Head to Kona for Scandinavian Shave Ice


Is there a such thing as a Shave Ice Connoisseur? If not, there should be! While visiting Kailua-Kona, Hawaii our kids swore that Scandinavian Shave Ice “Scandi’s” was the best they’d ever had. Now that’s saying something because we live in Hawaii and eat shave ice all the time!! There are many memories that our kids will have about growing up on Kauai- the remote beaches, stand up paddling, waterfalls, whale watching, and ocean fishing. Paradise is wonderful. Yet, if you were to ask them what they love about living on Kauai, they would probably say shave ice. Let’s back up a little bit…… for those of you who don’t reside in the wonderful state of Hawaii, I’ll describe shave ice and NO it is not a snow cone. Shave ice in not granular or chunks of rocky ice. Shave ice doesn’t turn into a hard lump of ice like a snow cone does as it melts. The distinguishing factor- shave ice is shaved not crushed ice! But don’t called it “shaved ice” because locals call it “shave ice”. Shave ice simply melts, turning into liquid and mixing with the flavoring. This is the point in which you will need a straw.

Snow Cone

Snow Cone

Dilemma of the snow cone~ Growing up in California the sound of the ice cream truck could be heard from miles away. It was a trigger of events to follow, first the music, and then all the kids playing in the neighborhood scatter. Where did they go? We all ran inside to beg our parents for money, raid the counters for change or empty the coin jar and timing was of the essence. If you didn’t time this perfect, than the ice cream truck would be gone. I remember hearing the music in my house getting louder and louder as the truck was approaching my street and thinking- hurry up mom! This was all so that I could scrape my teeth on a rock-hard, rainbow snow cone. Eating a snow cone is the most frustrating experience in the world. You want to get to the great flavors but they’ve all ran to the bottom of the paper cone which is now disintegrating and starting to leak down your palm. Your teeth hurt so bad because they are frozen, sending excruciating pain through the roots. Now, your right hand is frozen from the snow cone, so you switch hands. By the time all of the flavoring has leaked out of the paper cone, you’re left with a huge piece of flavorless ice.

Scndi’s has been around for over 20 years and knows how to make real shave ice. They are located in Kailua Village in Kailua-Kona, walking distance from Kailua Pier. In fact, we walked there from the Pier after taking a submarine tour. When you place an order at Scandi’s, you must choose three flavors and know if you want ice cream or frozen yogurt in the middle. Then for the sno cap! Sno cap, also known as “Japanese Style”, is sweetened condensed milk poured over the top of the shave ice.

How to eat shave ice

How to eat shave ice

I’ve heard that on the Big Island of Hawai’i, it can be referred to as ‘ice shave’. Shave ice is produced by shaving the ice so fine that it is the consistency of snow. The flavors are actually in the shave ice rather than floating around in the cup. Shave ice in Hawaii tends to offer local flavors such as: li hing mui, Melona, Haupia, guava, Mai Tai, P.O.G., pineapple, coconut cream, passion fruit,  lychee, kiwi fruit, Green tea and mango. Notice the holes in the table? Told ya, Scandi’s doesn’t mess around. Parents will love how mess free this can be with the holes in the table, drip, drip to the ground not your clothes. The plastic cups are great as well! No leaking.

Where did it come from?

Somewhere between 794 to 1185 A.D. shave ice was discovered in Japan. It was called kakigōri and enjoyed by Japanese plantation workers after a hot day. These plantation workers immigrated to Hawaii, introducing the locals to kakigōri. Shave ice was made from a block of ice and a Japanese sword.

DSC02990Scandi’s has 65 flavors to choose from, 8 sugar free, and 9 different toppings!!! If you live on the Big Island or plan to have a party on the Big Island, Scandi’s even caters.

5wheelsto5star was featured in the March 2014 issue of Destinations Travel Magazine