The United States of Snow Cones

Shave Ice

HAWAII
Hawaiian shave ice has a soft, almost slushy consistency, thanks to superfine ice flakes that readily absorb the syrup poured overtop. Shave ice came to Hawaii with Japanese sugar plantation workers who migrated there in the 1920s and 30s, and quickly became an island favorite (in Japan the dessert is called kakigori). Tropical fruit flavors like mango, pineapple and passion fruit are common, and most stores, like Oahu's Matsumoto Shave Ice offer add-ons like vanilla ice cream and chewy azuki beans that are boiled with sugar syrup and served as a hidden layer under the ice.
The Girls NY Flickr

Equally at home at the ballpark, the amusement park, and the sun-scorched summer sidewalk, syrup-doused snow cones are one of our favorite summertime treats. While the paper cups of brightly colored ice serve the single, sacred purpose of cooling us down, snow cones themselves come in an extraordinary variety of regional specialties, each cold, crystallized dessert boasting its own devoted following. From New Orleans's snowball, to Hawaii's shave ice, to the raspados found in L.A. and the Southwest, here's our guide to the United States of Snow Cones.