Best shave ice on Kauai

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    December 10, 2013

    Beach, Foodie, Hawaii, Myself

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Satisfy your sweet tooth with a tropical shave ice on the Garden Isle

I'm a sucker for shave ice. I cannot resist the combo of sweet goodness, plentiful flavors, and the cool (sometimes headache-provoking) ice that brings down my body temp when I'm on Kauai. Next to fresh watermelon, it might just be the perfect food.

I took it upon myself to test out as many shave ice shops as I could during a week-long visit to the Garden Isle. Rough job, I know. Let's just say I took one for the team so you don't have to do all the research yourself. You're welcome!

But before I share with you the best shave ice spots on Kauai, you should first know a couple of important facts:

  • It's "shave ice" not "shaved ice." Saying the latter is going to put you in the haole (foreigner) category as soon as the words tumble out of your mouth.
  • You can order your shave ice with or without ice cream on the bottom. Vanilla and mac (macadamia) nut are popular.
  • Order it with sweetened condensed milk on top and you've got yourself a snow cap.

Shave ice from Uncle's Shave Ice on Kauai

Shave ice from Uncle's Shave Ice on Kauai

Uncle's Shave Ice

Uncle's Shave Ice at the Shops at Kukui'ula in Poipu is top on my list because of the service and the menu. Not only do these folks do shave ice, but they serve shave snow, which is a mixture of milk, water, flavoring, and sugar. It's much richer than a shave ice (even one served with ice cream on the bottom), but it rocks - in moderation! Try the combo so you can try both their shave ice and shave snow.

How to find it:

Uncle's Shave Ice
2829 Ala Kalanikaumaka, K158B (next to Bubba Burgers)
Shops at Kukui'ula
Poipu, HI 96756

Shave Ice Paradise

I LIKE these folks. Whenever I find myself up in Hanalei, I can't resist a shave ice from Paradise. They're consistent, don't run out of flavors, and the service is fast and (relatively) friendly. I've even been known to have two shave ices in one sitting!

How to find it: 

Shave Ice Paradise
5-5183 Kuhio Highway
Hanalei, HI 96714 

Shave Ice from Puka Shave Ice on Kauai

Shave Ice from Puka Shave Ice on Kauai

Puka Shave Ice

Located toward the back of the Poipu Shopping Village in Koloa, Puka Shave Ice provides a ready-made list of combinations including Hawaiian Dream (pineapple, coconut, lilikoi), Blue Hawaii (coconut, vanilla, coco cream), Lilikoi Garden (guava, lemon, lilikoi), and more. You can also choose your own flavors, but I like their combo suggestions.

They specialize in flavors only found in Hawaii, so options are somewhat limited, but who cares when the flavors are all so delicious?

How to find it:

Puka Shave Ice
Poipu Shopping Village
2360 Kiahuna Plantation Drive
Poipu, HI 96756 

Jo Jo's Shave Ice

Legendary, for sure. Jo Jo's has a dark, dingy interior but somehow still manages to show up on top lists for shave ice on the island. When I asked my server what made them so special, he simply said, "I have nothing funny to say." I was not asking for a pithy joke, mind you, but apparently he was the kind of guy who'd only speak when he had something humorous to share.

Viewfinder Tip: Top off your shave ice with sweetened condensed milk for an added treat.

Seating is only available outside and the service is fast, but not the most welcoming. So why go? They reportedly have one of sharpest blades for shaving, making a snow-like ice which allows the flavors to sink in rather than pool at the bottom.

How to find it:

Jo Jo's Anuenue Shave Ice
5 Pokole Road
Waimea, HI 96796

Where's your favorite shave ice shop?

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