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What is Shave Ice?

Many cultures have their versions of ice-based treats, beloved by citizens of many cultures around the world. From Canadians far to the north pouring fresh maple syrup on newly-fallen snow to Namibians crushing ice and covering it with boar fat, these treats often have regional attraction.

In the USA there are also regional differences ranging from “sno-balls” in the Northeast to New Orleans style “shaved ice” in the deep south to snow cones across the Midwest to Hawaiian shave ice in Hawaii.

matsumoto-shave-ice[1]True Hawaiian-style shave ice is made by finely shaving blocks of ice, not ice cubes. The ice comes off the machine like a newly-fallen snow. That fine consistency holds the flavor syrup much better than larger pieces of crushed ice can do.

That is essentially the difference between a snow cone and a shaved ice. A snow cone is made by crushing ice cubes which causes all the flavoring to run to the bottom of the flimsy paper cone. Compared to a true shave ice, a snow cone is a waste of space. If you did a taste comparison between the two products, there would be a clear, hands-down winner. The Hawaiian shave ice.

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