Matsumoto’s Shave Ice is fairly iconic on the North Shore of Oahu. It’s been around since 1951 when it opened as a little grocery store, selling bread and other staples to surrounding neighborhoods sometimes by bike and eventually by truck. With the surfing boom of the 1960’s, shave ice sales started to soar and have continued ever since. Today you should expect to find a line out the door, which is exactly what we found on our visit.
These guys have really got serving shave ice down to a science and the line moves quickly, so go ahead and get in line, browse the menu, and be ready with your order when you get up to the first counter. Order by telling them 1) the size (small – $2.50/large – $2.75) & whether you want a bowl or a cone, 2) the extras you want (ice cream, beans, condensed milk, a plastic cone holder, etc.), & 3) your flavors (up to 3). You’ll have to wait a few more minutes for your order, but not long.
Small Creamsicle, Strawberry, & Blue Raspberry Shave Ice with Ice Cream ($3.25)
Flavors: There are a whole lot of flavors available plus some nicknamed combinations. Their syrups are homemade and include everything from Strawberry to Li Hing Mui. There are also cream syrups (SOOOO good) that have condensed milk mixed into them and sugar-free syrups made with Splenda. I would definitely recommend choosing your own flavor combination (up to 3 flavors), but you can go with one of their pre-chosen flavor combinations if you like. Just don’t choose Rainbow (Strawberry, Lemon, & Pineapple)…there are so many more exciting choices than Rainbow! Some of our favorites: Strawberry, Coconut Cream, Guava, & Creamsicle.
Small Coconut Cream, Guava, & Lilikoi Shave Ice with Ice Cream ($3.25) – See that melty ice cream? That’s what you want! The guava was my favorite!
Extras: Yes, you want ice cream! They put a vanilla scoop right in the bottom middle and it is the perfect temperature to turn all soft and melty as you eat your shave ice. You’ll think the shave ice is good, but then you’ll hit the ice cream-shave ice melty goodness and know you’ve hit paradise! There are other additional “toppings” like azuki beans (soft sugary red beans), mochi balls, li hung mui powder (sour), and condensed milk. If you choose to have your shave ice in a cone, pay the extra 30 cents for the plastic holder – it will make your life less easier, less drippy, & less sticky.
We loved Matsumoto’s! They have the art mastered; it was finely shaved, light, and soft with a melt=in-your-mouth texture. It absorbed the syrup well without melting much. The syrups are very good and the ice cream was the perfect temperature. The prices are pretty good, too. We’ve paid more for shave ice on in the mainland and it hasn’t been nearly as good. We recommend skipping the cone and getting your shave ice in a styrofoam bowl…less mess without having to pay the 30 cents for the plastic cone holder!
Matsumoto’s Shave Ice
66-087 Kamehameha Hwy
Haleiwa, HI 96712