July 7, 2012

Haukōhi - Shave Ice

One of our favorite treats is shave ice. It's not a sno-cone. And it's not "shaved ice." (I'm not trying to be picky, but helpful). It's the perfect treat after a hot day on the beach. Or after a long drive. Or after dinner. Okay, anytime!
Sooo ono!
In Hawai‘i, shave ice is made - not surprisingly - by shaving a block of ice. The places that offer it vary because of their shave machine. I never knew that ice could be so different. It can be grainy, fluffy, smooth or kind of crunchy. Always delicious though!

The Hawaiian, haukōhigives a pretty accurate description, since "hau" means snow, and "kōhi" gather. Apparently, shave ice came here from Japan (although many cultures have something similar). The rich people wanted a cold treat, so they'd send their servants to the mountains to get ice. Someone figured out it was a good idea to flavor it, and for that, I am thankful.

I thought this was funny:
As Japanese immigrated to Hawaii, they brought this tradition with them. Like Rome and Japan, in Hawaii warm areas are close enough to snow capped mountains that snow can be brought into the warm areas without melting - Wikipedia
In Hawaii, there's only one snow-capped mountain, and it's not snow-capped all the time. And it's only on one island... Who knew that Wikipedia could be inaccurate?
Our newest find: Angel's in ʻie

I am not joking in that it's one of our favorite treats - I had to comb through over 80 pictures of shave ice to choose the ones you see here! So we have tried quite a few different places and have our favorites. In Hale‘iwa on the North Shore, Matsumoto is good, but it's the most common in guidebooks, so the line is always out the door. Nearby is Aoki's which is not nearly as busy, but we'd rather go to the other side of Hale‘iwa town to the Aloha General Store. Ample parking and seating, and last time they were playing music so the kids were dancing and entertaining the other patrons.

The North Shore might be the popular spot for shave ice, but you can find it all over the island, even on trucks!
Boy, were we excited to see this pull up to the playground!

When you're planning your trip to Hawai‘i, you need to seriously consider what flavors of shave ice you'll try. You can go with classics: grape, lime, cherry, orange. Or tropical: mango, pineapple, coconut, lilikoi. Or try them all. Each place usually has their own special flavors too.

What makes it even more awesome is getting ice cream on the bottom and a "snow cap" on top (aka sweetened condensed milk).
With whipped cream and a cherry on top

No matter what you try, if you eat with our family, you'll have to eat it quickly or it'll be all gone!

*Another blog, Oahu mom, had an entry about shave ice, so I waited to post so it didn't look like I was copying - but she and her readers suggest other places to try so check it out!

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