>> Big Island Eats and Shave Ice | Eat the World Los Angeles

Sunday 21 February 2021

Big Island Eats and Shave Ice

USA ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐ŸŒผ

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐ŸŒผ UNITED STATES (Hawai'i)
EDITOR'S NOTE: An updated version of this article (14 June 2024) is available as part of the Historical section of our Substack page. Check that out here:

First of all it should be noted that when dealing with this Hawaiian treat, there is no past tense in name, so no "shaved" please. Dishes of shave ice can be as simple and as complex as you desire, but the present tense is important. While the name is the descendant of pidgin vernacular, the treat is the descendant of Japanese immigrants working on the island using their tools to shave off small pieces from large ice blocks as a form of refreshment.

Opened originally in 1951, Matsumoto's Shave Ice in O'ahu was one of the first and is still a very popular place for locals and tourists alike. Even though afternoons have been pretty chilly lately, it was in the spirit of these classic places that the shave ice was enjoyed before lunch.

The few small eateries on the ground level at the Promenade on the Peninsula mall each have some tables outside not quite in the sun as the angles in February are not high enough. Set amongst the well-to-do neighborhoods of Rolling Hills Estates and the Palos Verdes Peninsula, Big Island Eats & Shave Ice opened last August and is an unexpected place to have a very pleasant meal.

Just like reaching for the most colorful candy in the checkout lane of the grocery, the LavaLava ($5.99, above) stood out from the top of the list like a shiny object. The filtered ice is topped with sugarcane and coconut syrups, then a nice molten flow of dark chocolate and strawberry syrup. A big scoop of vanilla ice cream rests on the top and chips of hard chocolate surround it all. It easily succeeded in making a hot weather visit get on the to do list.

With some recent promotion on Instagram and a big photo in the window, one of their new offerings was also irresistible. There must have been a gasp though when the spicy lipslidah ($11.95, above) was presented, an enormous sandwich that even prevented its container from being closed.

They use about the largest cut of meat ever seen to form their guava chicken katsu, before blanketing it with chopped cabbage and a gochujang aioli of your desired heat level. A side of macaroni salad comes standard with the sandwich, which if we are being honest is impossible to pick up and eat. It is certainly delicious, but might try to do this guava chicken katsu as part of a combo next time since it required a knife and fork anyways.

The combo that was ordered was with kalua pork. Combo plate 1 ($9.95, above) is another good value which lets you select one meat over rice or fried noodles, two sides, and two sauces, of which they have 13 options. The Big Island crunch was picked and is their version of a Japanese furikake, and paired with the cilantro jalapeรฑo, which came recommended for the pork.

The fried onion-y noodles created a very nice base, which became onion overload with the macaroni salad but in a good way. If your Valentine's Day date went well and you are planning a second, maybe just do not eat this combo beforehand. The kalua pork itself was dry, but this could have been the result of being eaten the next day after overnight refrigeration in an unsealed takeout container. The flavors were good, especially with the sauce and furikake.

The loco loco moco ($12, above) has all the bones of a wonderful dish, especially the delicious gravy, but the burger patty, while gigantic and thick, is a bit tough and gristly. It is always hard to turn down a loco moco though. They top it off with eggs done in any way (here they are over medium and perfect), and a generous row of more Big Island crunch. This is a good touch.

The best dish to stand up to takeout, refrigeration, and reheating is probably their garlic fried rice ($11.75, below) which can be ordered plain for $10 or with proteins like fried tofu, guava chicken, or hickory bacon and Spam. On this day the Portagee (Hawaiian for Portuguese) sausage was selected and enjoyed, and since it was enough for four decent portions, the next day as well.


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