Shave Ice is an ice based dessert made by shaving a block of ice. May resemble a snow-cone but are NOT the same product. Shave Ice is shaved and not crushed (YUCK!, who likes crunchy ice?). Shaving produces a very fine ice that appears snow-like. This extremely fine texture absorbs flavors added to it. Traditional snow cones are crushed, coarse ice that allow syrups to drain quickly to the bottom of the cup.
Nothing cools you off in a 100 degree weather quite like a "shaved ice", or is it "shave ice"? If you want the real deal, drop the "d". It may not be good grammar but it's good eats! Traditionally in Hawaii, it is called "Shave Ice" without the "d". Never call it "shaveD ice" and most definitely not a "snow cone". Authentic Hawaiian shave ice comes from Hawaii. Perhaps the most famous stand is Matsumoto's Shave Ice in Haleiwa on Oahu's North Shore. Although the traditional American flavors are common, Hawaiian shave ice is often flavored with tropical flavors such as guava, lilikoi (passion fruit), lychee, and mango.
I lived in Hawaii when my dad was stationed in Pearl Harbor back in 1976. I had fond memories of shave ice when I was growing up especially with vanilla ice cream in the bottom of the cup! Ever since I have been living here in the Mainland, I always crave for some good authentic shave ice. Only time I can get my fix is when I am on vacation in Hawaii. Then one day, my wife (Shirley) and I found a so-called Hawaiian shave ice stand on Venice beach. I was so excited that I bought a large sized cup. To my disappointment, it was a snow cone! Syrup just drizzled down to the bottom. I "crunched" through half the cup and threw it in the trash! YUCK!
On that day, my wife and I had a brainstorming idea of bringing authentic Hawaiian style shave ice here in the mainland. I did my homework and research, ordered the special ice shaver machine, all of our supplies and accessories from Hawaii (where else?) then, KianaKai's Hawaiian Shave Ice was born. "KianaKai" is derived from our youngest kid's names: Kiana and Kai.