Shave ice is a coveted Hawaiian dessert
of a cup of sugar as other places make with a full cup of sugar,” Ignacio promises. This combination allows for brighter flavours that are also healthier, he says. “There’s really a science behind it. Traditional flavouring is just the ones that you can find anywhere else. The natural flavour line is a whole different ballgame.” Science may create the ultimate shave ice, but it’s the artistic components that truly elevate it. The Halo Halo flavour is a prime example. Anthony Bourdain once described the classic Philippine dessert Halo Halo as “oddly beautiful.” The shave-ice version is even more so, with layer after layer of surprises. Initially developed for the Philippine community, the gourmet shave ice is gaining popularity with tourists as well. “It’s a kicked-up shave ice,” Ignacio said. “Even locals get blown away.” Original Big Island Shave Ice Co. does not shy away from a challenge and routinely turns to customer suggestions to drive experimentation. Other popular flavours include a cooling green tea, an energizing coffee, a chocolaty Almond Joy and a root beer float shave ice. A Chantilly cake version of shave ice, composed of chocolate and a rich, creamy frosting, is incredibly popular with locals. Its willingness to test the boundaries of shave ice separates Original Big Island Shave Ice Co. from its competitors. Customers are prepared to wait in long lines in the baking sun for the chance to cool off with their favorite flavours. “They’ll know what they want, and then they’ll see other people with their orders and will get really confused,” Ignacio says. This kind of confusion is what Big Island is striving for — the satisfaction that comes from seeing its customers’ old favourites continually superseded by new ones. So, what truly makes a “broke da mouth” shave ice? For Ignacio, it all comes back to family. “The techniques,” he replies with conviction. “It’s recipes and techniques, passed down to me from my mom.” The Ignacios’ love of family is infectious and reaches far beyond the confines of their truck. Customers’ families are drawn closer as well, bonding as they shovel Technicolor shave ice into their mouths before it melts in Hawaii’s sweltering heat.
Original Big Island Shave Ice Co.’s food truck.
A colourful and tasty array of shave ice flavours are available at Original Big Island Shave Ice Co.