Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Hawaii in a Cup

This is Hawaii-- in a cup!

My favorite shave ice is still at Waiola. We always go to the hole-in-the-wall location at Wailoa Street, off McCully. It's really a sari-sari store in a very basic neighborhood with no other commercial establishments around. My nieces showed me the other location on Kapahulu Street, on the street across the Safeway. The one on Kapahulu is much newer and nicer than the original store. But the shave ice is the same.

At the original hole-in-the-wall store

When we were in Manila and it was unbearably steamy, I promised the kids that we would go get shave ice everyday. But when we got to Honolulu, the weather was just so beautiful-- sunny but always with a cool breeze. We had it only three times. (Three times is still too much, I can hear the hubby saying :)

It seems the locals like to order a bowl of shave ice with azuki beans, mochi balls and condensed milk. Azuki beans are similar to the sweet monggo in halo-halo and mochi balls are like the malagkit balls in our ginataan. But the mochi balls here are big and tough compared to our nice soft malagkit balls. I didn't like it too much.  You can also ask for a number of toppings like lilikoi (passionfruit) cream, snow cap (condensed milk) or li hing mui powder (red champuy powder).

The Kapahulu location is bigger and newer

I always plan to order the azuki bean stuff to see what the fuss is about, but I can't help it when I get to the counter, I order my usual coconut, lilikoi and watermelon with ice cream in the bottom.  I like my shave ice plain and pure--not like halo halo or ice-kachang.  Just plain shave ice, the way kids like it.

Here's my coconut, lilikoi and watermelon---corny colors, but at least they're not clashing!  Tastes very natural and tropical, even if I know it's artificially flavored.

The kids always enjoy their rainbow order--combination is chosen more for its colors rather than taste:  strawberry, vanilla and banana. When they pour in the three primary colors, the secondary colors of purple, green and orange appear like magic, creating all the colors of the rainbow! It's a quick basic lesson on color theory.

Even if Obama didn't get his shave ice in Waiola on his trip here,  there is an "Obama Rainbow" on the Waiola menu board. It's made of lemon-lime, cherry and lilikoi. Now if lemon-lime is yellow, that sounds more to me like an "Obama Sunset"!

The shave ice is as fine as newly-fallen snow, and is compacted down into a mound  before syrup is poured on it. The texture is what makes the difference. I've tried the other shave ices around Waikiki and they're just like our ordinary snow cones with crushed ice--not smooth, finely-shaved ice. Even I can make those at home with my wonderful Divisoria-bought ice-crusher and my Tang or Eight-o-clock-based syrups. The only other place that has ice as fine as this, is the famous Matsumoto's on the North Shore. Okay,  and maybe Aoki's, but it's also all the way on the other side of the island.   I didn't get to try the place that Obama patronized, so I can't say if that has very fine ice too.

They say that the line to the counter sometimes snakes around the corner, but we never encountered any lines at either locations because we would go towards the end of the day, around 5 or 6 pm. Not the best time to get shave ice since weather is cool and windy by this time. But time-of-day doesn't matter to me--when you need a shave ice fix, you need it!  I think being in Hawaii is a big part of the shave ice experience.  Having it elsewhere will probably diminish the pleasure.

Waiola Shave Ice
2135 Waiola St. corner Paani Street
(off McCully St.)
3113 Mohikana Street
(off Kapahulu Blvd)


Naturally Carol said...

That looks like fun to me...how delicious and exotic!

Anonymous said...

Ive Seen this particular place on the show Hawaii Five-0..


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