Shrimp Trucks and Snow Cones

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There’s a weird phenomenon on the North Shore of Oahu: shrimp trucks. Now, I live in San Francisco and am very familiar with the whole street food cart craze—we practically invented it, and if you’re in the Bay Area and have yet to attend an Off the Grid event, you’re certified nutso—but even the novelty of the ubiquitous shrimp-on-wheels dining experience took me by surprise.

Apparently, this is no new thing; they’ve been around for ages. (Did the island inadvertently start the nation-wide movement and just not get properly credited as trendsetters? Who will ever know.) I’m not a huge fan of shrimp—and the idea of them coming from a mobile restaurant deterred me even further—but that didn’t seem to stop a lot of people.

I will say that one of the trucks between Kawela Bay and Kahuku allows diners to go out and pluck their own lunch from the shrimp pond, so I have no doubt it’s ridiculously fresh (and tasty if shrimp’s your thing).

One trend, however, I could get on board with was deliciously refereshing shaved ice. Generally, I’m not a fan of snow cones or frozen yogurt or anything that’s trying to serve as faux ice cream, but when I found out there was the option for a snow cone with ice cream, I didn’t hesitate in making my way for the first shop we found in Haleiwa.

That happened to be M. Matsumoto, which is arguably the most famous shaved ice shop on Oahu (of which there are many). One look at the line—which wound its way indoors and snaked around the outside of the building—stopped SVV and me from investigating further. Luckily, you can’t spit without hitting a back-up plan, and when we saw the much shorter line at the still bustling Aoki’s a half block down, we made a beeline for that instead.

But the question at these type of establishments where the menu reads like a novel is always: What to choose?

SVV went with some rainbow assortment of tropical fruit flavors. He seemed to like it OK.

(Appropriate shirt for the occasion, no?)

I opted for half strawberries and cream, half banana—with, of course, ice cream in the center (and a straw with which to drink it). Yum!

(It matched my dress, which naturally was the most important part.)

There are even trucks that combine the two favorites and offer both in one convenient stop. Genius.

(Plus, it’s “famous!”)

How about you: Would you eat shrimp out of a truck? Or, like me, would you be steered toward the shaved ice instead?

*****

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COMMENTS
  • May 5, 2011
    • May 5, 2011
      Kristin

      Pretty picture! The shrimp is most definitely photogenic =)

  • May 5, 2011
    Kylie

    I loved my Shrimp Truck experience 4 years ago! You just brought back great memories from when my best friends & I travelled to the north side and wondered whether to risk eating shrimp off the side of the road (we are all from Australia and are used to FRESH seafood!). We risked it and were happy about it…

  • May 5, 2011

    We have a shrimp cart here in Philadelphia. I would never eat there though…Philly’s not exactly known for its seafood. But that shrimp looks fantastic!

  • May 5, 2011

    Oh man, Matsumoto’s is a MUST! I absolutely LOVED it. Ditto the shrimp trucks. In fact, I’d rather eat shrimp-truck shrimp than grocery store shrimp. So! Delicious!!

    xox

  • May 5, 2011

    I would shamelessly eat shrimp out of a truck in Hawaii, but probably NEVER anywhere else. But I’d also be hard pressed to skip shave ice. My dad went to University of Hawaii and my parents lived together and would take these long drives around and around trying different shave ice places and I remember growing up and thinking it was mythical.

    A few years ago when I ended up on Maui with Garrett (my first time in Hawaii EVER) procuring shave ice was THE major item on my travel checklist (ok, well, one of them). Everyone was telling us about great restaurants and awesome cocktails and all I could think about was that I would finally get to try this little treat that my parents used to share long before I was even a glimmer in their mind.

    My first bite WAS pretty mythical, now that I think about it.

    • May 5, 2011
      Kristin

      OK, pray tell. Why in Hawaii do they call it “shave ice” when on the mainland its “shaveD ice?” Any clue?

      (SO cool your dad went to college there.)

  • May 5, 2011

    Shaved ice, definitely. Makes me think of Rita’s, which is a great chain I used to frequent in Baltimore! But their wasn’t so much shaved ice as it was…hmmm….more like slurpee-esque, with ice cream in the middle? Ah, Baltimore. How I love thee!

  • May 5, 2011

    I’ll take a #3 Large chocolate! Allergic to shrimp. πŸ™

    • May 5, 2011
      Kristin

      In my opinion, you’re not missing out on a whole lot…at least you’re not allergic to CHOCOLATE. That would be a true travesty!

  • May 5, 2011
    kat

    oh man. one of my favorite memories as a kid on vacations in hawaii was snorkeling for hours and then stopping at a shrimp shack to get some freshly fried shrimp. YUM. i’m all about those shrimp trucks when in hawaii. and then shave ice. best ever.

    • May 5, 2011
      Kristin

      You are a true Californian! Me, on the other hand, I never even ate fish until I moved to San Francisco!

  • May 6, 2011
    Mariel

    We ate at the shrimp trucks on the North Shore and I thought it was a weird concept at first but the food speaks for itself. Much easier on the stomach than the halal carts in NY (although those are amazing, too πŸ™‚

  • May 6, 2011

    That shrimp trucks looks amazing, actually anything that comes out of a food truck is usually fantastic but shrimp is one of the best – next to tacos. Oh wait, what about shrimp tacos – the ultimate truck food πŸ™‚

  • May 7, 2011

    I would definitely eat shrimp out of a truck in Hawaii!

    I remember going to Matsumoto’s YEARS ago when I was in Hawaii, I don’t remember there being such a line, but maybe I was less impatient at 13. πŸ™‚

  • May 7, 2011

    Man now I want some shaved ice as well! I bet they were super sickly sweet. They almost the size of your head in those photos. YUM!

  • May 8, 2011

    As far as fashionista goes, I have to admit that you beat me. Ice cream to match your dress, that’s absolutely tops. The color of my spec frames always match my outfit but that’s lame.

  • May 8, 2011

    Mmm, Matsumato’s is delicious–we’ve only gone there at least ten times. The farthest the line hit was the door when we were there, though. Brando tried the shrimp trucks, but I wasn’t brave enough. Plus, I couldn’t decide on which one–there are so many–and he didn’t care which one.

  • May 8, 2011

    *Matsumoto’s*

  • May 9, 2011

    I’d go for both. But having to pick only one – shaved ice ALL the way! And of course, with ice cream in the center.

  • May 10, 2011

    I think I would eat the shrimp truck that allowed you to fish for your own, otherwise I would be concerned about the freshness – I love shrimp though, so I might try it out anyway. I was not convinced about shaved ice either until trying it on the big Island, I can’t say I would eat it all the time, but it is definitely refreshing. I would have never tried Matsomoto’s either as my hubby would NEVER stand in line for anything like that!

  • September 9, 2012

    “Generally, I’m not a fan of snow cones or frozen yogurt or anything that’s trying to serve as faux ice cream” — HA! I usually concur, though I’ve been jumping on the froyo bandwagon recently. But I’ve been suspicious of this whole shave ice situation, so this whole shave ice/ice cream combo news has made me overjoyed.

    • September 9, 2012

      I will eat froyo if it’s coated in candy or some other worthy topping πŸ˜‰

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