Fantastic Feasts and Where to Find Them: Kakigori (Shaved ice)

Hello everyone it’s been forever it seems, a little hectic, and a little too hot to be cooking food all the time, actually. But with the amount of heat-waves and unpleasant muggy weather that has plagued us this summer, I think it’s about time that we talk about a cold treat that can help alleviate this summer heat-stress!

Judge has already talked about the Korean shaved ice treat, patbingsu (팥빙수) in a previous post, and so with that in mind let’s talk about another famous shaved-ice treat found throughout all of Asia: shaved ice with syrup, otherwise known as kakigori (かき氷).

Aw yiss, shaved ice

So kakigori is a pretty simple but delightfully refreshing treat that — believe it or not — anime fans around the world have probably seen in some way shape or form without actually having tried it. As for me, I’m fortunate enough to have lived in Hawaii for about a year, so yes, my three-year-old self once spent summer days on the Big Island munching away at big bowls of fluffy shaved ice and sinfully sweet syrups. It’s a texture thing, really, because properly shaved ice will not be ice-cube hard but rather, light, fluffy, almost airy, off-set by the thick syrup that flavors the whole thing.

And as mentioned before, it’s such an easy-to-make treat iconic of hot summer days that it can be found in most anime as well, in particular the infamous swim-suit competition of Tenchi Universe (Which can be found here, for the curious).

Yeaaaap. Shaved ice and swimsuits on Tenchi Universe.

Anyhow, how do you get started making your very own big bowl of shaved ice? Well, first you’re going to need some way to make shaved ice… Since shaved ice is uh featured as a dessert all across Asia (Ranging from China, to Japan, to Korea, and yes, even the Philippines) my very Pinoy family has invested in an electric shaved ice machine. It’s pretty darn nifty and shaves ice in record speed and with no muss, no fuss, just throw your ice cubes into the shaver and let it go to make nearly industrial servings of shaved ice.

Of course, not everyone is going to have access to the heavy-duty electric kind, and there are definitely cheaper options available in the form of hand-cranked shaved ice-machines. Some purists dictate that this is how you must make shaved ice, by hand-cranking out cubes of ice into the delicate fluffy shavings that make this dessert great. And, luckily for everyone, you don’t have to rush over to the nearest Asian grocery to purchase your own  (Which, by the way, if you live near a Mitsuwa shopping center there are at least two varieties of the hand-cranking ice machines to choose from), but places as American as say Bed Bath and Beyond actually sell them, too. Last time I ventured into the Beyond section I encountered a hand-cranking shaved-ice machine made by Jelly Belly that will (probably) work just as well.

Alright, so, now you have your shaved-ice machine, whether electric or human-powered? Good, you’re pretty much ready to attack this dessert!

The cast of characters:

  • An ice-machine of some sort
  • Ice cubes
  • Your fruit syrup
  • Optional: Condensed milk.

And seriously, that’s it. Pretty much all you need to do from there is, shave out the amount of ice you want/need, scoop it into a big enough bowl or cup, and then drizzle on the syrup as much as you want and or need. Alternatively, if you want a really luscious experience, put some condensed milk in the bottom of your cup and it will soak up not only the syrup but the beauty that is thick and sweet condensed milk.

Note: Make sure you have a LOT of ice, because the liquid WILL melt your fluffy ice mountain a bit

Now there is no way to mess up this dessert.

Seriously.

I mean, it WILL make a mess if you leave the ice to sit in the machine, but otherwise? Definitely have all your ingredients waiting to limit melting, and make sure you have a lot of ice; the syrup and the milk, if you’re using it, will melt a bit of the ice upon contact. So, a mountain of fluffy ice is advisable.

Other than that? Enjoy the shaved ice and keep cool during these heat waves~ :3

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Fenrir

A would-be anthropologist, writer, food historian, and professional glutton hoping to combine fandom with her love of food. Ever wondered what a nug tasted like? Is butterbeer alcoholic? If you've asked such questions and are already drooling at the thought of a big old plate of lembas bread, then you're in the right place

Latest posts by Fenrir (see all)

Fenrir

A would-be anthropologist, writer, food historian, and professional glutton hoping to combine fandom with her love of food. Ever wondered what a nug tasted like? Is butterbeer alcoholic? If you've asked such questions and are already drooling at the thought of a big old plate of lembas bread, then you're in the right place

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