Hawaiian Ice Cones

Review by: EdSails

One of the most famous sweet items and a must-have while in Hawaii is shave ice. While at first glance it looks similar to the ubiquitous snow cone of the mainland, it is a far cry from the hard, frozen syrupy concoction that is typical here. A true Hawaiian shave ice is made fresh, as the ice is shaved as you wait, with a texture closer to that of fresh snow rather than the snow cone’s hard, pebbly frozen texture. The topping is more of a juice, only slightly sweet, rather than the sweet, syrupy topping on a typical snow cone. In addition, the shaved ice can be topped with various items as well as used as a topping with ice cream.

Hawaiian Ice Cones is the kind of place that oozes local flavor. “I like serving people; I make a lot of friends here”, owner Lucia Caldwell told me. Her other specialty is a Halo Halo, a drink originally from the Philippines, which she described as “a delicious drink, with ice cream, sweetened condensed milk, jello, fresh sweet potato and cantaloupe in the bottom, topped with shaved ice and fresh coconut”.

Each shave ice cone is made to order. Lucia even invited me into her small “shack” so I could watch how it is made. First, Lucia shaves the ice into a cup and shapes it into the cone shape. Then comes the syrup, with dozens of flavors available to put on the ice. Finally, an optional topping can be put onto the shave ice. For those watching their sugar intake, there is a selection of sugar-free syrups available. One delicious shave ice consisted of mango and pineapple, topped with fresh shredded coconut. The flavors were bright and blended well, with the fresh coconut adding an extra flavor and texture boost. It was a very refreshing treat, a perfect example of Hawaii’s local cuisine.

My favorite shave ice consisted of three syrups and an unusual topping. Lychee, strawberry and cantaloupe (Lucia’s excellent taste suggestion) were topped with Li Hing powder. The Li Hing powder, originally a Chinese snack, was originally brought to Hawaii in 1900 and has become a very popular treat. The Li Hing Mui, made from salted dried plums, added an extra depth of flavor, contrasting nicely with the sweet shaved ice. Partly salty, tart, tangy, sweet and sour, it is a perfect example of how Hawaii has adopted other ethnic cuisines into their own local dishes.

Several combination specialties are also available. In addition to the shave ice, Hawaiian Ice Cones has a selection of other items. Besides the Halo Halo, bubble tea drinks are offered. The bubble tea drinks, also know as boba tea drinks, come in a wide selection of flavors. An item originally from Taiwan and now popular across the United States, the drinks are refreshing and the boba pearls, small chewy balls of tapioca, made the bubble tea drinks filling as well as tasty.

Hawaiian Ice Cones is a true Hawaiian gem, a local place with ono (delicious) tastes of the islands. Lucia’s smile shows her love of her business and customers as she creates delicious treats for everyone. The location in Kona is easily accessible, with plenty of parking. Hilo Hattie’s has shuttles to their store from various places such as the harbor pier in Kona, so it provides an easy way to go to Hawaiian Ice Cones across the street. Hawaiian Ice Cones is a “must go” place while visiting the island of Hawaii.

What To Eat

shave ice with Li Hui powder

mango and pineapple shave ice with fresh coconut


Hawaiian Ice Cones Recipes


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