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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Waiola Shave Ice (Hawaii, US)

A trip to Honolulu isn't complete without visiting Waiola Shave Ice. During our vacation on the island, we stopped by twice.

Waiola Shave Ice is actually a window on the side of a convenience store in a quiet neighborhood not that far from Waikiki. On your way there, you might not think there is anything around, let alone a shave ice store, but it's there. You will know you're there when you see the line-up. Thankfully, there is a parking lot right next door and some street parking nearby.

Waiola Shave Ice
What is different about Waiola is the fineness/texture of the ice that they use. They shave the ice so finely that it is nearly identical to eating falling snow (if you've ever done that before). There's nothing unique about their flavours or toppings, but when combined with the finely shaved ice, it's almost like eating a sorbet.

J ordered the special Azuki Bowl with Mochi. The first time, she got it as-is off the menu. The second time, she added extra condensed milk because she thought it wasn't sweet enough the first time. The bowl is better than the cup because the mochi are placed on top of the bowl, while it is placed at the bottom if you order a cup. Burying mochi in ice makes it harder to chew, so the bowl works out better. J especially likes that the azuki beans they use are big and sweet.

Azuki Bowl with Mochi
I ordered a small cup the first time and a large cup on our second visit. In hindsight, I should have just ordered the extra large bowl! Despite being back in Vancouver where it's less than 10 degrees out, I still have Waiola cravings.

I tried the following flavours: guava, Thai Tea, pineapple, POG (passion orange guava). The Thai Tea was very good and would have gone well with maybe a coffee flavour instead of guava. The other fruity flavours were all great, but the POG and pineapple blended together so I couldn't really taste the differences.

Large Cup Pineapple and POG
I've seen other shaved ice places in Honolulu but I always change my mind about trying them when I see customers walking away with bowls, cups, etc. filled with big chunks of shaved ice and flavoring. Since trying out Waiola a few years back, shaved ice has never been the same for me.

Summary
Food: Exceptional. Stop reading and try it out if you're in Honolulu. The shaved ice is so fine it's like eating falling snow.

Service: Average. It's a window on the side of a convenience store.

Setting: Average. It's in the middle of a quiet residential neighborhood. But there's plenty of parking.

Value: Very good. Special bowls or extra large bowls are around $5.

Waiola Shave Ice on Urbanspoon

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