One of the most anticipated treats was the Hawaiian shave (not shaved) ice. It’s a much more pleasurable eating experience than a typical mainland sno-cone with its huge gritty crystals that fail to hang onto any of the flavored syrup. They literally shave a spinning ice block with a blade creating a snow-like texture. The flavors we found tended to range from the more exotic (lychee, guava, salted plum, honeydew melon) to the standard (cherry, vanilla, coconut, blueberry). Every location we visited offered a combo of shave ice and ice cream. We’d heard that rainbow ice with macadamia nut ice cream was the best combination but I took issue with that reco after our first stop at Paradise Shave Ice in Hanalei. To achieve the rainbow effect, they used four syrups, overlapping them substantially, whch meant there was a lot of syrup at the bottom of my dish. They also gave me very little ice cream, though i thought that might be the custom until i tried a couple more vendors.


We’d been trying to stop by Wishing Well, also in Hanalei, but they’re only open from noon to 5 each day and only if the weather is good. Since it rains daily on the north shore, we didn’t catch them open for business until maybe our fourth day there. The line was long but so was the menu. They had a good variety of flavors, ice creams, and special combinations. Wishing Well also had a special ingredient i’d been hoping to try – azuki beans. As you can see in the pic below, they were basically like mini red kidney beans in a sugar syrup. They added a great textural component to the experience, though my compadres weren’t keen on the bean. On top of the beans, i had pineapple ice and good amount of macadamia nut ice cream.



Toward the end of the week, as we stuffed ourselves with some amazing tacos at Pat’s Taqueria near the pier in Hanalei Bay, we noticed a small shave ice cart just across the road and figured we’d be even more gluttonous and give it a try. Sips of Paradise was manned by a super nice guy who we found out used to run tugboats on the Schuylkill River. I went with a combo of lychee and li hing mui (salted plum – sounds strange but it’s fantastic) on top of vanilla ice cream (his only flavor). It was a good combo.



I inquired about the beans but he felt that if he offered extras he’d have to offer a few, not just one, and he didn’t have the space in his little red cart. He seemed like a dude who likes to keep things simple – the most endearing trait of Kaua’i culture in my opinion.