Nothing says shave ice like a heat wave. While I grew up eating snow-cones, it’s been fun to taste different variations of the dessert around the world as I traveled. You have Hawaiian shave ice, kakigori in Japan, granita in Italy, halo halo in the Philippines, or in Taiwan and China, baobing. Luckily, you can sample some of these icy desserts without paying for the hefty airfare. Here are a few around town that I recommend.
Manoa Shave Ice is your typical cute Hawaiian shave ice located in Lake Oswego. It has over 20 different flavors to choose from, along with a variety of toppings to create your personal treat. We ordered one with vanilla ice cream on the bottom, mochi on top, and sour patch kid/mango/grape flavors. It was a bit sweet for me, but the kids gobbled it up. They have a few tables inside and outside. We ran off the sugar at the nearby George Rogers Park.
Wailua Shave Ice is a very different Hawaiian shave ice option. They make their own syrups and have ten combinations for you to choose. You have to order online and there aren’t really any seats so people make themselves at home on the floor in the Union Way hallway. It is a chain from the OG one in Kauai with the same menu—my favorite is Lava Flow with pineapple juice, haupia foam, strawberry puree, and fresh strawberry & pineapple. My trick to get my kids out of Powells is to order my shave ice and leave when they text me it’s ready for pickup. Their small sizes might even lead me to order one for each of us!
Soen is down the street from Wailua with a different palate. They are housed in Courier Coffee and create the most beautiful kakigori, filled with fresh fruit, homemade condensed milk, and the lightest shave ice. We shared a very large one—half strawberry and half matcha—and devoured it inside in the tiny white cafe while it raged 100° outside. There are a couple of tables inside and outside. Be sure to check their changing schedule on Instagram!
Helvetia Station was a surprise find last week, when I tried this little farm stand across from Helvetia Tavern with shave ice and homemade syrups. They have three sizes and a large list of flavors, many of them made from scratch. We had pineapple, passionfruit, and tiger’s blood—it wasn’t too sweet and the flavors shone with freshness. They also have coffee drinks and homemade baked treats. We stopped in on the way to the coast, but I can see this also as a great pit stop after picking blueberries. They have tables outside, complete with corn hole and tetherball. Come ready—this is a cash only establishment.
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