Banana splits and sundaes are so last year. Now it's all about the shaved ice. Choosing one or more flavors for whatever mood you may be in, topped with a splash of cream couldn't be sweeter. Go for the fruit flavors if you're craving that refreshing taste, or birthday cake or cotton candy flavors if the sweet tooth kicks in.
And if you can't release your grip on that pint of ice cream, add a scoop of ice cream to your shaved ice. Here are our five favorite places to score a heap of shaved ice in metro Phoenix.
See also: Raspados: Shaved Ice from Oasis Raspados
Bahama Buck's Stepping into Bahama's Bucks is like entering a tiki party celebrating the awesome shaved ice. Bahama's Bucks has dozens their own gourmet flavored syrup, making their flavors standout from the others. Make your order a BRM -- Bahama-Rama-Mama -- to get a scoop of vanilla Blue Bell ice cream added to your order. The way the ice is packed inside the cup by hand gives it a smooth texture and it doesn't melt right away. The heap of ice on top looks like snow capped mountains with cream on top. Each order is dressed with a mini umbrella.
Kamana' Wana Hawaiian Treats If you close your eyes while eating Hawaiian shaved ice, you can almost hear the waves crashing on the North Shore...not really. But you can get a taste of the tropical oasis at Kamana' Wana Hawaiian Treats. Kevin, the owner, runs his shop solo, taking the time to create each shaved ice for his customers, many of whom he knows by name. We love the horchata flavor with its subtle hint of cinnamon. Not only can customers add ice cream and cream to their shaved ice, but mochi bits can be added for only 50 cents. Other Hawaiian treats are on the menu, such as pitaya bowls made with dragon fruit, oats, bananas and blueberries. Shaka, brah.
Tropical Sno This little spot is situated in the middle of a parking lot that houses a Burger King and pizza place among other small businesses. The only seating is outside, and orders are placed at the window, next to the large menu that lists 26 flavor mixes such as Tiger's Blood, made with strawberry and coconut, or peaches and cream with peaches, cream on top and a scoop of ice cream inside for an additional 65 cents. Or you can choose three of your own favorite flavors to make your own concoction, with flavors ranging from birthday cake to tutti frutti to coffee. A small size comes out looking like a large with shaved ice piled well over three inches above the rim of the cup. The streaks of cream over the top make it almost irresistible. We appreciate the cool saucers that come with all orders to catch any melted ice so nothing gets wasted.
Zoni Shave Ice Zoni is a fairly new place with great offerings. They serve up Hawaiian shaved ice with a selection of six Blue Bell ice cream flavors from vanilla to coffee. One of Zoni's house specialties is Grandma's Apple Pie, with apple syrup, a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the bottom and caramel sauce drizzled on top. Syrup flavors include cucumber melon, lychee and grape. The great thing is the flavors aren't heavy with sugar so there's no way to suffer a sugar coma.
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Snoh Ice Shavery Get the best of both ice cream worlds: creamy ice cream and shaved ice. Snoh freezes their ice and shaves it to create a fluffy product that is cloud-like at first, and then creamy as you start to swallow it. Some of the ice cream flavors, or "snoh flavors," include honey dew, taro and Thai tea. Snoh has fun and eclectic topping choices such as lychee fruit, almond cookies and mochi. Top off your shaved ice with condensed milk, black sesame milk or butterscotch. Now go out and get some fluffy goodness.