Maui’s Shaved Ice: An Exquisite Fusion of Flavor and Island Beauty

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Hawaii is an island of immense beauty and diversity. It also boasts a variety of foods that have origins in East Asia, including the delicious treat known as shave ice.

The ice treat became a local favorite thanks to bloggers and tourists who raved about it in their reviews. These days, lines can wrap around popular Maui Shaved Ice spots, but it’s well worth the wait.

1. Beach Street Shave Ice

This small stand located in the rainbow mall has a line wrapped around it most of the time from visitors seeking tasty ways to beat the heat. The shaved ice is made with finely shaved ice and can be served in many flavors. You can create your own combination of syrups and add-ons or select from the popular menu options.

The ice cream used at Beach Street Shave Ice Maui comes from local purveyors, including Roselani ice cream, and the syrups are made with all-natural ingredients. They also offer sugar-free options sweetened with stevia.

Hula Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches are also available, and they feature Roselani ice cream between a pair of handmade cookies. The flavors include macadamia nut, chocolate, and coconut. They are served with a scoop of ice cream and a sprinkle of li hing mui (salty dried plum powder). The Customer Favorite combines three tropical fruit syrups – guava, passionfruit, and mango – to make a flavor that’s a true delight for those who like a refreshing dessert.

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2. The Fresh Shave

In the heat of summer, a heaping cone of Hawaiian-style shave ice is a surefire way to cool down. These powdery snowcones drenched in syrups are a beloved treat of Hawaii islanders and visitors alike, available in vibrant snack shacks and trendy food trucks everywhere.

A couple from Kauai took over The Fresh Shave in 2016 with a vision of healthy desserts made from real ingredients. They create homemade syrups without any high fructose corn syrup or artificial coloring. They also source their fruit locally and use organic ingredients as much as possible to teach kids about the origin of their food.

The menu here is huge, with 28 flavors including traditional favorites like melon and pineapple. Kids love the Fu Manchu (handcrafted strawberry syrup and bananas), while adults go crazy for the Surfer Monkey’s wild cherry, pina colada and coconut flavors.

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3. Shimazu

Known as a clan of fighters, the Shimazu were at the center of many battles in feudal Japan. One of the most important figures in their history was Shimazu Toyohisa.

Despite his youth at the time of Sekigahara, Toyohisa is widely believed to have saved Satsuma from destruction. His tactics are still considered a model for modern military strategy.

With a well-organized army and administration, local resources, strong loyalty of retainers and some distance from the Kamakura court, the Shimazu became rich and powerful. They were allowed to keep their domain by Hideyoshi’s successor, Tokugawa Ieyasu because of their remote location and their resistance to central forces. Eventually, the 16th head of the family Yoshihisa and his brother Yoshihiro would expand their influence to the whole Kyushu region.

4. Island Vintage

Located in the Azeka Plaza, this shop is one of the smallest shaved ice locations on Maui, but that doesn’t stop them from delivering big flavor. Their menu includes traditional syrups and natural flavors that are made with purified water. The ice is shaved by hand to give it that authentic Hawaiian feel.

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Island Vintage Coffee draws crowds of coffee-thirsty tourists every morning at its Whalers Village location. Their fresh fruit bowls, breakfast plates, and sandwiches make it easy to understand why they have so many customers.

They also serve poke, a popular Hawaiian seafood dish with a Japanese influence. Spicy ahi is wild-caught ahi topped with sesame oil, shoyu, white onion, and fish roe on a bed of rice and served with baked rice crackers.

5. Ululani’s

A heaping cone of shave ice is the perfect cure for a hot Hawaiian day. It’s a treat that both visitors and locals crave. Whether they go for the No Ka Oi combo (coconut, mango and lilikoi) or the epic Haleakala with coconut and leche topped with a snow cap and fresh fruit, they leave with a satisfied sweet tooth.

Ululani’s has been making this treat since 2008. A Google search for “world’s best shave ice” often puts their Wailuku location at the top. Owner David Yamashiro credits the visitors’ dollars and aloha spirit for his success.

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