Have you seen this kanji “氷” before? If you have visited Japan in the summer, you must be seeing this a lot! “氷” (read ‘koori’) means ‘ice’ in Japanese. The symbol usually decorates dessert cups with chidori (plover birds) combined with waves and has bright red and blue colors.
“氷” is the symbol for kakigori, a Japanese shaved ice dessert flavored with syrup and sweetener, often condensed milk. Westerners might describe it as a snow cone. In addition to being a popular street food, kakigori is sold at festivals, convenience stores, coffee shops, and restaurants. During the hot summer months, kakigori is sold virtually everywhere in Japan, especially at summer festivals and fairs. It is as popular as yakisoba, takoyaki, and cotton candy.
The origins of kakigori date back to the 11th century, when blocks of ice saved during the colder months would be shaved and served with sweet syrup to Japanese aristocracy during the summer. Kakigori became more accessible in the 19th century when ice became easily accessible to the public during the summertime, and now, thanks to the invention of the refrigerator, we can enjoy kakigori anytime!
Nowadays kakigori is one of the most loved desserts in Japan. You can find it on the dessert menu or at dessert restaurants. Kakigori is no longer just simple shaved ice and syrup. A lot of dessert specialists have a creative kakigori menu. You can check out some pretty and delicious looking kakigori from popular dessert restaurants below:
1. Asakusa Naniwaya
The most popular kakigori here is the condensed milk with various fruit kakigori, which is topped with lots of fresh fruit as its name implies.
Address: 2-12-4 Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Kurogi has an innovative kakigori menu, like this edamame milk kakigori! Would you like to try it (≧◡≦) ♡?
Address: Daiwa Ubiquitous Research Building 1F, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo
3. Kanna Kakigori
This shop is famous for its natural shaved ice, sourced from Nikko's Tochigi prefecture! They like to combine Japanese and Western ingredients to make their own unique kakigori sauces.
Address: 2F, 2-43-11 Shimouma, Setagaya-ku,Tokyo
You can create your own kakigori with various toppings here! Don’t be surprised when you see the long-ranging kakigori menu!
Address: 1-28-14 Kita-Shinagawa, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo
5. Shimokita Chaen
If you are looking for more authentic and traditional kakigori, you could go to Shimokita Chaen. Their matcha and houjicha kakigori are must-try!
Address: 2-30-2 Kitazawa, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo.
If you have not tried kakigori before, but you feel that you know this dessert, you are not wrong! In other countries, there are similar shaved ice and syrup desserts but with different names. For example Baobing (China), Patbingsoo (Korea), Es Campur (Indonesia), Halo-Halo (Philippine), and Grattachecca (Italy).
Have you tried kakigori or other shaved ice desserts before? Which flavor is your favorite? Do you even eat it during the winter season? o(≧▽≦)o Tell us in the comment box below!
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