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Nothing goes down quite as nicely as shave ice on a hot day. This favorite island treat has been likened to a sno-cone, but that description doesn't do a good shave ice justice. Yes, it is ice served up in a cone-shape cup and drenched with sweet syrup, but the similarities end there. As its name implies, the ice should be feathery, light—the texture of snowflakes, not frozen slush. And alongside the standard cherry and grape, you'll find all sorts of exotic island flavorings, such as passion fruit, pineapple, coconut, mango, and, of course, a rainbow mix.
Not all shave ice meets these high standards, and when you're hot, even the average ones taste great. But a few places are worth seeking out. On the East Side, the best is Hawaiian Blizzard (Kapaa Shopping Center, 4-1105 Kuhio Hwy.), a true shave ice stand that opens up midday in front of the Big Save grocery store in Kapaa. In Lihue, try Halo Halo Shave Ice (2956 Kress St.). And on the hot, dry West Side, make a beeline for Jo-Jo's Clubhouse (Mile marker 23, Kaumualii, Hwy. 50), on the main drag in Waimea. All three places have benches where you can sit and slurp.
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