As we’ve shared in the past, shaved ice is well loved all around the world, and comes in many different forms and unique flavors. Today, we’re continuing our trek across the globe in search of some unconventional and unforgettable shaved ice creations. On our last adventure, we took you from Taiwan to Latin America to the Philippines. Let’s see where our taste buds will take us today!
Shaved Ice of Malaysia – Ais Kacang
In the southeast Asian nation of Malaysia, shaved ice is a very rich and refreshing treat. Their decadent version of shaved ice, called ais kacang, or iced beans is loaded with a wide variety of toppings—red beans, grass jelly, syrup, condensed or evaporated milk, fruit, ice cream, palm seeds, roasted peanuts, and even creamed corn. This delicious concoction MUST include ice and cooked, sweetened red beans. Only then can it be considered ais kacang.
It is served in street stalls across the country, and each vendor puts their own creative spin on it with signature toppings.
Shaved Ice of Japan – Kakigori
Kakigori has, in fact, been enjoyed in Japan since as far back as the 11th century, when it was a delicacy reserved for the nobility. Kakigori traditionally consists of ice that’s shaved off a large block with a sharp blade, giving it a particularly feathery texture, and it’s topped with ingredients like condensed milk, rice dumplings, sweetened red beans, fresh fruit, whipped cream, and/or ice cream.
Commonly used flavored syrups are the familiar strawberry, cherry, melon, and blue raspberry, all similar to what is used in Western shaved ice. There are, of course, a variety of uniquely Japanese flavors and toppings used, such as matcha green tea, sweetened condensed milk, roasted soy flour, red bean paste, and flavored jellies. Even within Japan, these flavors differ from one region to the next.
In Japan, Kakigori is sold by street food vendors, can be found in specialty shops, and is served in restaurants, cafes, and tea houses, particularly during the summertime.
Shaved Ice of Haiti – Fresco
One of the most popular and most refreshing desserts you’ll find in Haiti is called Fresco, which is essentially shaved ice infused with a moderately thick, sweet fruit syrup, and it is typically topped with roasted peanuts. The flavors you’ll frequently find are cherry, pineapple, watermelon, lemon, and mango. Other commonly used syrups are mint, anisette, barley water, and grenadine. These syrups generally have a very sweet, candy-like fragrance to complement the rich taste. Fresco is a favorite across the nation, and is usually sold by street vendors.
In your world travels, have you come across any intriguing and unexpected shaved ice flavors and combinations? Share them with us on social media or reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please be sure to visit us again for another edition of global goodies!