Shave Ice + The Mai Tai

Instead of Matsumoto, which is on every tourists’ list, we headed next door to Aoki’s. She told us she preferred Aoki’s over Matsumoto’s. Figuring she’s a local, why not. I’ll follow her advice.

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Wanting to get something original and somewhat unique, I ordered the Hawaiian local flavor: pineapple, mango and li hing.

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Before leaving on my trip, I kept hearing about this thing called li hing. There’s powder form and also a salty dried plum version. My mom used to always buy the plum version and I would rarely eat it as a kid because it was extra tart and sour. My friend also introduced me to dropping the same dried plum into beer, a Taiwanese favorite, but it didn’t change the beer flavor too much.

So back to Aoki’s, I was intrigued to taste this powder form. The li hing was generously sprinkled throughout my tall shave ice.

The finely shave ice had the texture of powdered snow and was so light and airy. The pineapple and mango syrup was sweet and tasted like candy, while the li hing added a touch of saltiness. Delicious. I could eat this every day and understood why all the locals would grab shave ice after a long day at the beach.

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My co-worker and his friends highly recommended another shave ice place, Ice Garden, back in Aiea. They said it was better, different (because of the toppings) and operated by two old, interesting Asian ladies.

Darn! We were JUST there this morning and could have tried this amazing place. It was at the bowling alley shopping center, so we were so close, but had no idea. Jason and I tried going back later in the day, but missed it by an hour (they close at 5). It’d definitely be added on my restaurant list, for when we come back to Oahu.

Again, having no plans and playing by ear, we went back to Turtle Bay Resort for a drink on the beach and to relax a bit more.

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Every single cocktail menu we saw in Hawaii listed mai tai. We both figured we should give it a shot, eat and drink authentic Hawaiian things, even though the mai tai’s back home never tasted that good.

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The best mai tai we’ve both ever had! According to Wiki, a mai tai is made of rum, curaçao liqueur, lime juice and associated with “Polynesian-style” settings. I was upholding all the requirements, especially the latter: beachside, sunset, palm trees and sand in between my toes. I was certainly in the Hawaiian tropics and no longer in busy San Francisco.

 

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