11 Unusual Shave Ice Flavors Visitors Have To Try in Hawaii

Mix up your shave ice game by trying these strange and unusual flavors, like ume, li hing mui and something called snawzberry.
Photo: Getty Images

No doubt about it, summer has arrived. And although a day at the beach is always a great way to escape the heat and humidity that comes with Hawaii’s dog days, sometimes you need to indulge in some shave ice, or ice shave as it’s called in Hilo. If you’re tired of staple flavors like strawberry, vanilla and coconut, try some of these unique and unusual flavors and combinations.

1. Ume

Part plum, part apricot, ume have been pickled, fermented and served in countries such as Japan and China for centuries. After making its way to Hawaii, ume become an often sought after snack and has even been converted into a shave ice syrup. Get it at Matsumoto Shave Ice on Oahu and various other shave ice shops in Hawaii.

2. Ha Coffee Brew


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There’s nothing worse than having to drink a hot coffee on an even hotter day. Instead, just get Ha Coffee Bar’s Cold Brew poured atop your shave ice. What’s next, Starbucks shave ice? Actually, not a bad idea. Get it at Jojo’s Shave Ice on Kauai.

3. Tiger’s Blood

Tiger’s Blood is a great name for a shave ice flavor because it could also be a heavy metal band (it’s actually the name of a heavy metal band’s album). But don’t worry: No tigers were actually hurt in the making of this flavor. It’s just a mixture of strawberry, watermelon and a splash of coconut. Get it at Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice on Maui and other shave ice shops in Hawaii.

4. Li Hing Mui

If you’ve ever had li hing mui before, your lips may have puckered by just reading its name. A salty dried plum, this local favorite is about as sour and tangy as it gets, so order with caution. Get it at most shave ice stores in Hawaii.

5. Melona

Obama’s favorite combo, cherry, lemon-lime and Melona.
Photo: Catherine Toth Fox

This flavor originates from the South Korean ice pop of the same name and is essentially a honeydew melon. It’s also so good, and former President of the United States Barack Obama, who was born and raised here in the Islands, agrees. If you’re ever at an Island Snow location on Oahu, get his go-to combo of cherry, lemon-lime and Melona. Get it at Island Snow on Oahu and most other shave ice shops in Hawaii. 

6. Pickled Mango

Another mouth-watering, lip-puckering flavor on the list, pickled mango is a local favorite, especially during Hawaii’s mango season (which is right now). If you’re a real thrillseeker, get the daredevil combo: li hing mui, pickled mango and sour apple. Get it at most shave ice shops in Hawaii.

7. Ramune

A carbonated soft drink from Japan, Ramune is known for its lemon-lime flavor. If you can find an actual Ramune bottle in the wild, you might have to Google a video on how to open it, since the bottles are made of glass, sealed by a marble and often require a small, plastic tool to open. Get it at Wilson Store and Matsumoto Shave Ice on Oahu.

8. Green River

It’s sad to say, but Green River is getting harder and harder to find. A popular-in-Hawaii soft drink sold in restaurants and old-school drive-ins, Green River and its sweet, lime-tinged taste actually came out of Chicago and is still used as shave ice syrup. Get it at Matsumoto Shave Ice on Oahu and a few other shave ice shops in Hawaii. 

9. Mizore

If you’re looking for a little flavor, but not too much flavor, Mizore’s your best bet. It’s a mild white sugar syrup that blends right in with the actual color of ice, so don’t get too discouraged when your server brings you what looks like plain shave ice. Get it at Matsumoto Shave Ice on Oahu and at various other shave ice shops in Hawaii.

10. Pepsi

Pepsi on the right.
Photo: Madeleine Carr

This flavor might not sound too crazy, but it’s hard to find a shave ice shop in Hawaii that offers Pepsi as a flavor. Get it at Wilson Store on Oahu.

11. Snawzberry

These snawzberries taste like snawzberries! Actually, this snawzberry-flavored syrup, sold at Island Snow in Kailua, tastes more like boysenberries, which is the cross between a blackberry, raspberry, dewberry and loganberry. Kind of sounds like this berry’s having an identity crisis. Get it at Island Snow on Oahu. 

Categories: Family, First-Time, Food, Restaurants, Travel Tips