the best shave ice in oahu

spoiler alert: matsumoto’s is not number one. sorry, obama.

when it comes to shave ice, the most important thing is the texture. it has to be creamy and not the least bit crunchy. then the flavor. natural is preferred. not too sweet — and you have to have condensed milk as a topping.

here’s how we (mostly steven) ranks shave ice on oahu:

  1. waiola — green tea with condensed milk
  2. the local hawaii — pineapple with dulce de leche
  3. matsumoto’s — coconut with mochi + condensed milk


waiola is a honolulu staple, and steven’s true north when it comes to ranking shave ice. i have to admit, i’ve never tasted anything as glorious as their green tea + condensed milk combo. i didn’t take pictures, because i was worried it was so perfect it would break my camera.

just kidding.

i just somehow didn’t have a camera the 5 times we went there. oops.


the local hawaii was almost perfect, except their ice was a little too crunchy. but the flavors are naturally made from local fruit.

matsumoto’s is only on the list because it is oahu’s most popular shave ice shop. but obama and his family went there a few years ago, and now it’s so popular the line is like an hour long. also, everything is too sugary and the ice is too crunchy and the colors are too fake. meh.


lil cousins hugging after some shave ice snacks!


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he's a culinary institute of america grad in medical school. she's a journalist, who prior to their meeting, used the oven solely for storage.

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