Few things are hotter than a South Texas Summer, and an ice cold raspa is a sure fire way to beat the heat. This fantastic frozen treat has become part of our culinary culture, and as outdoor temperatures rise so does competition amongst local shaved ice shops. To help guide you on your journey to find the perfect summer treat, I put together a list of the four must-stop raspa spots in McAllen.
Sno Bro Raspas – various locations
Sno Bro has been serving up some of the best shaved ice treats for just two years, but quickly became a local favorite when it called the McAllen Food Park home last summer. Its bright blue paint job is love at first site on a steamy South Texas afternoon, and its “Go Bananas” menu is what sets it apart. The Banana Bro is a fan favorite, featuring a scoop of vanilla ice cream covered with fluffy, shaved ice soaked with white leche and banana flavors topped with fresh banana slices, a creamy caramel drizzle and crunchy pecans. You can find this mobile frozen treat factory at the McAllen Food Park most days, but check its Facebook page first to make sure.
Young’s Sno-Wiz – 2398 Sycamore Ave
The now ironically named Young’s Sno-Wiz has been in business for 40 years, and it’s probably safe to say every student to ever grace the halls of McAllen High School has had a raspa from this family-owned frozen treat treasure. Located across the street from the southwest corner of the McHi campus, Young’s has been creating its famous homemade flavors for decades and has become a must-stop destination for generations of snow cone enthusiasts. In summer months, it makes 25-30 gallons of different flavors daily. One of its most popular is the Tres Leches raspa that has three different types of creamy, milk flavorings on top of freshly shaved ice drenched in mango, melon and strawberry syrups.
Chamoyadas Jardin – 1716 Hackberry Ave
It doesn’t get more Mexican than Chamoyadas Jardin. No, really, the original location is just across the border in Reynosa, but for the past eight years its McAllen location has been doling out the best sweet and sour chamoyada raspas north of the Rio Grande. I ordered the Chamoyada Especial that has a list of ingredients so long it reads like a who’s who of Mexican specialty treats; lime, chamoy, trechas, diced pickles, gummy bears, sour worms and tamarindo make the list. This south-of-the-border specialty is piled high with deliciousness, but surprisingly this desmadre stays in the cup.
Bahama Bucks – 3817 N. 10th Street
Bahama Bucks is new to McAllen’s snow cone scene, but its surf destination theme gives a laid back vibe that fits right in here in the Texas tropics. With more than 90 gourmet flavors to choose from, you might feel overwhelmed; so feel free to ask the staff for suggestions. I asked for the most popular item on the menu and got the Bahama Rama Mama. It starts with a heaping scoop of ice cream that’s topped with your choice of flavored ice and drizzled with its signature Tropic Crème. I asked for the most requested flavor, and to my surprise it wasn’t cherry, strawberry or even blue coconut. Birthday cake is its most popular pick, so if your sweet tooth needs some sugary love, this is sure to satisfy your craving.
Raspas are synonymous with South Texas summers, and these family-friendly frozen treats have become a tradition for generations of school kids and adults alike. My advice is to round up a group of your favorite people and take a one way trip to brain freeze utopia.