Gus’ Shave Ice

Review by: Maggie Rosenberg & Trevor Hagstrom

Shave Ice is both the neighborhood scoop shop and the corner slushy machine for Hawaiian residents, but we don’t always share their enthusiasm. Artificially neon-colored syrups just don’t get us as excited as freshly churned ice cream. Sure, on a hot day they offer refreshment, but these chemical tropical flavors aren’t nearly as exciting as the fresh ripe exotic fruit that hangs overhead.

Luckily, we found Gus’ Shave Ice, a bus that celebrates the abundance of tropical fruit on Maui by freezing it into giant blocks for shaving.

Gus’ is a roving family operation run out of a Volkswagen Bus. The sign is an artistically painted surfboard strung up on the rack. Gus is the name of the bus. They have regular business hours on Kihei next to a few other food trucks, but sometimes the Gus goes off on adventures. The ices here go for the standard rate, and feel like a great value considering their whole-fruit ingredients.

Gus’ offers the usual assortment of syrup-based shave ice flavors for traditionalists, but the natural menu is delightfully syrup free. The resulting ice has a normal shave ice texture but with only the natural sweetness and flavors of Hawaiian fruit. In the POG the soft powdery texture is just laced with with passionfruit, orange and guava. It’s refreshing, if a bit too subtle. It reminds us of the bottom of a juice served over crushed ice. The lighter, less syrupy ice means that you will probably want more, which makes ordering a large a good idea.

We were much more delighted by coconut milk-based shave ice. Blocks of coconut milk are frozen with fruit purees. When shaved, the frozen coconut milk behaves differently from water-based shave ice. It cascades from the shaving machine in long ribbons rather than in a snowfall. It resembles coconut shavings, but made of ice. It doesn’t look like it, but it will melt in your mouth as a liquid. We get ours with mango, which is an appropriately rich fruit to stand up to the milky ice. As it melts, it becomes a bit sticky and you can slurp up the shavings of fruity coconut milk like noodles. It’s a totally novel shave ice experience, and our favorite that we’ve tasted yet.

What To Eat

Mango Coconut Shave Ice

POG Shave Ice


Gus’ Shave Ice Recipes


What do you think of Gus’ Shave Ice?

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