An icy cold mound of shave ice is the perfect answer to any hot Hawaiian day. The Hawaiian version of the traditional “snow cone,” shave ice (not to be mistaken with shaved ice) is the go to treat for just about any time of the day. Shave ice is a quite simple concoction - a small paper cone possibly set inside of a larger flower cup with a big mound of, you guessed it, shaved ice, piled high inside and then drenched in flavored syrup.
Relief on a hot day — Photo courtesy of Jade Eckardt
The consensus on all of Oahu and those who visit the Gathering Island is that Haleiwa’s Matsumoto Shave Ice is the best place on the island to get one of the tropical treats. Nestled in an old historic building in Haleiwa Town, Matsumoto’s serves up an unbelievable amount of the refreshing treat every day. Of course it’s hard to say how much, but one thing is for sure–they have a consistently long line out the door every single day. The 61-year old establishment is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., except for Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
So we’ve established that Matsumoto’s is the place to go, but let’s get down to business and talk about the best and most tasty way to order a shave ice. You’ll run into a seemingly infinite array of flavors, from classic strawberry and blue raspberry and ro’ot beer to unique Hawaiian flavors like lilikoi (passionfruit), melona (melon), lychee and coconut, and others. Matsumoto’s more than delivers when it comes to flavor selection. Of course, their ice is perfectly fine and delicate, with not a chunk in sight. For the icing on the cake (or shave ice) try a cream cap, it’s pretty darn good.