Cat Chat 21: More than shave ice

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Editor’s note: Catherine Toth is back on Nonstop. Although she’ll be blogging primarily on her own site, thecatdish.com, Nonstop will run some of her posts and also her weekly Cat Chat video segment.

Six months ago I walked through Aina Haina Shopping Center and noticed something different.

Doe Fang, a little mom-and-pop crack seed shop that’s been around for more than 50 years, was closed.

I paused, not believing this popular shop — known for its delightful Icee creations, particular the strawberry slush topped with li hing powder — could close. People loved Doe Fang and, more importantly, they loved its owner, Uncle Clay Chang.

But there was a notice taped to the glass door. There was hope. It read that Uncle Clay was going to come back, creating something called a House of Pure Aloha. The dream, it said, would live on.

And it has.

Saturday is the grand opening of Uncle Clay’s House of Pure Aloha (@uncleclays), a charming shave ice shop serving gourmet versions of the island treat. It boasts homemade syrups made with local ingredients from vendors such as Otsuji Farms in Hawaii Kai and Waialua Estate.

“This is my dream,” said Uncle Clay Chang, who was dishing out hugs yesterday to anyone who happened to stop by. “Now it’s turned into a calling.”

Now his calling is to spread his brand of aloha through this beloved frozen treat, offering syrups — pineapple, acai, lychee, coconut, li hing and even kale-spinach — and fresh toppings and homemade sauces.

Here’s a peek inside:

Check out more photos of Uncle Clay’s House of Pure Aloha at The Cat Dish.

Uncle Clay’s House of Pure Aloha, Aina Haina Shopping Center, 820 W. Hind Dr. Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday through Sunday. Phone: (808) 373-5111

8 comments
Dash
Dash

OK, so I happened to be there when Cat and her gang showed up. Gotta admit the shave ice was unlike anything I've ever tried before. Multi-layered and textured. Amazing fresh flavors, that blow away the old sugary syrups we've all come to enjoy and expect over the years. But it was truly the extra helping of Aloha, courtesy of uncle Clay that sets this place apart. Hard to believe anyone has so much love and energy, but he does. No act, just pure love and aloha. And it shows. HOPA!

MyongChoi
MyongChoi

Gotta love Uncle Clay. My first time at his old store, it took me a half an hour to get my shave ice cuz we was talking story so much but it was worth it. Great guy. He really does remember you too.

johngarcia
johngarcia moderator

haha Uncle Clay is a character! HOPA! The shave ice is awesome and the flavors are really unique.

Subtle, pulpy natural. Not too sweet but just enough taste to make it pop. Best of luck to @uncleclays House of Pure Aloha!

M
M

Hello Cat! I got to check it out for sure.

Annoddah_Dave
Annoddah_Dave

CAT: Aaaiiiyyyaaahhh! Ice Fuud! Tenks! Guud job, gurl!!

DianeSeo
DianeSeo

Glad to see Uncle Clay back in business, and I have to say, the chocolate/strawberry shave ice I had there was really extraordinary. My colleague, Ed Morita, will be happy to know they make the chocolate syrup with Waialua Estates chocolate. And the strawberry had that Haagen Dazs strawberry flavor. Next time, I'm getting my caffeine rush and trying the chocolate/kona coffee combo. HOPA!

Cat
Cat

He'll remember you, I promise!