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9 Delicious Places for the Best Shave Ice on Oahu

Don’t go to Hawaii without trying shave ice! Find out where to find the best shave ice on Oahu. We’ve tried them ALL! Scroll down to see our top picks.
This best shave ice on Oahu post was written by Hawaii travel expert Marcie Cheung and contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.

Are you planning a trip to Oahu and want to know the best places for shave ice in Hawaii?

Whenever I go to Hawaii, shave ice is always on my mind. It’s the perfect treat after a day of hikingsnorkelingexploring, or just relaxing at the beach.

While shave ice is simply ice mixed with different flavors, it’s something everyone loves to eat.

You can’t find anything better to eat than shave ice on a hot, sunny day in Hawaii! It’s delicious and so satisfying.

Oahu has some of the best places to get Hawaiian shave ice.

Find out my favorite places to find shave ice in Oahu. Plus, some even offer organic shave ice syrup and allergy-friendly options!

And be sure to check out the 101 best things to do on Oahu with kids!

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Best Shave Ice on Oahu featured by top Hawaii blog, Hawaii Travel with Kids

What is Hawaiian Shave Ice?

In case you aren’t familiar, shave ice is a refreshing Hawaiian-style dessert or sweet treat.

Most of the time, you’ll find them in colorful snack shacks or trendy trailers/food trucks. These food trucks set up shop on all of the Hawaiian Islands, in parking lots or at the beach.

Shave Ice vs. Snow Cone

So, a lot of people assume Hawaiian shave ice is just another term for a snow cone. That just not true.

Snow cones are made with crushed ice and syrup. The syrup usually pools at the bottom of the cup/cone and you are left with crunchy, unflavored ice. It’s a total letdown.

Proper shave ice comes from a solid block of ice that is finely shaved and patted down to form a sphere.

Most places will add syrup as they go, or poke holes in it with chopsticks to make sure the syrup is consistent throughout your shave ice.

This blends the ice and syrup together, so each bite is packed with flavor!

While the ice is shaved, it’s called “shave ice” NOT “Hawaiian shaved ice.” In fact, if you see a stand calling it “shaved ice” you probably won’t want to go there!

Trust me, those usually offer more of a snow cone than actual shave ice. Don’t make that rookie mistake!

Shave Ice Toppings

Shave ice is already amazing, just with the ice and syrup. But over the past decade or so, there has been a rise in many more creative toppings as add-ons to enjoy.

Here’s a run-down of the most popular shave ice toppings:

Snowcapped

This is my favorite shave ice topping! Usually, it means they drizzle condensed milk on top, but other times it’s coconut milk, coconut cream, or some other sort of cream.

It’s the perfect way to add a touch of creaminess and extra sweetness to this Hawaiian treat!

Li Hing Mui

If you want something that will spark joy in your taste buds, add some li hing mui powder on top!

It’s a powder made from dried salted plums, and it pairs really well with fruity flavors. At home, we sprinkle it on fresh pineapple, mango, and apples.

If you haven’t tried it before, I suggest just getting it on half of your shave ice, as it can be an acquired taste.

Sometimes, places will have a shaker where you can add your own li hing mui.

Ice Cream

My kids insist they get a scoop of ice cream at the bottom of their shave ice! Most of the time it’s vanilla, but sometimes you can find macadamia nut ice cream!

The syrup mixes with the ice cream for a delectable treat!

There are a few places that will serve the ice cream on top, but I think it tastes better when it’s hidden in the bottom!

Fresh Hawaiian Fruits

If you visit an all-natural shave ice stand, they will most likely offer you a fresh fruit topping.

The real fruit in Hawaii is super flavorful, and the sweetness and texture work so well with shave ice. Some offer fruit purees as well!

Nowadays, it’s easy to find all-natural shave ice with organic flavored syrup, other natural flavors, and fresh fruit.

Mochi

While I didn’t see this offered at any of the Hawaiian shave ice places on Kauai, I have seen it on Maui.

Basically, you can get little mochi balls on top of your shave ice. They are chewy and provide such a great texture to the super smooth shave ice!

Red Beans

Red beans or red bean paste is another common topping at these shave ice shops. It is made from Azuki beans that are not overly sweet for a great flavor to enjoy.

9 Places for the Best Shave Ice on Oahu

Here are the top favorite places to get the best shave ice on Oahu. You will not be disappointed.

Between the variety of flavors to their unique toppings, you’ll be sure to find something every member of your family will enjoy!

1. Matsumoto

Along the North Shore is Matsumoto Shave Ice, the best shave ice in Haleiwa. This is by far the most famous one on Oahu. It’s so popular that there is usually a huge line, even early into the morning!

Traditional Shave Ice. Photo credit: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Daeja Fallas

However long the line may be, it is definitely worth it. Matsumoto Shave Ice has by far the best shave ice you can imagine, especially with their homemade syrups.

They have one of the most extended lists of flavors I have ever seen. You can choose up to 3 different flavors on your shaved ice, so choose very carefully!

Some of their flavors include cake, lilikoi, and cotton candy, as well as traditional fruit flavors. Try out the classic rainbow for some great flavors!

2. Waiola Shave Ice

Another Oahu shave ice spot is Waiola Shave Ice. It has two locations: Waikiki and Kamaki. It is so popular they had to open another store to help with the long lines!

With their shave ice, you can include more common toppings and others that might make you stop and think.

Lots of places, including Waiola Shave Ice, like to put sweet azuki beans on their shave ice, which some might find very interesting, but it is a local favorite.

Other toppings include vanilla ice cream and tapioca pearls. You can even add chocolate, caramel, and other fancy toppings for an additional charge.

With all the flavors and toppings, you’re sure to find something for everyone in the family! Many love their passion fruit flavor.

Fun fact: This is where President Obama likes to get his shave ice when he visits Hawaii and has some of the best shave ice in Honolulu!

3. Shimazu Store

Another town favorite is the Shimazu Shave Ice Store. It is located in Honolulu but can be challenging to find.

They don’t have a parking lot, outdoor seating, or inside their store, but don’t let that scare you away. They still serve amazing shave ice Honolulu has to offer!

With over 70 different flavors, you will be sure to find something you love at Shimazu Shave Ice. They have some unique and special flavors in their store, including red velvet cake and a latte flavor.

You can include some savory toppings such as dulce de leche, Li Hing powder, and coconut. The Shimazu Store also sells other tasty treats in their store, in case some of your little ones don’t like shave ice during your Oahu vacation.

4. Uncle Clay’s House of Pure Aloha

If you want a delicious but healthier option, try Uncle Clay’s House of Pure Aloha. You can go to Honolulu to try their healthy shave ice.

Image of two bowls of shave ice at Uncle Clay's House of Pure Aloha on Oahu
Photo credit: Siv Eng

They don’t like to use artificial flavors or colors. So, each of their syrups is made of natural fruit juices and natural cane sugar! I love that they have all-natural ingredients and homemade syrups!

They also like to use only fruits and other Hawaiian sources to keep it more local. And if you are trying to avoid artificial sugars, Uncle Clay’s House of Pure Aloha is your best choice.

This was the first organic shave ice I tried, and it blew me away! The Strawberry Dream is absolutely incredible.

While they are a healthier option, that doesn’t mean the taste disappears. In fact, their shave ice tastes even better than the other shave ice around and has some of the best Hawaii shave ice Oahu offers.

5. Angel’s

Angel’s is located in the Foodland strip mall in Laie. It is an ideal place to get your shave ice.

Besides shave ice, they sell many other cold treats, including plain ice cream, bubble drinks, smoothies, and more. You can even find the Dole Whip pineapple treat here!

At Angel’s, toppings include sweet beans, ice cream, delicious dulce de leche, and caramel sauce. Choose up to three different flavors on your shaved ice, plus any add-ons, like condensed milk, you want.

Angel’s stand out because their shave ice cups are so huge! You probably won’t be able to finish it on your own. They have classic flavors, popular flavors, and plenty of other unique flavors you will love.

Angel’s is open until 10 PM, making it a perfect date night activity! It is not open on Sunday, so plan to go any other day of the week.

6. Monsarrat Shave Ice

Monsarrat Shave Ice likes to keep things healthy and organic.

Similar to Uncle Clay’s, they also use fruit to make all their syrups. While it may not be as sugary as other options, it is still a delicious treat with fresh fruits and finely shaved ice.

You can add ice cream, but in other shave ice places, they put it on the bottom. At Monsarrat Shave Ice, they put ice cream on top! You can also add sweet beans and mochi, as well. Their fruit purees are some of the best I’ve found.

If you are in Honolulu, this is a great stop to add to your list for healthy shaved ice.

7. Aoki’s Shave Ice

Aoki’s Shave Ice is a family-owned shave ice place. In fact, it’s been in the family for 4 generations!

Close to Matsumoto, they’re in Haleiwa. Aoki’s Shave Ice is a great stop if you don’t like to wait in long lines.

What is unique about Aoki’s is that they also have shave ice shakes! You can have shave ice mixed with your choice of flavors and some vanilla ice cream. Drink your shave ice instead of eating it for an amazing, tasty texture.

I also love Aoki’s because it’s so cheap. You can get this refreshing treat for only a couple of dollars.

8. Island Vintage Shave Ice

Another great place to stop at for some shave ice is Island Vintage Shave Ice in Waikiki at the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center.

You have the option to make your own bowl or choose from their specialty menu. Some of the top favorite specialty flavors are Coconut Island and Heavenly Lilikoi.

They’re open all day long, so you can get your fill of shave ice no matter what time of the day.

This one is my mom’s absolute favorite place to get shave ice in Hawaii!

9. Frost Kailua

For some of the best shave ice in Kailua, stop by Frost Kailua. Here you will find a variety of flavors, including lemon, lime, mango, strawberry, and more.

While they serve shave ice, they are also a frozen yogurt center with plenty of other delicious frozen treats to enjoy.

Frozt Kailua is open every day except Wednesdays.

Oahu Shave Ice FAQs

How much is shave ice in Hawaii?

It varies, but you can usually find it for $4-$5 for a regular size. There’s a fee for larger sizes and additional toppings.

Is it shave ice or shaved ice?

Locals call it shave ice. Only tourists call it shaved ice.

Why is shave ice popular in Hawaii?

It originated on the sugar cane fields during plantation days as a way to keep workers cool. Now, it’s morphed into an iconic Hawaiian dessert treat that you won’t be able to stop eating!

What’s the most famous shave ice spot on Oahu?

Matsumoto’s Shave Ice is probably the most famous shave ice in Oahu. It’s in Haleiwa on the North Shore.

Which Hawaiian island has the best shave ice?

Oahu has some of the best shave ice all over the island, especially at Matsumoto Shave Ice; however, you will find delicious shave ice no matter where you visit in Hawaii.

Best Shave Ice Oahu Wrap Up

Whether you’re on the North ShoreWaikiki, or Honolulu, you can find incredible shave ice places all over the island.

You’ve read about my favorite places to find some of the best Oahu shave ice. You can find flavors that are locally grown or have exotic flavors you won’t find anywhere else.

Stop by one of these places during your next visit to the island of Oahu!

Love this post about the best shave ice in Oahu? Find out the best North Shore food trucks, where to find ice cream on Oahu, and the best Waikiki cheap eats!