North Shore, Hawaii
62-400 Joseph P. Leong Hwy
Haleiwa, HI 96712
(808) 744-5428

What Is the Hawaii Dessert "Shave Ice"? August 2, 2018

North Shore, Waialua
What Is the Hawaii Dessert "Shave Ice"?, Waialua, Hawaii

Whether you’re visiting Hawaii for the first time or are a local looking for a delicious dessert, there’s nothing quite like shave ice. Yet, many visitors mistake the dish for an Italian ice or snow cone. Shave ice in Hawaii is very different from anything you’ll find at a baseball game on the mainland—here’s what you need to know about the island treat.

Frequently Asked Questions About Shave Ice

How Is It Prepared Differently From Italian Ice?

Italian ice is typically made with fruit or fruit flavorings and crushed ice. Shave ice, however, is prepared with a sharp blade to produce an extra fine, delicate texture. 

shave iceWhat Is the Texture Like?

Shaving the ice creates a much smoother texture than a snow cone. The dessert feels like snow, and it melts quickly in your mouth. When prepared perfectly, the ice will not be crunchy. 

What Are Popular Flavors?

The most popular flavors in Hawaii are tropical. Coconut, mango, passion fruit, and lychee are common. You can also find more unique flavors, such as green tea, coffee, and chocolate almond.

What Toppings Can You Add?

You can add sweetened condensed milk or vanilla ice cream to your shave ice to give it a creamy, rich texture. You can also add mochi balls (sticky pounded rice), adzuki beans, or li hing mui powder (ground dried plums). These flavors are borrowed from Japan and China, two highly influential cultures in the Islands. 


If you want to try traditional shave ice in Hawaii, visit Tsue’s Farm in Haleiwa on Oahu’s North Shore. The cafe also offers plate lunches and shrimp. You can even visit the farm animals with your family or rent kayaks and paddle boards. To learn more about this unique destination, call (808) 744-5428 today. You can also visit their website for more information.