As temperatures threaten to climb into the hundreds this weekend, all-natural Hawaiian shave ice spot Wailua Shave Ice comes to the rescue: The Kauai-based chainlet started shaving at 1022 W Burnside St. on June 16, delivering snow cone-like cups of ice, glazed in potent fruit syrups and topped with fresh fruit. If you recognize it, that’s because it’s been popping up as a cart in the Lardo Hawthorne parking lot over the past year (or you’ve visited its Kapaa or San Diego locations).
Portland is home to a number of places offering shave ice — EC Kitchen serves Taiwanese-style shave ice with tapioca on SE 82nd, Ate-Oh-Ate shaves in Hawaiian style at its East Burnside location, and Herb’s Mac and Cheese brings another Hawaiian-style option to The Bite of Belmont food cart pod. Wailua’s focus is on all-natural syrups, without high-fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, or dyes.
Considering Wailua uses local fruit when applicable, "Love Potion #9" may be the place to start, featuring strawberry puree, fresh strawberries, and vanilla bean milk. But the most adored concoction is likely the “Lava Flow,” touting not only strawberry puree but coconut foam, pineapple juice, and pineapple and strawberry fruit topping.
According to its Facebook page, Wailua Shave Ice is now open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., every day except Sundays, when Wailua sleeps in and starts shaving at noon.