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How to make Hawaiian shave ice

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eat shave ice
Shave ice was originally a Japanese dessert called "kakigori" which was brought to Hawaii. To make shave ice, shave a block of ice down into a coarse slurry, fill a paper cone with it, and top with a flavoured sugar syrup. Those in the know like to add ice cream and/or adzuki beans to the bottom of the cup.

If you can't go rushing off to Hawaii to try some, you can get the equipment to make it at home easily. It's a great summer treat for the whole family.


Shave ice supplies

Fortunately a shave ice machine isn't necessarily an expensive piece of equipment. You can get a very basic one for under $50 if you don't want to spring for anything high-end. Add some flavoured syrups and you're good to go!

Once your ice is ready, choose up to three flavours of syrup to top your shave ice. For an added treat, add vanilla ice cream or adzuki beans (or both!). You can also add condensed milk if you like really sweet shave ice.

Tip: Get the extra bowls right away so you always have plenty of ice blocks at the ready.

President Obama's favourite shave ice?
Island Snow in Kailua.
His combo of choice is cherry, lemon, lime, and Melona.

How to make simple syrup

While you can of course buy premade syrups for shave ice, it's quite easy to make your own. Just combine equal parts of granulated cane sugar and water in a saucepan. Heat until dissolved (about 3 minutes), then cool. At this point, add any flavourings you like.

This syrup will keep in the refrigerator for up to a month before it begins to crystallize.

Best places for shave ice


Tealmermaid's Treasure Grotto
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