On Tuesday I told you about one of the things Annie absolutely had to do while she was here in Hawaii. Well, today I’m going to tell you about one of mine!
A few months ago I was watching an episode of Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern set in Hawaii where he ate a local favorite called “shave ice.” Now I think ol’ Andy was trying to fill up the hour because from what I could tell there wasn’t anything bizarre about shave ice at all. It looked a lot like the snow cones we eat on the mainland, but tasted a million times better according to Andrew. When it was decided we were coming to Hawaii I knew I had to try it myself.
The first thing I did after settling in in Hawaii was Google “Maui” + “Shave Ice,” and up popped the Yelp page for a place called “Ululani’s.” I clicked on the link and was amazed at what I saw. Every single review was five stars. Well, that’s not true. Every once in a while a four star review appeared, but it always said something like, “Six bucks is a lot for shave ice… But it’s nectar from the Gods!” This was definitely the place to experience shave ice.
It wasn’t hard to recruit people to go with me. In fact, this was the entire conversation I had with Annie about it:
Me: “Annie, you want to go get some shave ice?”
Annie: “What’s that?”
Me: “It’s kind of like ice cream.”
Annie: “Can we go now?”
So, on Tuesday night Heather, Annie, Kyle, Sebastian, and I headed into Lahaina to hit up Ululani’s. Our excursion got off to a weird start, though, when a moth flew into Heather. Now you’re probably thinking, “A moth? Who cares about a little moth?” But this was no little moth:
We dubbed this fella “Mothra.”
Heather might have screamed, and maybe one of us three men did as well. (To protect the innocent I won’t tell you which one of us it was but it wasn’t me or Kyle). Anyway, once we reached the store front for Ululani’s Kyle and Sebastian decided they’d rather have ice cream and took off. WTF? Ice cream? Ice cream can be had anywhere unlike precious shave ice!
Heather, Annie, and I ate the shave ice and it was glorious. Whereas the ice in a snow cone is hard and crunchy, the ice in a shave ice is cut (or, er, shaved) so incredibly thin that it’s amazingly light and fluffy, much like ice cream even though it is ice. Annie only cared that hers was blue, so she got the blue raspberry which she loved. Heather and I both got the Haleakala, which was like a creamy pina colada and came with macadamia nut ice cream on the bottom. Yum.
Yesterday we noticed there was another shave ice place close to where we were staying, so we tried it out as well.
Guess who the blue one was for?
This place wasn’t as good as Ululani’s, but still damn good with very fluffy ice. Good stuff!
Can’t taker her eyes off her food.
We’re here a few more days, so I’m definitely going to try and make another trip for shave ice. You know… because Annie loves it so much.
Sounds so yummy!
We have one of those stands here in Oklahoma. The people replicated it from their stay in Hawaii. It’s amazing!!
We do?? Where?
It’s in Bethany. 39th and Council. It’s delicious. They even have the same little containers;)
When i was in Maui I had a extremely sore throat, & I stumbled on the shaved ice. My daughter & I loved it.
Enjoy … we love Maui..it is our favorite vacation destination.
I enjoy reading your blog.
Did you try it with the beans in the bottom? That’s the Hawaiian way!
BEANS?! Wow. I am going to make Mike try it!
did you try it with the macadamia ice cream on the bottom and the condensed milk on top?! OMG to die for! I love Maui and Ululani’s … enjoy!
Yes! The first one we ate had the condensed milk and macadamia ice cream. It was amazing! I think I’ll try the beans on my next one!
I never heard of the beans or the shredded coconut. Think I’ll have to try that on my next trip there
Mike & Heather:FYI: Mama’s fish house restaurant has amazing views…on the beach…and amazing delicious food!
OMG!! I had a similar experience in Puerto Rico because of a Bizarre Foods episode. And it was just as heavenly! Just substitute the shaved ice for roasted pork. Now I’m sad I missed shaved ice when I was in Hawaii, oh well guess I just have to make my way back there.. OH Darn! lol
Ululani’s is awesome! Spring the extra 50c for the snow cap, is delicious! You already discovered the mac nut ice cream for the bottom, and you can have that added to any flavor. My mouth is watering just thinking about this…. only 5hr flight… if I leave work now….
Debbie B. says:
Good news Mike. You don’t have to go to Hawaii next time you are craving shaved ice. Try “Shave It” in T.O. Sounds like the same kind of place.
You had much better luck with shave ice in Hawaii than I did. When I was in Maui last month for my brother’s wedding, getting shave ice was on my Hawaii bucket list. We tried a place that was recommended to us and it was just like a snow cone that you can get anywhere. I really wanted to find a place that had the fluffy shave ice but we ran out of time on the trip.
I am a resident of Hawaii and was born and raised on the island of Oahu. After I read your comment about the moth I just wanted to tell you that it is a local belief that whenever you see a moth, it is a deceased ancestor or family member visiting you so not to chase them away. What surprised me was that in the picture, I noticed the moth had purple on its wings which I know from reading this blog is your oldest daughter’s color. Just wanted to share this with you. Hope you and your family are having a great time in Maui!
The purple looks like it’s reflected from the numeric pad. Still, it’s a nice thought that Madeline might have wanted to say hi!
The shaved ice looks amazing but can I just say…I LOVE all of Annie’s hair styles! I look forward to doing them on my own daughter once she has enough hair! So adorable! I’m living vicariously through you on this trip…I’m reading while I’m here at work, stuck in an office and have meetings all afternoon. Sigh…
Marin D says:
Shaved ice is a popular item where I live (Las Vegas). We have food truck like set ups that roam the city. You follow their pages and find out where they are going to be each day through the spring and summer. It is very tasty. Much better than the traditional snow cone.
this is so funny! I am obsessed with Shaved Ice! Loved it in Hawaii, but, probably to my eventual downfall, there are now several places in the San Fernando Valley that sell authentic, Hawaiian style shaved ice. Not too far for you to drive. Try it with vanilla ice cream on the bottom. YUM!
We go to Maui every year and we hit Ululani’s at least once a day. We LOVE it. My husband saves the partially filled frequent buyer card (buy 10 get one free) until our next trip. We are that obsessed! Adding toasted coconut to the top is even more delicious!!
Sounds like a snowball, which is a Louisiana thing. The idea is that the ice is shaved so finely it resembles snow. I’ve had ‘snowballs’ outside of New Orleans (there’s a place in our favorite spray park in Seattle, no less), but somehow they don’t quite get the ice part right, so the syrup does not distribute correctly.
Sounds like it’s true for Hawaiian ‘shave ice’ too (which incidentally either isn’t a big thing on the Big Island, or wasn’t five years ago, when I’ve last been).
“WTF? Ice cream?” That had me cracking up, Mike.
Enjoy your trip! Thanks for sharing all of your pictures and fun times. I’ll get there someday.
We also loved going daily to get shave ice while we were in Maui last time. S and Q’s Coffee & Shaved Ice Shack was right across the street from our condo and we went at LEAST once a day (sometimes after dinner for a treat too). My mouth is watering.
Also, I wanted to 2nd the suggestion of Mama’s Fish House for lunch or dinner. It’s our splurge meal each time we go to Maui. So beautiful and wonderful food and service.
There are quite a few shave ice places in So Cal that are similar to what you’re eating in Hawaii. I know there are some in/around Torrance, Cerritos, and Fullerton. Taiwanese and Korean shaved ice are similar and pretty good too, if you ever get a chance to try them.