When one thinks of shave ice, the islands of Hawaii immediately come to mind. Shave ice was originally brought to Hawaii by Japanese immigrant workers, who would serve it as a refreshing treat on the sugar cane plantations and pineapple fields. When the Japanese eventually moved off the plantations, they opened family grocery stores and served shave ice, which became very popular. Cool off this summer by indulging in this tasty treat at the best shave ice spots throughout the islands.
Best Shave Ice On Each Hawaiian Island
This cute family-owned shop was established in 1951 and is located in the historic town of Hale’iwa on Oahu’s North Shore. People come from around the world to experience their specialty treat, and on a warm day the store produces over 1,000 shave ice. Their extensive menu offers a variety of flavors, including white cake, lychee, and pickled mango. Try their Tropical Combination (Lilikoi, guava, and papaya) or the Matsumoto’s original )lemon, pineapple, and coconut). They are also well known for their original t-shirts and other fun goods that they sell in the retail space.
Address: 66-111 Kamehameha Highway, Suite #605, Haleiwa, HI
Island Snow Hawaii
Located in the Kailua Beach Shopping Center, this unique business was founded in 1979 and combines a premium locally made clothing line with authentic Hawaiian shave ice. Now with two locations (including their flagship in Lanikai), more visitors can enjoy their tasty ice cream and syrup combinations with fun flavors like pineapple, guava, and bubblegum while they shop for the latest surf and skate apparel.
Address: 130 Kailua Rd #115, Kailua, HI
Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice
Hawaiian local Ululani opened her first shop in Lahaina, Maui in 2008, and her business has grown to multiple locations throughout Hawaii. They have perfected special recipes for all of their syrups using 100% pure cane sugar, premium purees, natural fruit juices and extracts, carefully selected concentrates and local ingredients. Their menu features over 60 unique flavors, including Thai Tee and Tiger’s Blood, and fun add-ons like Azuki red beans, hand-cut mocha pieces, and shredded toasted coconut. Popular combinations include their Haleakala (coconut topped with sweetened condensed cream) and the Sour Tart (sour apple and pink lemonade).
Address: 819 Front Street, Lahaina, HI
Local Boys Shave Ice
Established in 2003 by a father and son duo, Local Boys Shave Ice has expanded to two locations and has attracted many loyal customers who love the aloha spirit, not to mention the fact that they mix their own flavors. Shave ice comes in three fun sizes (Big Baby, Pretty Mama, and Papa Nui), and all they use pure Hawaiian Cane Sugar, filtered Hawaiian spring water, and premium shave ice flavors like Shark’s Blood and Cola. They also offer free extras for the finishing touch, include mocha balls, gummi bears, and licorice.
Address: 624 Front Street, Lahaina, Maui, HI
JoJo’s Shave Ice
This island-style self-serve stand specializes in traditional Hawaiian shave ice desserts, and recently opened a second location in Hanalei. The original JoJo’s opened in 1992 and remains there to this day with its original sign. Their special traditions and secret recipes with 60 combinations make their shave ice especially good. Shave ice flavors include Banana Colada and Green Paradise, and we suggest trying the Lilo & Stitch combination, which features red raspberry and blue raspberry. Bonus: if you rent from Kauai Motorcycle, take your receipt in to JoJo’s and get 50% off your shave ice order.
Address: 9734 Kaumualii Hwy, Waimea, HI
Original Big Island Shave Ice Co, Inc.
This family-run business dates back to 1957 when owner Reggie Ignacio’s mother served shave ice in West Hawai’i, eventually passing them down to her son. In 2014, he and his wife founded the Original Big Island Shave Ice Co, Inc. with their first shave ice truck, and still use his mother’s homemade natural syrup recipes combined with local-favorite toppings. Their menu features tasty ice cream flavors like Kona coffee, Haupia (coconut), vanilla mac-nut, and ube (sweet potato). Their syrup flavors range from cotton candy and green tea cream to coconut and pickled mango, and they also offer tasty pre-made combinations like their Lava Flow, which is flavored with coconut, mango, and natural strawberry.
Address: 61-3616 Kawaihae Road, Kawaihae, HI
Big Daddy’s Store & Restaurant
Located in the heart of laid-back of Kaunakakai Town, Big Daddy’s is the premium spot to get shave ice on the island. They make their own version of rainbow shave ice. They also serve up tasty local Hawaiian and Filipino dishes, along with Bento box lunches and Japanese food.
Address: 67 Ala Malama Avenue, Kaunakakai, HI
This article was written by Kamala Kirk.