Sweeten any sunny day in Hawaii with shave ice, an iconic dessert featuring ice shavings, rainbow-bright syrups and add-ons like ice cream, mochi, fresh fruit or li hing powder. You’ll be sure to beat the heat with this cool treat found across the Islands — these five shops are our favorites.
Matsumoto’s Shave Ice (Oahu)
66-111 Kamehameha Highway, Suite 605
Above: The Rainbow shave ice is always a crowd pleaser with a blend of strawberry, lemon, and pineapple syrups.
Learn about the colorful history of shave ice in Hawaii.Read More
This place is one of the most renowned shave ice joints in Hawaii.
When you think of shave ice, most people think of the iconic Matsumoto’s on Oahu’s North Shore in Haleiwa. Owner Stan Matsumoto took over the family business from his parents, Helen and Mamoru, who first opened Matsumoto’s as a general store in 1951. Today, it’s one of the most popular places to get shave ice in the Islands. There’s often a line of people out the door waiting to get a bowl of mounded, finely shaved ice, covered with rainbow-hued syrups. In fact, on a busy day the store sells more than 1,000 shave ice treats! You can choose up to three flavors for your bowl, and add extras such as ice cream, condensed milk, mochi and azuki beans. There are nearly 40 flavors, from the traditional ones such as strawberry, lemon, and pineapple to the fun flavors, like bubble gum, banana cream or green tea.
Uncle Clay’s House of Pure Aloha (Oahu)
Aina Haina Shopping Center, 820 W. Hind Drive, Suite 116
Above: Uncle Clay's refreshing syrups are made from fresh fruit.
This east Oahu place has a jovial namesake founder, Uncle Clay Chang.
It’s hard to visit this shave ice place and not leave smiling. Not only is the shave ice at Uncle Clay’s House of Pure Aloha refreshing and flavorful, but the co-owner, Clay Chang (affectionately known as Uncle Clay) is delightful. Chang opened the east Oahu shave ice shop with his nephew Bronson Chang in 2011. Uncle Clay’s House of Pure Aloha, also called HOPA, is known for its all-natural, homemade syrups, including strawberry, mango, guava, coconut, chocolate, green tea, and even kale. Shave ice is made even better with toppings, like HOPA’s small-batch ice cream or sorbet, homemade mochi or fresh fruit. HOPA recently made the frozen treat easier to eat on the go with the introduction of its shave ice drinks, served with either cold brew coffee or plantation iced tea.
Wailua Shave Ice (Kauai)
4-831 Kuhio Highway, Kapaa
Above: Look for this trailer in Kapaa for a refreshing taste of gourmet favors loaded with fresh fruit.
This Kapaa place serves its shave ice with syrups made with local fruit.
Wailua Shave Ice gives the beloved local treat a gourmet spin. Once operating out of a retro-trailer parked on Kuhio Highway, Wailua Shave Ice is now located in a chic brick-and-mortar in Kapaa of east Kauai. (They also have a location in Portland, Oregon.) Each shave ice comes in a bowl with finely shaved ice and comes blanketed with syrups made from fresh, local fruits. There’s the Lava Flow, made with pineapple juice, strawberry puree, coconut foam and topped with pineapple and strawberries, or the Wailua Sunrise with orange and pineapple juice topped with pineapples and oranges. Wailua Shave Ice also runs limited shave ice specials.
The Fresh Shave (Kauai)
5356 Koloa Rd Suite C, Koloa
Above: Whimsical and wonderful, The Fresh Shave on Kauai adds a creative touch to its ice cold confections.
This south Kauai shave ice truck has named its shave ice flavors after iconic mustache styles.
When you visit the Fresh Shave, you’ll be given a delicious bowl of shave ice, complete with straws wearing paper mustaches. It’s a fun and Instagram-able way to enjoy your shave ice. Like Wailua Shave Ice, the Fresh Shave serves all-natural shave ice — from a hand-cranked machine, no less. Husband and wife owners, Daniel and Priscilla Soule, went with a barbershop-like theme for their shave ice shop, so each flavor combination is named after a popular mustache style. There’s the Professor, made with acai and topped with fresh cut banana, coconut shreds and drizzled with local honey, and the Handlebar, which is their take on the classic piña colada.
Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice (Maui)
(808) 877-3700 (Kihei)
For locations visit:
Above: A colorful display of the delicious assortment you will find at Ululani's Hawaiian Shave Ice on Maui.
Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice is a Maui shave ice institution.
With seven locations on Maui, including Lahaina, Kihei, Kahului and Paia, owners Ululani and David Yamashiro have you covered for any shave ice cravings on the Valley Isle. (There’s also a Big Island location.) Don’t miss Maui-inspired flavor combinations, such as the tasty Haleakala, made with coconut and leche and topped with sweetened condensed cream, or the scrumptious No Ka Oi with coconut, mango and lilikoi.
Original Big Island Shave Ice Co. (Hawaii Island)
69-250 Waikōloa Beach Dr, Waikoloa Village
Above: Shave ice is a family tradition at the Original Big Island Shave Ice Co.
You can never go wrong with one of mama's treasured recipes.
In 2014, Reggie and Kim Ignacio founded the Original Big Island Shave Ice Co. but shave ice making was in their family long before. Reggie’s mom, Lorraine, started making and serving shave ice in the West Hawaii Island area in 1957. She passed along her recipes to her son and they are still used today. (Fun fact: On Hawaii Island, they call it ice shave.) The Original Big Island Shave Ice Co. serves up traditional flavors, like the Rainbow with strawberry, pineapple and blue vanilla, to the creative, such as Melona cream and haupia (coconut) or ube (sweet potato) ice cream.