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Top 12 San Antonio Raspa Spots (Paletas too!)

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The Alamo. The Spurs. Big Red and barbacoa. Fiesta. There are some things that are just puro San Antonio, and raspas are no exception. With summer right around the corner, make sure you hit some of San Antonio’s most popular raspa spots!

kiddos2

Don’t know much about raspas? I’ve got some Raspa 101 for you. While I am NOT a San Antonio native, I did a LOT of research (sweet, sweet research)! Here are some key terms that you should know before getting in the raspa line.

raspa vocab

Raspa—”Raspa” comes from the Spanish phrase hielo raspado, meaning scraped ice. So, raspas are pretty much a variation of snow cones or shaved ice. What makes raspas different is that the ice is very finely shaved and soft, not crunchy like your run-of-the-mill snow cone. (For you analytical types wondering why it’s not a literal translation of “shaved ice”: Because a literal translation would be hielo afeitado, which sounds like your ice was hairy and got shaved with a razor. And that’s just gross.)

Chamoy—A syrup derived from pickled fruit, chamoy has a complex, tangy/salty/sour/sweet taste with a hint of spice. It’s usually red, but you might see it in green too. If you’re looking for a sweet treat with no tang, skip the Chamoy.

Tamarindo—Tamarind, or tamarindo, is a pod-like fruit that grows on trees and described as sweet and sour. The fruit pulp or puree is popularly used on candied straws.

El chupacabra

El Chupacabras from Las Nieves: A tamarind and lime slush with a sour candy and tamarind straw.

Mangonada—A frozen treat eaten with a spoon, mangonadas are made of a mango sorbet and orange or lemon juice and served with chamoy, chili powder, and if you’re lucky, a tamarindo stick.

froz fris mango

Mangonada from Frozen Fridays

Chili powder—A lot of raspas come topped with chili powder, which is referred to by its brand name, like Chango, Tajin, or Lucas.

Piccadilly—A raspa flavored with Kool-Aid and topped with chopped dill pickle and chili powder. (If you see anything that ends in “-dilly,” it most likely has chopped pickles on top.) Some people add gummy bears or other sour candies.

Fresanada—Anything that ends in “-ada” is a usually a fruity treat with the first half of the word describing its fruit flavor. (Mangonada comes from mango obviously, coconada is coconut, and fresanada comes from fresa, which is strawberry.)

Paleta—Frozen cream or fruit pops; basically, delicious Popsicles!

paleta test

Pepino—Cucumber, popularly served in cups with chili powder or lining a raspa or fruit cup.

Pepinillo—Not to be confused with pepino, pepinillo is Spanish for pickles.

Tiger’s Blood—Also popular in Hawaiian “shave ice” (yes, they say “shave ice,” not “shaved ice”), Tiger’s Blood is usually a combination of watermelon, strawberry, and coconut.

“The Valley”—While doing my raspa research, I came across a lot of reviews claiming different particular San Antonio raspa spots reminded them of their favorite treats from “The Valley.” Turns out the Rio Grande Valley takes their raspas pretty seriously too!

Popular Snacks

Duros or Duritos—Commonly seen in the grocery store, these popular snacks are made of fried puffed wheat and often flavored with chili and lime. Their texture is similar to pork rinds, and they look like orange wagon wheels.

Elote—Mexican corn on the cob; condiments can include salt, chili powder, butter, lemon or lime juice, mayonnaise, cotija or parmesan cheese, and crema or sour cream. Can also be served in a cup, or en vaso.

Hot Cheetos with Nacho Cheese—Need I say more?

hot cheetos

Frito Pie—Growing up on the East Coast, I had a dear childhood friend from San Antonio who introduced me to Frito Pie. I always thought her family made it up. Then I moved to San Antonio. Our neighborhood ice cream lady even sells this out of her truck! Fritos topped with chili and cheese, Frito Pie is a delicious, guilty snack that feels more like a meal.

truck

Top Raspa Spots

1. Las Nieves Fruit Cups & More (three locations: 4310 Blanco Rd., Suite #2, San Antonio, TX 78212; 1118 W. Hildebrand Ave., Suite #101, San Antonio, TX 78201; 9835 Marbach Rd., San Antonio, TX 78245)—With three locations, an expansive menu, and plenty of seating, Las Nieves has something for everyone. The raspas are smooth and fluffy with bits of real fruit, and your kids will probably go nuts when they see how many character Popsicles they have available. Great place to bring visitors! (Don’t forget to check out the mural on the other side of the building!)

las nieves logo

las nieves seating 2

las nieves menu best

mural

2. Chamoy City Limits (mobile truck)—This mobile raspa option has caused quite a buzz in San Antonio with their modern renditions of raspa classics and homemade syrups. Call their hotline at (210) 744-0000 to find out when and where they’re available. (Summer schedule will be starting soon!)

3. Big Daddy’s Eats & Treats (228 Cevallos St., San Antonio, TX 78202) is a prime example of how everything is bigger (and better) in Texas. Another great place to bring out-of-towners, Big Daddy’s Cevallos location is a brightly painted house with a gated seating area that makes you feel right at home. And the treats are OVER THE TOP! (Follow their instagram to keep tabs on their mobile truck!)

Big daddys

big daddys menu

4. Frozen Fridays (447 W. Hildebrand Ave., San Antonio, TX 78212)—You can either go to their Hildebrand location, or have Frozen Fridays come to you, since THEY DELIVER! And who can resist a giant pineapple treat named after SpongeBob served in an actual pineapple, fried oreos, and Mangonada Explosions?

frozen fridays

5. Snow Monkey Shaved Ice (1604 Fredericksburg Rd., San Antonio, TX 78201)—Located in San Antonio’s Deco District, Snow Monkey’s serves up all kinds of raspa flavors, including wedding cake!

snow monkey side

snow monkey menu

6. Chocolateka (18720 Stone Oak Pkwy., San Antonio, TX 78258)—This place is really unique, because unlike most raspa and fruit stands, they offer CHOCOLATE.

7. Los Cocos Fruteria y Taqueria (1502 Bandera Rd., San Antonio, TX 78228)—One of the few places you can get raspas and a full meal! Check out the hand-painted murals too.

8. Bahama Buck’s (five San Antonio locations, others nationwide: 8910 Bandera Rd., Suite 212, San Antonio, TX 78250; 12914 Jones Maltsberger Rd., Suite 101, San Antonio, TX 78247; 25035 IH-10 W., Suite 101, San Antonio, TX 78257; 2610 TPC Pkwy., San Antonio, TX 78259; 5851 NW Loop 410, Suite 101, San Antonio, TX 78238)—OK, this is technically not a traditional San Antonio raspa spot, and I pshhhhh-ed the idea of even including it. But after checking out the menu at any of their five San Antonio locations, you’ll see that Bahama Buck’s has flavors that puts most shaved ice shacks to shame.

9. Sam’s Snack Stand (4410 Callaghan Rd., San Antonio, TX 78228)—One look at their Facebook page and your mouth will start watering! Sam’s is also one of the few raspa stands that has anything guava-flavored!

10. Snowcone Addiction (213 Palo Alto Rd., San Antonio, TX 78211)—This place has a cult-like following for its “Gorilla Drank” and “Gorilla Blood” and won the third place spot on the San Antonio Current‘s “Best of SA: Best Raspas or Paletas” last year.

Looking for a paleta?  Be sure to check out:

11. SA Pops (3420 N. St. Mary’s, San Antonio, TX 78212)—Just a hop, skip, and a jump from Brackenridge Park and the San Antonio Zoo, SA Pops is the perfect stop to cool down with the family. They have plenty of traditional treats but are known for their creative and hand-crafted paletas. They were recently highlighted in San Antonio Magazine and were chosen as the San Antonio Current‘s #1 Paleta Shop for 2015.

sa pops

12. El Paraiso (1934 Fredericksburg Rd., San Antonio, TX 78201)—Smack in the middle of the Deco District, El Paraiso is a great place to stop after visiting the Woodlawn Theatre, which is a two-minute walk away. (FYI, the Woodlawn Theatre is showing Mary Poppins June 26–July 26 and Peter Pan in the fall.) 

deco district

el paraiso

Didn’t see your favorite raspa spot in our list? Let us know in the comments! 

kiddos

 

21 Responses to Top 12 San Antonio Raspa Spots (Paletas too!)

  1. Christina August 26, 2015 at 11:00 am #

    Great info on everything I didn’t know! I feel like I could use this as my San Antonio Handbook for treats!

  2. JenniferW June 18, 2015 at 9:10 pm #

    Frosty Frog is a little shaved ice truck in the back of the Barnes and Noble parking lot on Bandera/1604. The owners are really nice, even their.daughter helps run the orders and flavors are great!

    • Amy June 19, 2015 at 4:46 am #

      Awesome! Thanks for the suggestion! I think I’ve heard of it 🙂

  3. Julie June 7, 2015 at 8:58 am #

    Garrafas Nieves Y Mas on mission Rd best mangonadas anywhere!

    • Amy June 7, 2015 at 11:26 pm #

      Thanks for the tip, Julie! I looked into it, and found out that it’s near lots of trails, the prices are cheap, and people love it! Is that a playground I saw on yelp? Even better Thanks for the tip!

  4. Celina
    Celina June 2, 2015 at 9:26 am #

    LOVE this! My sister shared a really refreshing rusas (Mexican Gatorade) recipe you can try at home:
    -Lots of ice, 1 bottle Topo Chico, Lime juice (2oz), salt to taste, and Lucas.

    • Amy June 2, 2015 at 9:30 am #

      Thanks, Celina!!! I was wondering what exactly went into a rusa!

  5. Amy June 2, 2015 at 8:56 am #

    Oh my gosh!!!! Thanks for all these suggestions!!!! They’re great!!!

  6. Megan June 2, 2015 at 3:45 am #

    The Frosty Frenchy! Must try!
    2500 Pleasanton Rd

  7. Johnny Ramirez June 2, 2015 at 1:13 am #

    Snoopy’s Snow Cones 1719 Bandera rd
    San Antonio, TX,

  8. Aleyda June 1, 2015 at 10:41 pm #

    Snacks House just opened in Leon valley! They are really good! It’s on 6825 Bandera Rd.

  9. cindy June 1, 2015 at 8:05 pm #

    Chris and kids on General McMullen

  10. nonya June 1, 2015 at 9:37 am #

    Pinguinos just opened a few months ago on Fredericksburg Road. awesome treats and raspas.

    • Amy June 3, 2015 at 12:16 am #

      Ok, just checked out Mr. Pinguinos on yelp and it looks AWESOME! It looks like a DATE NIGHT RASPAS place. Looks fun. They have a patio, outdoor movies, and funky fridays. Thanks for the tip!

  11. Amy May 31, 2015 at 9:02 pm #

    Wizards on hot wells on the southeast side of San Antonio.

    • Amy May 31, 2015 at 11:28 pm #

      I HAVE just recently heard of Wizards! Thanks, Amy!

      (And Piña Loca, and Mr. Cool!)

      • Amy June 1, 2015 at 3:54 am #

        Excuse me, PiñaS LocaS. Oh, and another person suggested Hawaii’s Coolth too. 🙂

  12. aimee fauci May 31, 2015 at 8:26 am #

    I feel like I need to print this out and put it in my purse! I am loving this!

    • Amy May 31, 2015 at 12:46 pm #

      Thanks!

  13. Sam's Snack Stand May 31, 2015 at 8:12 am #

    Amy,
    We want to thank you for the positive review on our shaved ice business! We appreciate that you brought up the point of the fresh guava flavor.
    We take pride in making our natural flavors fresh and daily ourselves.
    We hope readers will value your feedback and visit us soon!!

    Thank you again!!

    • Amy May 31, 2015 at 12:47 pm #

      Making fresh flavors definitely stands out! 🙂