Kakigōri is the Japanese shaved ice phenomenon that is slowly taking the world by storm.
So what’s so popular about Kakigōri? Well you might think that it’s just a glorified snow cone, after all it is made of ice and flavoring. But Kakigōri is so much more.
Whilst a snow cone uses crushed, thicker ice; a Kakigōri has a super soft, melt-in-your-mouth texture that makes you feel like you’re eating a sweet drink. Quite a textural sensation.
One of the many unique, alternative snacks that must be experienced in Japan, it is made using a machine called a Hatsuyuki, which translates directly as “first snow”.
A large block of ice is is placed into the Hatsuyuki machine and the operator slowly turns a handle to generate the fluffy shaved ice with falls into the cup at the bottom.
Different flavoured syrups, sweeteners and condensed milk are added depending on your preference and the end result is a stunningly simple and elegant Japanese dessert.
How to make Kakigōri at home
Making Kakigōri at home might require some equipment and trial and error, but if you have the patience then it’s certainly worth-while to try.
In fact, Kakigōri has taken off in Hawaii where the idea was imported by Japanese workers. So much so that it is even enjoyed by Barack Obama and family as an annual tradition when they holiday on the island.
The flavour options are seemingly endless. Mango, strawberry, melon, cherry, lime, or even Ujikintoki (green tea shaved ice).
These days Kakigōri has evolved in Japan from being a dessert for children to being a more mature, sophisticated dish to enjoy. And what’s more, Kakigōri is only around 40 calories so it’s also the sensible option for dieters.
Want to continue exploring interesting Japanese foods? Check out the story behind Narutomaki, the swirly white-pink circle in Japanese dishes.