Eating Abroad:

- Kauai, HI -

Ono Ono Shave Ice

 
 

One of my absolute favorite things to have in Kauai is Hawaiian Shave Ice. I’m not kidding when I say I had it almost every day of our vacation. Ono Ono Shave Ice is part of a restaurant that Matias and I found during our first trip to Kauai in 2015. Now, the restaurant itself doesn’t offer vegan food, but just outside they have a small kitchen dedicated to making delicious Hawaiian Shave Ice. The shop is located in the heart of historic downtown Kapaa, and is walking distance from other great lunch spots along Kuhio Highway.

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The shop is open - rain or shine - everyday from 10:30 AM until 6:00 PM. They offer a wide selection of flavors and toppings that are vegan and non-vegan. For those of you who are unfamiliar, the process of making Hawaiian shave ice is not all that complicated - but it really is a form of art. And I would like to add that the employees of Ono Ono Shave Ice make the best shave ice in Kauai. You should typically expect to see a line in front of the shop during weekends, but if you come on a weekday you might have to wait a few minutes to allow a shop employee to take your order. Either way, the wait is never that long - and the staff are incredibly nice which is great!

 

Back to the art: so, you place your order at the window. You can order ready-made flavor combinations like the Island Cooler or Eastside Sunrise, or you can create your own custom shave ice flavor combinations with the available fruit and coffee-flavored syrups. You can also add ice cream to your shave ice as well as a “snowcap.” I avoided getting the snowcap since it contains condensed milk, however I would ask about any coconut milk options in the future. Once you place your order, an employee will begin piling on the unflavored shaved ice onto a flower shaped cone and prepare your order as requested. The final step - which is, in my honest opinion - the most important, is to sprinkle a healthy amount of Li Hing Mui powder on top of your shave ice. The powder isn’t usually left outside, since it runs out easily; so all you have to do is request it from an employee and return it as soon as you are done. Li Hing Mui powder is a red-hued, sour powder that is made from salted and preserved plums. It’s very popular across the Hawaiian island and is used on a wide variety of snacks from shave ice and fresh fruit to popcorn. I have always loved sour candy, so I can never order a Hawaiian shave ice without some Li Hing Mui powder!

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Now, if you’ve gotten this far and thought to yourself - this doesn’t sound healthy at all! Well, you would be right. But, every now and then you should treat yourself in whichever way you see fit, and for me - I did that by enjoying my fair share of Hawaiian shave ice while on vacation. There are plenty of locally owned shops and restaurants across Kauai that have amazing shave ice; I am just glad that I have been able to always come back to Ono Ono. If you know of any other great shave ice spots on the island, let me know in the comment section below! And if you’re not from Hawaii - what are some of the popular snacks in your area? Let me know in the comments section. Aloha!