Mahalos Matsumotos

. . . with my oldest friend and her fabulous family.  Every moment is a special moment when it’s with a loved one – even if you’re just loading the dishwasher.

So really, the “best” shaved ice in Hawaii is just a cherry on top a wonderful day.  But since I’ve already been grateful for rendezvous with dear friends, I’ll give the credit to dear Matusmotos today.  Tasty, memorable, and worth a drive in flash flood rain.


And just what is shaved ice?  Just ask Wikipedia:

Shaved ice is a large family of ice-based dessert made of fine shavings of ice or finely crushed ice and sweet condiments or syrups. Usually, the syrup is added after the ice has been frozen and shaved—typically at the point of sale. However, flavoring can also be added before freezing. The dessert is consumed world-wide in various forms and manners. Shaved ice can also mixed with large quantities of liquid to produce shaved ice drinks.

Many shaved ices are confused with “Italian ice“. Italian ice, also known as “water ice”, has the flavoring incorporated into the ice before it is frozen (although some commercial brands are flavored after production). Shaved ice—especially highly commercial shaved ice (such as that found in food chains or from street vendors)—is often flavored after the ice has been frozen and shaved. Snow cones are an example of shaved ice that is flavored after production.




Syrups used for flavouring shaved ice

The first documented “shaved ice” dessert was made in 27 B.C.E. The Roman Emperor Nero sent slaves to collect snow from nearby mountains that he then flavored with a fruit and honey mixture.[1]

In imperial Japan, similar things were happening[citation needed]. The wealthy lived in warm areas that were near the snow capped mountains. These wealthy would send poor people to retrieve the snow, which they would flavor[citation needed]. As Japanese immigrated to Hawaii, they brought this tradition with them. Like Rome and Japan, in Hawaii warm areas are close enough to snow capped mountains that snow can be brought into the warm areas without melting.



[edit]North America

A machine used for shaving ice for shaved ice desserts

  • In Canada and the United States, they are commonly known as “Snow cones” or “Snowballs“, which consists of crushed or shaved ice topped with sweet fruit flavoured syrup.
  • In Cuba and many Cuban neighborhoods, they are known as “granizados,” after the Spanish wordgranizo for hailstones. In Miami neighborhoods, they are often sold in conjunction with other frozen confections in ice cream trucks and stands throughout the city. A classic Cuban flavoring for granizados is anise, made from extracts of the star anise spice.
  • In the Dominican Republic and many Dominican neighborhoods, snow cones are called “frío frío” or “Yun Yun“. “Frío” is the Spanish for “cold”.
  • In Hawaii, they are known as “Hawaiian shave ice” or just Shave ice, where condensed milk and azuki beans are often added as toppings while a scoop of vanilla ice cream is common at the bottom of the cone, per the influences of the East Asian vendors.
  • In Mexico (as well as in some Spanish speaking communities of the Southwestern United States, Texas, and California), a finely shaved and syruped ice is called a “raspa“, or “raspado“.[2] Raspar is Spanish for “scrape”; hence raspado means “scraped”, referring to the ice. Raspados come in a wide range of fruit flavors and classic Mexican flavors, such as leche (sweetened milk with cinnamon), picosito (lemon and chili powder), chamoy (fruits and chili sauce), cucumberguanabanaguavapistachiotamarind, among others.

Artistic representation of a Piragua cart

  • In most of Puerto Rico and many Puerto Rican neighborhoods, they are named “Piragua“, because they are made in pyramid shapes and aguameans water in Spanish. In the western towns such as Mayaguez they are called “raspao“. Most Puerto Rican snow cone vendors use street snow cone carts instead of fixed stands or kiosks. During the summer months in Puerto Rican neighborhoods, especially in New York and Philadelphia, “piragua” carts are often found on the streets and attract many customers.

[edit]Central and South America

Central and South America shaved ices have influences from both North American and Japanese cultures

  • In Bolivia they are known as “Shikashika“, where the ice is collected from the nearby mountains
  • In Chile is called “mermelada con hielo” (ice jam), is a local curiosity that is widely consumed in Rancagua, in central Chile, rather than leading juice flavoring was jam
  • In ColombiaPanama and Venezuela they are called “Raspados” or “Raspaos” and are also topped with condensed milk and fruit flavors.
  • In Costa Rica they are called “granizados” or “copos“; and when they have ice cream on the top, they are called “churchills”.
  • In El Salvador and other countries of the Region, they are known as “Minutas
  • In Guatemala they are called “Granizada” and are topped with condensed milk and fruit.
  • In Guyana they are known as “Crush Ice” or “Snow Cone” and are topped with condensed milk.
  • In Peru they are known as “cremolada” and in some parts of the country as “raspadilla“.


[edit]East Asia

In East Asia shaved ice desserts are not only flavoured with various types of syrup it is also common to add solid ingredients such as Red bean paste, jellies, canned fruitsjams, sweetened condensed milk, and many other types of sweetened foods to vary the textures of the ice dessert.

  • In Chinese cuisine it is known as “Bàobīng” (刨冰; Mandarin Pinyin) or Chhoah-peng (剉冰; Taiwanese POJ). There are many varieties in Taiwan. Some of them are topped with fresh fruits, fruits syrup and condensed milk. Some of them are topped with sweetened beans, glutinous rice balls and brown sugar syrup, while others will even use seafood. Some vendors use milk ice to make finer shaved ice, and some vendors may sometimes use a hand blade to shave block ice in order to produce rough crushed ice.
  • In Japan the ice is known as “Kakigōri” (かき氷; かきごおり) and topped with flavors fruit flavoured or plain syrup. Some shops provide colorful varieties by using two or more different syrups. To sweeten Kakigōricondensed milk is often poured on top of it. During the hot summer months,kakigōri is sold virtually everywhere in Japan. Some coffee shops serve it with ice cream and red bean paste. Convenience stores may also sell it already flavored and packaged similar to ice cream.
  • In Korea the shaved ices are known as “Patbingsu” (팥빙수). It is topped with sweetened red beans, (or pat),[3] canned fruits, and soybeanpowder. Many other varieties can be found throughout the country.
  • In Malaysia and Singapore it is known as “Ice kacang” which consists of shaved ice topped with sweetened syrup of various colours and flavours, condensed and evaporated milk, and sometimes also durian pulp or vanilla ice cream. Beneath the ice sweetened red beans, canned fruit, attap seeds and grass jelly are usually added. Electric ice shavers are often used; though some vendors may use a hand blade to shave the ice in order to produce a rough texture. A variation of this would be Cendol which is shaved ice with sweet green-coloured glutinous rice noodles drizzled with palm sugar; it is usually accompanied with kidney beans and canned sweetcorn.
  • In the Philippines it is known as Halo halo which consists of shaved ice topped with sweetened beans, nata de coco and ice cream. “Halo-halò” literally means “mix-mix” in Tagalog.
  • In Thailand, this kind of cold dessert is known as “Nam Kang Sai” (น้ำแข็งไส) and very popular. The differences from other countries’ shaved ice is that in the Thai version the toppings (mixings) are in the bottom and the shaved ice is on top. There are between 20–30 varieties of mixings that can be mixed in. Among them are young coconut that have been soaked in coconut milk, black sticky rice, chestnuts, sweetened taro, red beans, sarim (thin strands of cooked flour that is very chewy and slippery) and many more.
  • Chinese Baobing with strawberries and sweetened condensed milk

  • Fillipino Halo–halò with brightly coloured toppings

  • Japanese Kakigōri with green tea (matcha) flavoring

  • Korean Patbingsu with soft-serve ice cream and candied ingredients

[edit]South Asia

In South Asia, snow cones are enjoyed as a low-cost summer treat, often shaved by hand and served on a stick or a cup.

  • In Pakistan it is often referred to as Gola ganda (Urduگولا گنڈا)
  • In India as Chuski. Chuski is flavored with sugar syrups with fruit flavors and several other indigenous flavors like rose, khus, kala-khatta. It is often topped with condensed milk. In Gujarati it is called “baraf da gola”.

[edit]Middle East

In Israel they are known as ‘Barad’, which is Hebrew for hail (ברד), following the Spanish Granizado. Sold throughout the hot summer on kiosks, and independent stands installed on the streets and the beaches, they come in multiple fruit flavors.


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