Without further ado, the winner is...Waiola's Shave Ice.
Matsumoto's was still good. The rainbow w/ice cream shave ice includes three flavors: Pineapple, Vanilla, and Strawberry over vanilla ice cream. Again, the large is PLENTY big enough for 2 people. The benefits are that it is not as sweet as Waiola's sundae shave ice. This makes it somewhat more refreshing, but not enough to warrant victory. It was not as sweet, but both were pretty sweet. The ice cream mixed with the shave ice was the best part, but you really have to dig for it. It takes a while to eat your way through the mound of shave ice they put on top. Another good thing about Matsumoto's is that it is, in fact, cheaper than Waiola's. A large at Matsumoto's is $2.75, or for another $0.25, you can get a highly-recommended (and re-usable) holding cup to prevent dripping on your hands. A large at Waiola's is $4.50.
The primary negative of Matsumoto's (and the reason it lost in the taste test) is texture. It was too "commercial." Matsumoto's was much closer to a snow cone than "shave ice." Matsumoto's is so popular and the line is so constant that they "pre-shave" their ice. They then transfer it to a freezer where they scoop it out like ice cream. This has the unfortunate side effect of slightly melting the ice and re-freezing it such that it more closely resembles an ice block than "snow." Waiola's, on the other hand, is shaved for each individual customer and hand-packed by the attendant. This makes a world of difference in terms of texture. Matsumoto's also seems more commercial in the sense that you can buy t-shirts, coffee mugs, hats, and other such tourist crap while in the store. Waiola's is hidden in the middle of a neighborhood available only to locals who know to go there.
|The Real Waiola's Shave Ice|
UPDATE: In looking through other Shave Ice reviews, I came across Aoki's, which is next to Matsumoto's on the North Shore. It is separated only by a small church and parking lot. I actually saw Aoki's when we went to Matsumoto's, but given that no one ever mentions it in serious Shave Ice debate, I ignored its existence. Anyway, it turns out that at least one person finds Aoki's to be better than Matsumoto's. Therefore, it seems that another comparison/competition needs to be held.