Oahu and shave ice go together like peanut butter and jelly. This perfect pair has been spotted on countless occasions dating back to the 1940s. But what started as a simple snow cone with basic flavors like lime, cherry, orange and grape, has grown into an island phenomenon with tropical flavors galore. So much so that shave ice has become an iconic part of experiencing Hawaii, for both tourists and locals alike.
So why not indulge in this sweet island treat? We’ve gathered a list of our favorite shave ice spots in Oahu where you can get a refreshing frozen treat made right. Check out our top picks below.
- Matsumoto’s Shave Ice—Serving up this iconic frozen treat since 1951, Motsomoto’s is the longest running North Shore shave ice shop, and for good reason. Each day, the store produces around 1,000+ shave ice to both locals and visitors who can select from a list of 40 unique homemade syrups including pickled mango, bubble gum, lychee and many more! Feel like something extra sweet? Choose up to three flavors for your shave ice and ask to top it off with a scoop of ice cream. Check out the full list of flavors before planning your visit here. Open daily from 9 am to 6 pm.
- Waiola Shave Ice—While Matsumoto’s takes center stage on the North Shore, Waiola Shave Ice earns the title for being the longest running establishment on the entire island. A local favorite since 1940, Waiola has had lots of time to perfect this frozen treat and have since opened two locations in the upper Waikiki/Kamaki area to keep up with the demands of their customers. Not sure what to order? You can’t go wrong with their Rainbow Ice Cream Bowl. Looking for something a little more decadent? Try their Custard Bowl (homemade custard pudding inside the shave ice) or Mocha Bowl (shave ice with Starbucks Frapaccino mocha flavor topped with condensed milk). Open 7:30 am to 6 pm on weekdays; opens at 10 am on Sundays.
- Shimazu Store—Why would customers keep returning to a small location with no available parking or seating to get their dessert fix? Because Shimazu is that good! Over the years the cozy store has won the hearts of many with its delicious, mountain-sized shave ice creations and unique combinations. And with special flavors like Red Velvet Cake and Lemon Drop and toppings including creamy coconut, and caramel—it’s clear that Shimazu is here to stay and we couldn’t be happier. The store recently opened a new Kapahulu location at 3111 Castle Street in Hawaii’s Favorite Kitchen and they’re open daily from 10 am to 7 pm. Their regular 330 North School Street location is also open daily from 11 am to 6 pm, except closed on Mondays.
- Mountain Magic Shave Ice—Wondering how this itty-bitty shave ice stand competes with the top shave ice stores around? No, it’s not magic like its name suggests. It’s the pure, syrupy shave ice goodness that keeps customers coming back. If you’re having trouble finding Mountain Magic’s location, just look for a large crowd surrounding a little stand located next to Sports Authority at the Waikele Outlet Mall. Try their blueberry, vanilla and coconut shave ice and pile on mochi balls and custard. Or top any flavored shave ice with their condensed milk for a sweet surprise. Don’t believe us? See what others are saying on Yelp. Tip: Mountain Magic Shave Ice only accepts cash so be sure to pay a visit to the ATM beforehand!
- Uncle Clay’s House of Pure Aloha—Uncle Clay’s House of Pure Aloha, also known as HOPA was created to “inspire a worldwide movement of Pure Aloha—one shave ice at a time” and boy did they follow through! The best part? You can help a good cause by purchasing a delicious shave ice at one of their HOPA fundraising events where 15% of all purchases generated by the fundraising get donated to the partner organization. Check out some of their past events here. Their most popular creations include “The Classic Rainbow” with strawberry, mango and pineapple syrups topped with vanilla ice cream and the “Uji Kintoki” with green tea syrup, vanilla ice cream, azuki beans and homemade mochi. Open Monday-Thursday from 11 am to 6 pm and Friday-Sunday from 10:30 am to 8 pm.
What’s your favorite place to grab a refreshing shave ice on a sunny day? Let us know in the comments section below!