This summer/autumn has been the hottest I can remember. Many records have been broken, and many of us locals without a/c are really feeling the heat (and oppressive humidity)! When you're super hot, ice cream might be too much, so we reach for our very own cold treat, shave ice. Of course, asking what shave ice is the best is a contentious issue. It's like who has the best hot dog or pizza in NYC, or the best chowder in New England. And as my normal reads know, I've been on sort of a shave ice bender lately sampling the likes of:
But, the last one in Maui, Ululani Shave Ice, definitely left it's mark on me. It was a life changing moment.... All natural syrups that weren't necessarily sweet?! Where has this been all my life... and even worst yet, something similar exists on the island of Oahu: Uncle Clay's House of Pure Aloha. Yes Monsarratt is all natural too, but it's flavor tends to be on the lighter side, while Ululani, and depending on the flavor, Uncle Clay's are much stronger.
Located in the Aina Haina Shopping Center a short 15 minute drive (without traffic) from the Waikiki Beach Marriott, or a longer hour long drive from the Ko Olina Beach Club, Uncle Clay's is unique shave ice shop on a mission to spread the Aloha Spirit and serve up good, all natural shave ice. The shop itself has a very nice, modern, island feel to it, but is very small. Seating can be an issue during busy periods.
The menu is also much smaller than Ululani's, though the portion sizes are just as generous!
To order, you'll first select your size and ice cream flavor if you opted for ice cream. After your shave ice has been made, you'll then select your flavors (2 max).
Finally, you'll choose your toppings. Fresh fruit toppings are $0.85 each and the Dream Sauce, as far as we could tell, was a condensed milk sauce that's a little bit different than the straight up condensed milk you usually get as an option at other shops.
After you're done with your order, you'll head over to the register to pay. Normally the register will be manned by Uncle Clay himself. He loves to "talk story," so don't be surprised if you end up talking to him for a while before actually paying. He's an amazingly friendly guy that really does represent the true Spirit of Aloha.
On our last visit, I decided to try the strawberry and lilikoi with some mochi, while the wife tried the special of the month... Pumpkin Haupia!
I love the lilikoi syrup here! It's full of flavor and has a nice tartness to it. The strawberry doesn't have as much flavor as I'd like, and is a bit too sweet for me. Same goes for the guava. I'll have to give Ululani the win for that one. The Pumpkin Haupia (coconut pudding) was certainly interesting in a good way! It tasted almost like pumpkin pie in shave ice form... yum!
So if you want to try something different from all the usual shave ice, head out to the east side and try Uncle Clay's it's a great pit stop on your way too or from Hanauma Bay, Halona Blow Hole, Sealife Park, etc.