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Mango + Sago at Mike's Shave Ice (Image: Brandon Burnstead / Seattle Refined)

No plane needed: This food truck brings Hawaiian-style shave ice to Seattle

It's a tasty treat with the power to transport you to the islands.

"It's really unique. It is ice, but it's light, and the ice melts in your mouth. It's really an experience," said Michael Del Mundo, the owner of Mike's Shave Ice, a mobile food truck serving Hawaiian-style shave ice.

"Hawaiian-style is referred to as 'shave ice,' and it's just a little bit different as far as the texture, the types of syrups you can use and the toppings as well."

For Del Mundo, that means incorporating things like ice cream, condensed milk and Li Hing Mui powder, a sweet and salty plum powder. Mike's Shave Ice also offers a specialty menu featuring natural fruits and homemade toppings.

"I get inspired by other dessert shops and other sweets that I tend to like, and I try to implement them into shave ice," explained Del Mundo.

Born and raised in Renton, Del Mundo got his first taste of shave ice when he was just a kid, visiting his dad in Oahu.

"My dad moved to Hawaii a long time ago, 1999. I eventually moved there in 2010 to help out with the business. He ended up opening a little convenience shop and decided it would be a good idea to serve shave ice in this area. We just rolled along with it, and it did really well," said Del Mundo.

When he moved back to Seattle, Del Mundo wanted to see if shave ice would work in western Washington as well. He started with the Chinatown Night Market, then took Mike's mobile in 2019. Now, the trailer draws a crowd whenever it pops up at local businesses or events around the area.

"It's really overwhelming. It's awesome," said Del Mundo with a smile. "It's a great feeling to be able to provide something people want. It fills me, and our whole team, with a lot of gratitude. We just love being around happy people."

To keep the lines under control, customers place orders and reserve a pick-up time in advance online. Those slots tend to fill up fast because folks are willing to travel for a taste of Mike's Shave Ice favorites like Strawberry Lilikoi, Halo Halo and their most popular menu item, Mango + Sago.

"Definitely, our Mango + Sago has been our number one seller. That's mango syrup, coconut milk, sago, which are mini tapioca pearls, and then we put mochi around it and fresh mangos," explained Del Mundo.

For some, like me, a visit to Mike's is their first time experiencing the magic of shave ice. For others, it's a welcome reminder of home, which seems fitting since each bowl tells the story of Del Mundo and his family, of who they are and where they come from.

"I just want people to be happy. Come with their family, by themselves. You can just enjoy it. Sit back and relax and just take it in. Sometimes in this busy world we're in today, we need to slow down and a bowl of ice, hopefully, can give you some happiness for those few seconds or that moment with whoever you're with."