The days have gotten longer and hotter… That means summer has come along! There are many summer snacks out there, but today’s treat is shaved ice. In Korean, it’s known as bingsu (빙수). It’s got ice, and also comes with a variety of fruit and toppings. The most popular variety of this dessert is patbingsu (팥빙수), shaved ice with condensed milk, fruit, and red bean paste. A variety of shaved ice exists around the world, time to explore bingsu, one country at a time.
(*Note: All the names mean shaved ice in their respective languages, except halo-halo)
- Japan – Kakigori (かき氷)
Imagine eating flavored powdered snow, that’s kakigori! What differentiates kakigori from others on the list is that the ice is made from pure mineral water. It’s a fluffy version of shaved ice, light and melts on the tongue! Covered in a sweet syrup that ranges from matcha to strawberry and condensed milk, this delicious treat is definitely worth a small brain freeze.
Much like bingsu has a sub-category, kakigori has a variety called shirokuma (白熊). The name literally means “polar bear.”
This dessert is said to get its start when a cafe made kakigori and put the toppings to make a little face. It’s absolutely adorable!
- Taiwan – Xue Hua Bing (雪花冰)
Xue hua bing translates to “snowflake ice,” but it isn’t made out of regular ground-up ice. This frozen treat is made from thin layers of frozen condensed milk! This milk ice has a variety of flavors, built upon by adding syrup and fruit, that range from the regular condensed milk to green tea. Its texture looks spikey and coarse, but it melts right on your tongue. It’s not sickly sweet, and the milk ice adds a pop of flavor!
- Philippines – Halo-halo (Haluhalo)
Halo-halo is one of the sweetest things you might ever taste. Halo-halo means “mixed” in Tagalog. It sure is a mix of many ingredients, made with ube ice cream, jackfruit, sweet potato, a lot of condensed milk, and more fruits! It’s a colorful concoction and an explosion of flavor. What makes halo-halo different is the texture. It isn’t as dense as other versions of shaved ice since a lot of condensed milk is added into the mix. Some may call it a drink, but it’s still a nice cool snack to have this summer.
- Malaysia – Ais Kacang (ABC – Ais Batu Campur)
Ais kacang is also called ABC! It stands for “ais batu campur.” This dessert has the same consistency as kakigori when it comes to the ice. You can expect nut as a topping most of the time, since kacang means nut, though the combinations are endless! In Malaysia, toppings can include chia seeds, palm sugar syrup, mango, cendol, peanuts, agar-agar (jellies made from red algae), and even sweet corn.
There are many other bingsu out there in the world. From Tokyo to Malaysia, there are endless toppings and ways to make ice. Which type of shaved ice would you want to try? Tell us below!
Written by Stephanie Lemus