When I was twelve my family went to Hawaii, and I discovered the wonder of shave ice. After twelve years of icky snow cones with boulder-sized chunks of ice and syrup pooled on the bottom of a paper cup, shave ice emerged as the perfect icy treat. The ice was not chunky and hard, but instead snow-life, totally absorbing any flavor you wanted to put on it–and there were many. Also, those kooky Hawaiians dressed up their shave ice with fruit and ice cream. Amazing! However, I’ve never been able to find any ice-based dessert that lives up to my memories of shave ice.
So when I read about a new ice-based dessert place in the area, Pelican’s Snoballs, I got excited. Could my shave ice dreams become a reality? I was able to try it out last Sunday, after a long day of farmer’s markets and Asian markets and other markets. Pelican’s Snoballs bills itself as a maker of shaved ice, and their website lists an impressive array of flavors. Pelican’s has a few locations around North Carolina and recently opened up a new location in Durham on Roxboro Street.
We pulled up to a small blue shack on Roxboro Street at 5:30 and there was quite a line. Well, actually, there was a group of four women ahead of us who just couldn’t figure out their order. The structure only has one ordering window, so snafus like this one can cause quite a back up. By the time we were able to order there were a good ten people in line behind us. A kiddie snoball size, which is plenty big, runs you 1.50. You can also combine flavors. I had wild strawberry (not sure what makes it different from a regular strawberry) and mango. Both were refreshing and didn’t taste hugely of high fructose corn syrups.
And the ice texture? Well, not as chunky as a snow cone thank goodness, but not nearly as fluffy as a shaved ice. Somewhere in between. So I’ll probably go back at some point to try some of the other flavors (100 flavors! Including pickles and toothpaste! Ick!) and also because it is such a reasonable summer indulgence ($1.50 and 100 calories for a kiddie size? Yes please). If anyone knows where to find amazing shave ice that will not disappoint, please let me know!
Again, no pictures, but if you want some check out Carpe Durham.