Saturday, December 24, 2011

Matsumoto's: Shave Ice with a Surprise

My sister Aulani and I getting really excited!
It's a given.  If you visit the North Shore, you stop at Matsumoto's. 

I love stopping at Matsumoto's because that means two very important things have happened: I'm home! And we're driving to the North Shore!

Of course there are probably hundreds of shave ice places on Oahu, but Matsumoto's has always been my go-to stop since I was a little girl.  (By the way, say "shaved" and you'll get a slap on the head from a local.  You're welcome, Greg).

The drive to the North Shore is one of my favorite things to do when I'm back at home visiting family and friends.  It's not hard to see why.  The gist is, you drive around the beautiful island viewing some of the most gorgeous scenery in the world, occasionally stopping to eat some of the best food in the world.  Perhaps you can see why I like this idea.

Wonderful Waimea Bay

Lush Pali Lookout

And as much as I love New York, and all of the wonderful places I have had the privilege of visiting, for me, Hawaii has the best of everything, especially when it comes to food. 

The iconic sign that hangs above the little shave ice shack
Shave ice is such a lovely treat, especially after a hot day at the beach.  So after a stop at Waimea Bay, we pulled into a pretty packed Matsumoto's parking lot.  Normally we battle it out with vans and buses full of tourists, and a line snaking around the corner, but today was our lucky day: a parking spot under the trees, and a line of only 20 people!  Score!

One of the reasons I love this place is that even though it's incredibly successful, they've kept everything pretty much the same, just as I remember it years ago.   

So many flavors, so little time!
Despite the abundance of flavors, I tend to stick to a few favorites: coconut, guava and lychee.  Trust me, I've tried almost every flavor, and I officially declare these three as the best.  
Icy, sugary, bean-filled yumminess

The really cool thing about Matsumoto's is that in addition to the finely shaved ice, you can choose your own surprise!  At the bottom of your little cone, you can choose from ice cream, azuki beans or both.  I was feeling beany so I went with the lovely, slightly sweet azuki beans. 

Getting down to the good stuff

After slurping every last drop of sugary syrup, fishing out every last bean, and taking a bite of my mom's ice cream, we bid farewell to our favorite little shave ice stop. 

A hui ho, Matsumoto's.

Matsumoto Shave Ice
66-087 Kamehameha Hwy
Haleiwa, HI 96712


  1. You lucky girl!!! Wish I were home for the holidays, Kalei! My favorite is Hawaiian Rainbow w/ice cream. Love your blog!

  2. Thanks Nancey! It's so funny, my mom was just asking about you! It's so nice being home, especially for all the awesome food! Hope you're well!