Hawaii Five-0 fans know to ask for the “Five-0 Rainbow” when they go to Waiola Shave Ice. The lilikoi, lychee and cotton candy combo became an official flavor after Kamekona (Taylor Wily) offered it to the show’s three main characters during a first season episode. In fact, Waiola has become a reoccurring name in Five-0 that continues to share its sweetness with Hollywood and real-life customers today.
Order shave ice in three easy steps. Choose your size, flavors and toppings.
You’ll find Waiola in two places on Oahu; the original one is tucked in a local neighborhood and has been serving the community for decades. It’s even managed to keep its vintage facade till this day, easily qualifying as one of the many hole-in-the-walls for visitors to stop at while in the islands.
The second place is like the original Waiola’s hipper and younger sibling. Right off of Kapahulu Avenue, just minutes from Waikiki, this shop is also squished between local residences and could be easily mistaken for a house itself…if it weren’t for its bright blue and yellow exterior. Originally, it was located on Kapahulu Avenue but has since moved a couple blocks mauka (toward the mountain) to Mokihana Street. There are lots of shaded tables and benches outside. The inside seems to be partitioned off as part souvenir shop and part crack seed store. But what I like most is that despite its fresh coat of paint, it still manages to pass as another hole-in-the-wall. However, this one is in an especially convenient place for refueling after a long day in the sun and surf.
Vanilla, meet honeydew. Everyone, meet Mr. Waiola.
You’re probably wondering how the shave ice here compares to that of Matsumoto’s, the world-famous one on the North Shore. Waiola is, hands down, my favorite shave ice place. Not only because it’s closer to home, but because it’s got a texture so smooth, it slides down your throat like ice cream would; except, this version’s much healthier than ice cream!
Speaking of flavors. Waiola has tons – from local ones like lilikoi and guava to the classics, like vanilla and strawberry. You can liven up your concoction even more than it already is by adding ice cream, azuki beans, chocolate, mochi balls, li hing mui and/or condensed milk to the mix. My personal favorite? Azuki beans, a sweetened red bean paste from Asia that you will likely find in Asian pastries from Chinatown.
WAIOLA SHAVE ICE (MŌILIILI) • 2135 Waiola St., Honolulu, HI 96826 • 808-949-2269 • Parking in lot or on street; near bus route
WAIOLA SHAVE ICE (KAPAHULU) • 3113 Mokihana St., Honolulu, HI 96816 • 808-735-8886 • Parking in front or on street; near bus route
Posted by: Bruce Fisher