Waiola Shave Ice: the Best Shave Ice in Hawaii

89 degrees and sunny. It’s a Waiola Shave Ice day.

original waiola shave ice

I’ve been coming here since forever. I remember my high school cross country coach taking us on a run around the Ala Wai Canal and then detouring up Pa’ani Street to treat us to some shave ice before heading back to the school grounds. Every time we ran around the Canal after that, I secretly hoped he’d take that same detour.

original waiola shave ice 2

Annie and I would go there quite often when we were dating, at least once or twice a month. At the ordering window, it was always the same order: a large cone with ice cream, li hing and Melona flavors for Annie, and strawberry-li hing for me.

waiola shave ice making

Annie and I eventually began talking about getting engaged. One of my friends shared her story of getting engaged on Christmas Day when her boyfriend walked her to the end of a snow-covered runway and dropped to his knee. I thought to myself, where am I going to find snow in Hawaii? That’s when I got the idea to sneak the engagement ring into Annie’s shave ice.

The day I actually proposed, Annie wasn’t feeling well. She didn’t want to have shave ice but I prevailed upon her. When she found the plastic baggie holding the ring, she almost tossed it out, thinking it was trash that had somehow gotten into the dessert. Of course, I was right there to pick it out and make my proposal.

She said yes, and the rest is history.

X-Large Bowl with Ice Cream, Lilikoi and Strawberry for Esther

esther strawberry lilikoi bowl

Matsumoto’s in Haleiwa may be the most famous, but it’s just hype. Waiola Shave Ice in Moiliili is where you can find the best shave ice in Hawaii. The ice is finer, the choices wider, and the flavors are bolder.

Here’s to you, Waiola Shave Ice

original waiola li hing lilikoi shave ice 2

Aloha, Nate
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13 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Andrea says:

    >Found you through Food Gawker. We tasted both Aoki’s and Matsumoto’s during our trip to Honolulu in July. We like Aoki’s better because we thought the ice was finer. Will have to try some others the next time we are there. Thanks for the tip!

  2. smile4me8p says:

    >Brings back good memories of my honeymoon. Wish you could bring me back a bowl. But I’ll have to settle with you guys eating an extra bowl for me =).

  3. noobcook says:

    >This is the perfect weather for shave ice! I love the photo of the little girl with her bowl, it’s very arty ;) … and really sweet love story about the proposal ;)

  4. Nate-n-Annie says:

    >@Andrea – I agree, even Aoki’s is better than Matsumoto’s.

    @smile4me8p – Oh, we’ll go back again ;-)

    @noobcook – thanks! Sungold Girl was very appreciative.

  5. Pualani says:

    >I found you through foodgawker as well. I grew up in Hawai`i and agree with Andrea that Aoki’s is the best. Matsumoto’s gets the hype and I think Waiola’s shaved ice is too fine.

  6. KayKat says:

    >Hmm … I don’t know … JoJos in Waimea is pretty damn good ;) (if you don’t mind the many hour wait!!)

    *sigh*. I’m pretty far away from shave ice right now.

  7. Nate-n-Annie says:

    >@Pualani – Waiola’s is the finest in the land ;-)

    @KayKat – …or the long drive. Thanks for stopping by!

  8. Pualani says:

    >I realized that I forgot to congratulate you on your engagement! :)

  9. Nate-n-Annie says:

    >@Pualani – that was 10 years ago, but thanks still!

  10. Arnold says:

    >This reminds me that I need to take the Shave Ice Showdown I compiled for Yelp and adapt it for inuyaki. I love Waiola too, but on Oahu, I’m definitely an Aoki’s fan. But when we were in Kauai earlier this year, we went to Hawaiian Blizzard in Kapaa (straight from the airport), and I think it bests Oahu’s big three.

  11. Nate-n-Annie says:

    >@Arnold – thanks for letting me know about Hawaiian Blizzard. I haven’t been to Kauai in a long time…

  12. Chrissy says:

    >What a sweet proposal! *envious
    Definitely want to have a taste of that shaved ice when (if?) hubs and I ever get to Hawaii!!!

  13. Nate-n-Annie says:

    >@Chrissy – perhaps you could convice hubby to go as an anniversary present?

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My Photo Annie is mistress of the kitchen while Nate is the master of the grill and smoker. We cook the homestyle Asian and Hawaiian foods of our younger days while also exploring the wider worlds of Western foods.

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