Shave ice is one of my favorite Hawaiian treats. Unlike “shaved ice,” shave ice is made up of impossibly fluffy ice shavings that melt almost instantly on your tongue. The tiny shavings really hang on to the syrups, so you get a lot of flavor in each bite, not a cone of ice and a pool of syrup at the bottom.
Matsumoto Shave Ice just may be the best shave ice on the North Shore of Oahu. Nestled in the town of Haleiwa, you’ll recognize it by the long line outside the door even before you see the sign. Some may argue the virtues of other shops over Matsumoto’s, but the line really speaks for itself. The line also moves very quickly, since they have a very efficient system in place to take your order, take your payment and deliver your shave ice. The line pictured below – and only half of it is pictured – took about 15 minutes to get through.
Once you’re in, you choose your flavors and the staff shaves the ice right in front of you before topping it with syrup.
In addition to the fact that the shave ice was delicious, I also felt it offered a great value. The portions were generous (and it was only $0.50 more for a large – which was huge – over a small) and the homemade syrup options were almost endless. You can mix and match the flavors that appeal to you, or you can choose from several popular flavor combinations. I opted for the Matsumoto Blend of lemon, pineapple and coconut – which was a surprising rainbow color – and the Tropical combination of guava, lilikoi and papaya, topped with a drizzle of sweetened condensed milk. I guarantee that your shave ice is going to look and taste amazing no matter what flavor you pick.
You can’t really take shave ice on the plane home with you (you’d eat it long before you got to the airport!), but you can take some shave ice merchandise and Matsumoto’s has an impressive selection to choose from if you want a souvenir.
Matsumoto Shave Ice
66-087 Kamehameha Hwy
Haleiwa, HI 96712