
                                                                      They have shops in Northridge/Torrance, as well as traveling trucks.
                                                                      It's as closest as I've had to real shave ice here on the mainland. I think they have the same machines, so the ice is pretty close, although I'm sure the difference in water counts for the difference in ice. They have all the Hawaiian flavors such as lilikoi and li hing mui, toppings like azuki beans and li hing mui powder and ice creams. Check it out.

                                                                      San Fernando Valley
                                                                      9255 Reseda Blvd, Unit B
                                                                      Northridge, CA 91324
                                                                      818-399-5133

                                                                      South Bay
                                                                      1790 W. Carson St, Unit B
                                                                      Torrance, CA 90501
                                                                      310-293-2523

                                                                      14 Replies
                                                                      1. re: czarinakaye

                                                                        +1 on Get Shaved - Good ice! I went on Sunday Night to the Carson location and it was busy w/ alot of Hawaiian transplants so that was a good sign. I got cherry, melona and tigers blood (lol) - perfect weather for it too. My fav is Waiola, so this is the closest I found here - similar blue/white machines.

                                                                        1. re: czarinakaye

                                                                          Old post that just keeps going. I concur about Get Shaved. I've tried Brian's on Sawtelle, and GS is consistently better, tho Brian's is very good. The new places seem much superior to the old standbys like Shakas and Teri Hawaii.

                                                                          Also for those who travel to Oahu, Waiola, my old favorite, is also being superceded by newcomers like Shimazu Store, Ailana and Mountain Magic. Fine shaving and superior syrup and toppings makes the shave ice scene on Oahu outstanding. North Shore offerings Matsumoto's and Aoki's really don't hold a candle to these places.

                                                                          1. re: Ogawak

                                                                            Hi, Ogawak.

                                                                            I like Brian's on Sawtelle. I have not yet tried Get Shaved.
                                                                            How is Get Shaved "consistently better?" Is it their syrups or the texture of the ice or the flavors? Is it something else?

                                                                            1. re: liu

                                                                              Hi, Liu:

                                                                              My idea of good shave ice is first the quality of the ice; fine shaving where you taste no bits of ice. GS has been better than Brian's on this count. The syrups for both seem similar, so I don't see either one winning here. GS has consistently provided plenty of syrup so that your last bite is fully flavored. Brian's has sometimes skimped on syrup

                                                                              .I know it's only shave ice, but as someone who lived in Hawaii for a time and goes back every year, it's a passion for me. I'm happy with either one, and I have no reason not to go to Brian's when I'm in the area.

                                                                              1. re: Ogawak

                                                                                Well, Ogawak, this is exactly how I like my shave ice! I have been to Brian's twice and found them to serve consistently fine powder. If there were a couple of icy nuggets, I was probably so happy that I didn't notice!

                                                                                Also, I have not had a problem with wanting more syrup...and would not hesitate to ask for another squirt, as desired.

                                                                                With your recommendation, Ogawak, I look forward to trying Get Shaved...soon!

                                                                                While I, too, am enamored by this entire shave ice craze -- and it is the shave ice that I much prefer over the shaved ice cream block -- I do wish there were a truer syrup...something more real without all the blazing colors and the artificial flavorings. Oh, the seven-year-old comes out in me when I see the rainbow of colors, but I never feel quite "right" in the tummy after I consume so much of these syrups. I'm thinking of something like a pure berry juice with a little sugar...that might appeal to me more.

                                                                                1. re: Ogawak

                                                                                  I too think it is the ice. Most places here are too gritty compared to the ice at like say Waiola (the one on Waiola not the one with the bakery). Also that they don't pack it too tight to form clumps and no styrofoam. Good syrups can be bought, but when you get good home made, dat's da kine.
                                                                                  People like Shimazu Marlet in Hawaii, but I think a lot of their hype is huge shave ice. I prefer quality over quantity.

                                                                                  1. re: mpron

                                                                                    mpron, you make a good point.

                                                                                    The packing is critical. I like it when it is so light and fluffy that there is no effort needed to spoon it.

                                                                                    I have seen them pack the ice down to create the desired shape...oh, NO! I want my snow as it falls, before it gets trampled!

                                                                                    1. re: liu

                                                                                      Sounds strange to talk so much about shave ice, but yes, with a good shave, you should almost get a little effervescence where it almost appears some of the ice is floating up. Hahaha!!
                                                                                      Also a good alternative is Italian ice. It is some good stuff usually mixed with real fruit. Try Joe's Italian ice on Harbor near Disneyland. Totally different texture, but good stuff.

                                                                                      1. re: mpron

                                                                                        "Sounds strange to talk so much about shave ice..."

                                                                                        Agreed, mpron, but with our triple-digit heat these past few weeks here in SoCal, it has been the perfect way to cool down!

                                                                                    2. re: mpron

                                                                                      Hi, Mpron:

                                                                                      As much as I have enjoyed how shave ice has gotten better here, I really enjoy the syrups and toppings of some of the places in Oahu.

                                                                                      Shimazu actually is popular, not so much for the size of the cone, but for the homemade syrups they concoct, like melon creme, Georgia peach and key lime. Their ice is very fine, tho Waiola's is a bit finer. My issue with Waiola is their lack of syrup even when you ask for more. Plus they just have standard syrups.

                                                                                      Also Ailana near Ala Moana Shop Ctr serves toppings made from whole fruit. It has the syrup consistency; It's just all fruit and no extra sugar.

                                                                                      I hope the next step for shave ice here is the homemade syrups as mentioned above.

                                                                                      1. re: Ogawak

                                                                                        Homemade syrups...yea!
                                                                                        But let's go easy on the sugar...let us taste the natural sweetness of the fruits!

                                                                                        1. re: Ogawak

                                                                                          Gonna have to try Ailana next time I go. Usually don't care much for stuff in malls and like the little mom and pop stands. Only problem I see with Shimazu is parking or lack of :-)

                                                                                          1. re: mpron

                                                                                            Hope you do try Ailana: I'm curious what you think. BTW Ailana is in a mini-mall across the street and north of Ala Moana Shop Ctr with lots of parking. The owner and his wife are great people who spent a lot of years in LA.

                                                                                            Agree about the parking at Shimazu.

                                                                                            1. re: Ogawak

                                                                                              I don't know when I will be back. As I grow older, I become more forgetful, but... there are certain things I can retain :-)

                                                                              2. Mikawaya in J-town and Hanaichimonme also does shave ice. Hana is a ramen shop, but when I ate there recently they had a specific menu just for shaved ice. I'm a bit of a snob - I only eat shaved ice from a Japanese owned place. Mikawaya also makes excellent ice cream and traditional Japanese pastries.

                                                                                -----
                                                                                Mikawaya
                                                                                118 Japanese Village Plaza Mall, Los Angeles, CA 90012

                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                1. re: meg3325

                                                                                  Hi, meg3325.
                                                                                  I had a shave ice from Mikawaya this past weekend; it was from the Mikawaya in the Woori Market mall.
                                                                                  While the serving lady was nice enough, the shave ice was just okay for me.

                                                                                  The ice itself was not uniform and fine enough for me, and the syrup was a little too sticky and sweet. Also, their flavors were limited; I think they had only about 6 or 8 flavors.

                                                                                  Perhaps the Mikawaya in the Japanese Village Plaza, the one that you have mentioned, is better.

                                                                                  1. re: liu

                                                                                    Mikawaya and Maruya were the first places I had shave ice back in the 60's when I used to go downtown for boy scout meetings. Maruya is no longer around. It is of general opinion that the old machines from Japan are the best. Given a good blade and bubble free ice that is not too cold, you could get a good shave ice. Alas, the original Mikawaya no longer exists either.

                                                                                2. There's a shave ice place opening near (maybe even next to?) Kiriko on Sawtelle. Think it's called "Brian's Shave Ice" or something like that. Was going to try it when I was in the area for a haircut, but it hasn't opened yet.

                                                                                  I work near the shave ice place in Northridge.... Maybe I should do a comparison test.... ;)

                                                                                  -----
                                                                                  Kiriko
                                                                                  11301 W Olympic Blvd Ste 102, Los Angeles, CA 90064

                                                                                  1. Everyone, look no further. The best Hawaiian Shave Ice in Los Angeles is Los Angeles Shave Ice. They shave block ice into a powdery snow. They got Mochi, azuki beans, ice cream, and of course sweetened condensed milk. The syrups are not to sweet and artificial like other places. The only problem is, is that you have to follow their truck to see where they will be. www.losangelesshaveice.com

                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: ao1234

                                                                                      Thanks for the info. Loved shaved ice. I'm Japanese American and it takes me back to my childhood. Not surprised the best shaved ice comes from Hawaii. Hawaii also has the best takuan.

                                                                                      1. re: ao1234

                                                                                        Thanks for the info. Just curious how does this truck stack up against Get Shaved and Brian's?

                                                                                        1. re: Ogawak

                                                                                          I had Los Angeles Shave Ice at their truck a couple of months ago. While it was good Get Shaved it still better. LASI didnt pour enough syrup so the bottom ice was dry. Also the syrups werent as full flavored. I am from Hawaii and am I shave ice fiend so I really know what I'm talking about :-)

                                                                                          1. re: dahulagirl

                                                                                            New (or new to me) shave ice place in Alhambra. Friend of mine sent me an email about Avalanche Shave Ice. He is from north shore and knows good ice and says the shave is good. BUT..... da twist to dis place..... you put on YOUR OWN syrup!! I don't know if it's great syrup or not, but he said they had a good selection of flavors.
                                                                                            I have not been there yet though.
                                                                                            I have a theory on the not enough syrup thing though. I have gone to Torrance Get Shaved and I have seen them put a bunch of syrup on, but when I ate it, it seemed like not enough. My thought is the styrofoam. It keeps the ice too cold and eventually clumpy and the syrup does not melt down into the bottom. It's the only thing I can think of as I have seen places pour a LOT of syrup and it seems like not enough.

                                                                                      2. If anyone is interested in reading up on the SnoWizard which is the first shave ice machine I believe. No, I'm not saying they invented shave ice, I believe it was the Japanese who came to Hawaii introduced it to the United States but they did it manually with their swords to shave the ice but I think the SnoWizard is the ones who made the actual first machine but now there are many machines.

                                                                                        1. GET SHAVED IN TORRANCE, CA. PRETTY CLOSE

                                                                                          1. Haven't tried it but I saw a new place today in the shopping center across from UCI (next to Blaze Pizza) called "Sno Flakez" that supposedly has Hawaiian-style shaved ice.