Hawaii’s most iconic snack is shave ice. It is also known around the country as shaved ice or a snow cone. In Hawaii we dropped the “D” in shaved ice and just call it shave ice. The texture of shave ice makes it unique; it’s not crushed ice. The treat is literally shaved from a giant ice chunk. The flavors poured on top don’t just fall to the bottom– they get absorbed by the ice. In Hawaii we eat our shave ice with an actual scoop of ice cream on the bottom (it’s amazing) and we top it off with a snow cap, sweetened condensed milk. Trust us; you haven’t experienced Hawaii unless you have one of these tasty treats on a hot day.
Lin’s Hawaiian Snacks
Lin’s Hawaiian Snacks has been selling their famous shave ice for 30 years. The family run business started at the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet. To this day, you can still find them at the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. You can visit Lin’s Hawaiian Snacks on the Waikiki Trolley. The Purple Line stops conveniently at the Swap Meet.
In 2013, Lin’s moved in to actual shop located at Ward Center. The Ward location is along the Waikiki Trolley’s Red Line at the Ward Center stop. Lin’s shave ice is special because they make their own li hing mui in a liquid concentrate and a powder. Li hing is made from plums and is sweet, sour, and salty all at the same time. We suggest the li hing pineapple. It’s their most popular flavor!
Besides having yummy shave ice, they are a crack seed store. A crack seed store is very similar to a soda jerk, candy store, or pharmacy. Crack seed is dried fruit, and at Lin’s, it usually features their homemade li hing. They boast 10 different flavors of dried ginger, along with other treats.
Monsarrat Shave Ice
Monsarrat Shave Ice is a cute shave ice store attached to Pioneer Saloon. They focus on natural shave ice and local Hawaiian Fruit like pineapple, mango, and guava. The location is right on the Green Line at the Monsarrat stop.
Uniquely, Monsarrat Shave Ice’s syrup is more like a puree. They layer the puree and the fluffy shave ice to create a one of a kind shave ice experience. Top your shave ice with condensed milk, azuki bean, mochi balls, or kuromitsu (brown sugar) or our personal favorite, vanilla ice cream.
Uncle Clay’s House of Pure Aloha
Having a long name just adds to the joy of Uncle Clay’s House of Pure Aloha or HOPA for short. There is actually an Uncle Clay; he is frequently in his shops and makes the experience extra special. Uncle Clay’s sole focus is sharing the ohana philosophy. He treats everyone like family. HOPA is the highest rated place on Yelp in Hawaii and has been for the past few years. They are known for two things: natural shave ice in Oahu and ohana.
Shave ice at HOPA is made with all-natural ingredients and only local products. The syrups are blended in house with pure local cane sugar. Mochi, a popular topping made from rice, is homemade daily. Your shave ice will have a bottom layer of ice topped with your flavor choice, a scoop of ice cream if you so choose and topped with a final layer of ice and flavoring.
VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE!
Each shave ice is as unique as the store that serves it. We challenge you to find the best Shave Ice on the island of Oahu. Waikiki Trolley has narrowed it down to our top three favorite shave ice, vote here to let us know which one is your favorite.