While standing in Ice Garden’s every growing line for shave ice today, I realized just how much I love living in Hawaii. The eternally sunny weather, crowds of families, grandparents with a trio of grandkids, each hugging a bowl of rainbow shave ice with mochi and vanilla ice cream and most of the all, the very warm, friendly atmosphere.
I typically head to Waiola’s for shave ice treats, but I was over in Aiea, and you’d have to be crazy to pass up an opportunity to stop by Ice Garden. Options are aplenty and all you have to do is announce the number of your selected shave ice at the register. It was no easy feat deciding between flavors, though I managed to narrow it down to li hing mui, taro, rainbow or strawberry in five minutes. A few minutes later, I decided that I also needed azuki beans, tapioca and ice cream with the shave ice.
And then just as the guy in front of me walked out with the most intriguing looking combo, I threw all my ideas out the window and said, “I’ll have what he had,” which turned out to be #7 ($3.77).
It was the best decision I made all day! An overflowing bowl of shave ice, no syrup and just lots of condensed milk, a generous scoop of mochi balls and a duo of homemade custard cups. I grew up shave ice-ing on a weekly basis, yet this was my first time having it was custard. The mochi balls were perfectly sized with just the right chew. Some places in the island make the balls too big, rendering the innards slightly undercooked, and others only throw in a few paltry pieces. The wobbly custard towers seemingly melted into sweet milky ice with every passing second under the hot sun, and the whole concoction was gone in a matter of minutes.
There’s only two very hard working ladies manning the place, and they do an excellent job of keeping the line flowing while managing small chitchat with customers, so be sure to tip them!
99-080 Kauhale St
Aiea Shopping Center
Aiea, HI 96701