Monday, April 5, 2010

Hawaiian Eats 2: Baldwin's Shaved Ice

Growing up, I used to have a journal that was home to all my deep 5-year-old thoughts and dreams. One of the classic entries that my mom always talks about is not a written entry; it is a simple picture of a girl (more like a large circle with stick arms and legs coming out and a mess of scribbles that represented hair) in front of a square that has been darkened by more scribbles. There were blobs coming out of the girl's eyes that represented tears. I drew this picture after I tried to go to my favorite shave ice shop, Baldwin's, in Hawaii, only to find that it was closed.

For those of you who don't know what shave ice is, think snow cone, but instead of chunky, teeth breaking ice pebbles, it is a fine, almost silky, consistency that gives just enough crunch to make sure you have to eat it--not drink it. Now that I think about the name more, Hawaii's version should be called "snow cone", and the mainland version should be called "shaved ice". Oh, well.

Matsumoto's is the most well-known shave ice shop in Hawaii, but Baldwin's is definitely the king and local favorite. Located in the Wailmalu shopping center, about 1 1/2 miles from my family farm, it is a hole-in-the-wall shop that is also filled with candies and Hawaii goodies like li hing gummy bears, chocolate covered arare (Japanese crackers), ika (dried squid), and more. I've tried to convince the family to open a shop in Seattle, but they have yet to take the bait.

I like my shave ice like I like my men, pure and simple (haha, I am kidding, I don't even know if this makes sense, it just sounded right). Above is my favorite, lychee.

Kyle always gets his with ice cream. Above is pina colada, lychee and watermelon. My mom always gets hers with azuki beans (Japanese red beans) and ice cream. Most recently, Baldwin's added mochi balls to their "toppings" you can put in the shave ice. We tried it and it was yummy--added a nice sweetness and texture without being overwhelming like tapioca balls in bubble tea are (in my opinion).

Kyle showing off his delicious after-beach snack! As a side note, Baldwin's is able to make the shave ice "to-go" so we always order an extra one on our last stop before we go home and stick it in the freezer until we head to the airport. Then, we gorge on one last sweet treat before we get on the plane. Of course, with security at the airport no longer allowing liquids past the first check, we are "forced" to eat it before we go to our gate (which can mean a nice breakfast treat depending on the time we fly out!).

Happy Eating,

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