Summer. is. HERE. Not only does the Calendar point it out (June already! Where did all the time go?) but the heat definitely does. May in Hawaii was kind of rainy but June has been HOT HOT HOT.
The quick and easy fix? There’s only ONE answer and thats shave ice.
Here’s my trusty list of the good ol’ tried and true masters of Shave Ice. Waiola’s and Matsumoto’s will always hold a special place in my heart but sometimes, its nice to try something new, don’t you think? (click the link to go to each business’ Yelp page)
I normally run down Monsarrat on my regular route and I didn’t know this place existed until I saw a bunch of trendy local kids walking out with beautiful cups of ice and fruit toppings.
Monsarrat Ave Shave Ice is THE hidden gem of gourmet shave ice shops. The syrups here are unique (YUZU!!! I love Yuzu) and the flavors are amazingly fresh without being cloyingly sweet. They give real fruit toppings and the ice is among the finest that you’ll ever fine.
No cups here—the shave ice is served in clear plastic cups. But don’t worry, you won’t miss them one bit.Monsarrat Ave Shave Ice
3046 Monsarrat Ave
Honolulu, HI 96815
HOMEMADE SYRUP! Aliana Shave Ice is home to syrup in flavors that you’ve probably never tried. POG*? Papaya? Haupia? Aliana’s has it. Popular flavor combos include Strawberry Milk (so fresh, you can see the strawberry seeds. Tastes like Japanese Hi-Chew candy) and Choco-lover.
The ice is super fine but it’s not that densely packed—which is why its served in a cup, not the traditional cone. The staff is very friendly and there are places to sit outside to enjoy your treat.
Also–Aliana is located within walking distance of Ala Moana Center. If you’re in need of a sweet pick-me-up after a long day of walking, Aliana Shave Ice is the place that you’re looking for!Aliana Shave Ice
1430 Kona St
Honolulu, HI 96814
Actually, Uncle Clay’s has been around FOREVER. People never seem to mention it, when they bring up the Shave Ice Giants of Oahu, so I just had to include it in my Take 2 list. It’d be a shame not too!
But anyway—Uncle Clay’s is your go-to stop after you’re mastered the steps of Koko Head. After hours of never-ending stairmaster in the blazing hot sun, you definitely need something to cool you off.
The syrups here are all-natural and are mostly made with local ingredients (heard the green tea/Matcha used in the syrup is imported from Japan!). Everything tastes amazingly, refreshingly, FRESH. The ice is exceptionally fine (they use an old-school crank machine) and again—it’s served in a bowl, not a cone.
The only thing to mention is that Uncle Clay is super, duper, extremely nice….but perhaps a little bit too much so. I’ve heard stories about him insisting on feeding you and introducing you to every last cousin and kalabash cousin who works in the store….which takes so long that your shave ice has melted into a puddle.
Uncle Clay’s House of Pure Aloha
820 W Hind Dr
Honolulu, HI 96821
Jung’s in a nutshell. Super fine ice, super tasty flavors, and super cheap price!
Jung’s Shave Ice is located on S. King Street. Most locals have seen it but have never stopped to try this place (I was one of them until recently. GAME CHANGER!!!).
The menu/variety is simple but the cost is amazing. Your shave ice will most likely run you under $3. Yes. $3. Maybe $2.50. And don’t worry—you’re not getting skimped on the quality either. They’re generous with the syrup and it’s not too sweet.
Jung Shave Ice is definitely a place to try if you’re in town and not willing to trek it all the way to Shimazu’s. Just remember—it’s also a Mom and Pop store so the hours are slightly limited!
Jung Shave Ice
1738 S King St
Honolulu, HI 96814
Okay. So this last one….is a hybrid. Samurai serves a unique….fro-yo/shave ice dessert. It’s been popular with the locals for ages—but only as the old school, already frozen, supermarket treat. Fresh Samurai Fro-yo/Shave Ice is new for us!
Parking can be a little tight at this location but it is totally worth it to try this one of a kind dessert. The portion sizes are HUGE and the texture is really unique. The flavors are a cross between sorbet/sherbert and ice cream but watch out—-some of the “fruity” flavors can be really (perhaps a bit too) sweet. Popular flavors include strawberry and vanilla (the red and blue one) and chocolate and haupia.Samurai
738 Umi St
Honolulu, HI 96819
And there you have it! Perhaps this should have been called the ‘no cone’ list—I didn’t realize until now that all 5 of my Take 2 pick Shave Ice shops serve their tasty frozen treats in cups/bowls, not cones. I kind of prefer it that way—its easier to eat and its neater….but there’s nothing that says ‘summer’ quite like eating a giant mound of shave ice in a cone, after a long beach day…am I right? Enjoy!