Shave ice

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Shave ice
Hilo Ice Shave.JPG
Li-Hing & Lychee ice shaved from crack seed shop in Hilo, Hawai'i
TypeFrozen dessert
Main ingredientsIce, syrup, condensed milk (common variant)

Shave ice or Hawaiian shave ice is an ice-based dessert made by shaving a block of ice. While the product can resemble a snow cone, snow cones are made with crushed, rather than shaved, ice.[1] On the Big Island of Hawai'i, it is also referred to as 'ice shave'.

Shave ice looks very white due to its small water particles. Added Flavored syrups are absorbed by the ice instead of surrounding it.[2][3] There is rarely a need for a straw for a properly made shave ice confection, since the flavors are in the ice and not at the bottom of the cup. Although the traditional American flavors are common, shave ice in Hawai'i is often flavored with local ingredients such as guava, pineapple, coconut cream, passionfruit, li hing mui, lychee, kiwifruit and mango. Hawaiian shave ice is traditionally served in a conical paper or plastic cup with multiple flavors and with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and/or adzuki bean paste at the bottom of the cup. Sweetened condensed milk drizzled over the top is sometimes called a "snow cap". This style of shave ice is common on the north shore of O'ahu, as well as on Maui, Kaua'i and the Big Island of Hawai'i (where it is called "Japanese style").


Shave ice has its origins in East Asian cultures, as early as the 7th century AD.[4]

Japanese immigrants imported it to America. They brought it along with them when they came to Hawaii to work in sugar plantations. After leaving plantations, they took up new professions. But by then Shave Ice & Snow cones had become immensely popular and part of Hawaiian culture.

In other countries[edit]

"Snow ice"—cream, milk, water, sugar and fruit, frozen and then shaved and served in cones—is popular in China, Korea, Taiwan and Indonesia and making inroads into the United States.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mike Gordon (2006). "Honolulu Advertiser". Shave ice. Retrieved 2013-09-04.
  2. ^ Linda Stradley (2004). "Hawaiian Shave Ice". What's Cooking America. Retrieved 2010-06-12.
  3. ^ "History of Snow Cones". Archived from the original on 2010-06-28. Retrieved 2010-06-12.
  4. ^ "The Americanization of Bao Bing, a Cool, Fruity Asian Treat". The New York Times. 1989-06-07. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-09-23.
  5. ^ Thomas Rogers (2010-06-15). "Will "Snow Ice" be the next Pinkberry?". Salon. Retrieved 2010-06-16.

External links[edit]