In my previous post, an eatery that was a childhood favorite and still is one of my favorite places to grab a bite to eat. In this post, I'll be discussing yet another blast from the past, which happens to be right across the street from Heights Drive Inn. Located in the Aiea Shopping Center, Ice Garden is my favorite place to go for shave ice, despite the place avoiding the lime light, unlike more well known places such as Matsumoto's, Waiola, and Shimazu's. In fact, if eating at Heights Drive Inn, Ice Garden would be a great place to pick up dessert, granted you aren't too full from you ono (delicious) plate lunch from Heights!
Anyhow, as previously mentioned, Ice Garden is located in the Aiea Shopping Center. It's actually located on the second level with the McDonalds. It's a pretty non-descript mom & pop type shop manned by two elderly ladies. The ladies here are nice, though they don't speak much english and communicating with them can be a bit difficult. Also, lines can be VERY long here, as it is a very popular place to get shave ice. Just be patient, it is well worth the wait and communication difficulties! You may also notice that there aren't really any seats in the shop or outside. That's ok too. It's all part of the experience!
So, what do you get at Ice Garden? The ladies here specialize in Taiwanese style shave ice. So, while they do have a large variety of flavors you may or may not be familiar with, they also have some very unusual toppings. Most people, however, get one or more of the (artificial) fruit flavors with mochi balls and perhaps tapioca and condensed milk. More adventurous people will likely get the milk shave ice with pudding, tapioca, and mochi balls.
On the left, my strawberry + mochi ball + tapioca + condensed milk shave ice. On the right, my fiancee's condensed milk + mochi ball + tapioca + chocolate shave ice.
Condensed milk + tapioca + mochi ball shave ice with a rich, luscious custard pudding.
Like many old school mom and pop joints, Ice Garden accepts only cash. But, a trip here won't break the bank. My usual order, a #25 (strawberry with mochi) and the addition of tapioca and condensed milk will usually cost me $4-something. In comparison, a plain shave ice at Aulani will set you back the same amount, but comes with more ice. I should also note that there have been rumors going around that this place won't be here much longer. The ladies are said to be thinking of retiring, and with their children unwilling to take over, they will shutdown rather than sell this truly iconic local landmark.