#14 of 26 Oahu Restaurants

Matsumoto Shave Ice

Matsumoto Shave Ice – Where to Go for Icy Cold Sugar Overload in Haleiwa
Local Expert's Rating:
4.5 / 5
The Bottom Line:

When you want to see innovation in action, just zip on over for icy cold sugar overload at Matsumoto Shave Ice. Their exotic flavors and incredible toppings (azuki beans, anyone!?) promise to delight from the very first bite to the last. Just get ready to stand in line for what feels like a lifetime for a chance to put in your order at this Haleiwa eatery.

- The HawaiianIslands.com Local Expert Team

A Haleiwa staple since 1951, Matsumoto Shave Ice keeps innovation at the heart of all they do. In making their exceptional shave ice creations, they offer exotic and ordinary flavors, ranging from raspberry and sour apple to pickled mango and li hing mui. All in all, they have over two dozen excellent flavor options plus sugar-free syrup in banana, strawberry, and vanilla.

The most popular exotic flavors at Matsumoto Shave Ice hail from Japan, including their tantalizingly delicious Ichiban Special. Upon ordering this imaginative delight, you get shave ice flavored with your syrup of choice, like the yuzu or ume, and set in an edible tray. Then, over that, they add condensed milk, azuki beans, and vanilla ice cream plus five mochi balls.

Hold up, wait a minute there. Azuki beans!? Oh yeah, that’s right. Matsumoto Shave Ice goes all out in the creation of their homemade Japanese red beans by cooking them down in sugar until sweeter than ever. Then, they unapologetically pile them right on top of shave ice before plopping down a scoop of ice cream. Although it might sound incredibly off-putting, it’s anything but. The fantastically sweet beans pair perfectly with the rich and creamy ice cream, giving the shave ice an unexpectedly delightful kick.

Although it’s easiest to just select a pre-made flavor combo from the menu at Matsumoto Shave Ice, the real fun is in building your own. You just have to choose your shave ice size, pick out up to three syrup flavors, and then decide which extras you’d like. Before you can even get a chance to do all that, however, expect to stand in line for quite a while. On a good day, you can get to the order window in 20 minutes, although a 45- to 60-minute wait is more likely, especially during the tourist season. 

Must-try combos on Matsumoto Shave Ice‘s menu include:

Matsumoto’s
A house specialty, Matsumoto’s shave ice features a delightful mix of lemon, pineapple, and coconut flavors. Although it’s delicious plain, you can kick it up a notch with a big helping of ice cream and beans over top. Don’t forget the condensed milk and mochi as well, which are also available for an extra charge.

Hawaiian
For a taste of tropical paradise, you cannot go wrong with the Hawaiian. Made using coconut, banana, and pineapple, this epic combo promises to delight your tastebuds. As with any other shave ice, you can top it with condensed milk, ice cream, and azuki beans if you’d like.

Rainbow
The Rainbow shave ice at Matsumoto Shave Ice features a timeless combo of pineapple, strawberry, and lemon. Together, those flavors offer a sweet and sour kick that’ll leave you coming back for more. Be sure to pair it with mochi at the very least, although it’s always wise to go for the gold with all the toppings, too.

You can share your love this Matsumoto Shave Ice spot by buying their swag and wearing it wherever you go. They have t-shirts, hats, and bags galore, plus household goods, like water bottles, magnets, and even playing cards. If that sounds like just what you need in your life, order up your selections during your visit. Or you can go to their website after returning home and have the items shipped to your location for an extra charge.

Insider Tips:
-If you’d like to skip the artificial colors and flavors at Matsumoto Shave Ice, go with simple syrup, passionfruit, or yuzu.
-For a 100% vegan dining experience at Matsumoto Shave Ice, go with anything but condensed milk, vanilla ice cream, and strawberry, coconut, and banana flavorings.
-The Ichiban Special is the only shave ice on the menu that contains gluten.
-Wondering just what some of the flavor names mean? Take a look at the definitions to find out. Green River means lemon-lime, for example, while mizore is simple syrup through and through.