Summer Classics

Hawaii beaches are stunning, some of the best in the world. But as much as I like the beach, I have to admit, I’m mostly here for the food. Forget about looking slim in a suit. It’s all about the hot sun, salt air, and cold beer. Especially if it’s with a side of Giovanni’s Garlic Shrimp.

Besides the beach, some of the best things that come with Summer, has to be the food. Local classics that goes hand in hand with those marathon days in the sun.

Giovanni’s Shrimp: Kahuku, Haleiwa & Honolulu, Hawaii

Growing up in Kaneohe, we always made our way up North Shore from Hau’ula, which included a mandatory stop at the original Kahuku truck. Two garlic shrimp scampi with lemon wedge and side hot sauce. If you can’t wait, you can pull up a seat at one of the outdoor picnic benches. But if you know, you know–the best place to eat seafood is by the sea (with a stack of napkins). So ono.

This time of year also means lychee season. It used to be free by the bag fulls from my Aunty’s tree in Wahiawa. All-you-can-eat lychee has to be one of my favorite childhood memories.

Prices are high today–$20 for two Ziploc bags, so I make sure we do it right.

Ice cold. Never room temp. Outside, in the sun over newspaper or brown bags. Shirts off, if can. Go all out. Get messy. Anything less is sacrilege.

Spam musubi is a year round staple, but there’s just something about eating it on the beach. Local style power bars with an edible wrapper. No utensils. No napkins needed. Literally made for the occasion. If you’re lucky enough to get homemade, even better. Nothing says I love you more than mom, or in my case my husband, waking up early to pack a cooler.

Matsumoto’s Shave Ice 66-111 Kamehameha Hwy #605, Haleiwa, HI 96712

Of course you can’t go home without a shave ice stop. Yum on any day, but beach days scream for an ice cold tasty treat. Rainbow with vanilla ice cream and yuzu mango lychee with azuki, mochi balls and snow cap.

Lucky for us we have so many choices now, but if we’re talking classics, it has to be Matsumoto’s. The 70 yr. old institution whose name is synonymous with shave ice around the world, is just as much about the experience as it is about the shave ice.

Matsumoto’s, Giovanni’s, roadside fruit stands, musubis on the beach. Classics that have become a right of passage. I live for these days. Hope they never change.

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