Over the past two years, I have noticed Oahu’s Shave Ice offerings have greatly improved. Funny thing to say, since Oahu’s shave ice is the best in the world. This is the first year ever that I did not visit Waiola. I believe I have found three places that put that old standard to shame.
Ailana. Across Kona Street from Ala Moana Shopping Center with lots of parking and places to sit. I discovered this gem a year ago March. The ice is very fine, but not quite as fine as Waiola’s, but what puts this place over the top is their delicious and healthy fruit toppings. My favorite is the Haupia. They also serve Dave’s Ice Cream, traditional syrups and make their own mochi and azuki.
Shimazu Store. On School near Liliha. Not much of a store anymore, but apparently the owner has perfected his shave ice art over the years and moved into this store recently. The portions are huge. A small is sufficient, as the ice is about 8 inches high. But the ice is shaved very fine and as good at Waiola’s. On top of that, the syrups, not as healthy as Ailana’s, are flavorful and interesting. Flavors include Creme Brulee, Haupia Cream and Key Lime, as well as the traditional flavors. Their ice cream is Gold Meadow. Street parking is limited and there is no place to sit.
Mountain Magic. Waikele in front of the Sports Authority store. A booth with three large freezer units in back. Very similar to Shimazu Store down to the plastic cup holders. No exotic flavors but the ice is also very fine and also stacked very high. Limited seating and lots of parking. Also use Meadow Gold ice cream.
I would be very happy going to these three places. All give you more ice than Waiola, more syrup, and much, much friendlier service. Ailana has healthy choices, Dave’s Ice Cream, places to sit and lots of parking. Shimazu gives you lots of ice and great flavors. Mountain Magic is a similarly great option on the Ewa side of Oahu.
No need to go to Waiola. Ever.