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Hawaii's Love Affair with Shave Ice

November 5th, 2018 Food & Drink
Hawaii's Love Affair with Shave Ice

Fluffy, colorful and bursting with flavor, shave ice is Oahu’s favorite frozen treat. It’s the perfect way to cool off at the beach or while you’re lounging by the pool.

With origins from Japan, shave ice, or “kakigori,” preceded refrigeration, made with ice hauled down from mountaintops and consumed by the elite. It was brought to the islands of Hawaii in the late 1800s by Japanese immigrants who came to Hawaii to work on sugar plantations.

Usually consumed in paper cones, shave ice is finely cut to have the consistency of snow, which absorbs the syrup – so there’s no need for a straw.

While on vacation, try shave ice with local flavors to get the full effect of this Hawaiian treat! Mango and guava never disappoints, and it’s fair-game to mix and match flavors as you please. For something with a bit of color, the traditional rainbow combination is made with banana, cherry (or strawberry) and blue raspberry.

Interested in tasting flavors you won’t find anywhere else? You’ve probably never heard of li hing mui, which is a red powder made with dried, salted plum skins. Another is lilikoi, or Hawaiian passion fruit. Lychee might sound like an odd mix with ice, but it’s refreshing, not too sweet, and is grown throughout the island.

You can also dress up your shave ice! To make it sweeter and creamier, opt for the “snow cap,” which is shave ice topped with sweetened condensed milk. It can also be ordered with ice cream at the bottom. Some like to add azuki bean paste, which is widely consumed in East Asia and made with red azuki beans mashed with sugar.

Make shave ice a part of your travels during your stay at Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel. While soaking up the sun by our pool, enjoy shave ice from the Pool Concession stand – it’s included in the daily resort fee. Beat the heat with your daily dose of Hawaii’s favorite frozen treat.


Kick back and relax at Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel, just steps away from the beach. Our hotel is a mellow gateway to all the action of Kalakaua Avenue, Manoa Falls, and Diamond Head. See our special offers.


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