Summertime Japanese Dessert Delight ~ Kakigori

by ebazaar 7 January 2011 No Comment

How does strawberry vanilla syrup on top of shaved ice with lots of fruits on a summer day sound to you. Heaven I bet!

History of Shaved Ice or Kakigori in Japan

Kakigori Flavored Shaved IceKakigori is flavored and shaved ice and a Japanese summer tradition and loved by all young and old people alike. Most people doesn’t know that Kakigori isn’t really a modern treat but it actually has a very long history, dated way back to the times in the Heian period, which is more than a thousand years ago. It even got its description in one of the old historic book and diary by Sei Shonagon, ‘The Pillow Book’, where Kakigori is treated as a summer extravagant luxury enjoyed by noble people in the imperial court.

The ice (before they actually invented the ice shaver machine) was shaved in a steel apparatus which was called kezurihi and this apparatus was flavored with a sweetener sap derived from a vine and that alone is a very precious item. I’m not so sure of the technique they used to preserved the ice in the Heian period but there are facts saying that somewhere during Meiji era, they actually have the ice imported from outside and that is one reason why it is considered a huge luxury.

Japan Summer time delight ~ Kakigori or flavoured shaved ice

Of course, Kakigori is extremely famous during summer. The Japanese loved it so much! And there are a huge variation when it comes to flavors, especially in this modern times we’re living in. You can find it in the streets, restaurants, park grounds as well as the stadium grounds at Koshien Stadium! Where they had the annual baseball championship going on. Popular flavors of Kakigori or flavored shaved ice are strawberry, cherry, lemon, green tea, grape, melon, sweet plum, Blue Hawaii and many more with all kinds of colors and shades. They use condensed milk to sweeten the ice a little bit more and to give that milky taste. In shops, they actually served Kakigori as desserts in small bowl with all kinds of fillings underneath like fruits and red bean paste.

However, Kakigori can’t be authenticated by the Japanese because shaved ice is known as other names in many places all around the world, and they too have its history a whole long way dated back in time. In Korea, shaved ice is called as Bingsu; in China as Baobing; in Malaysia as Ice Kacang; in Thailand as Nam Kang Sai and in Phillipines as Halo Halo. Although these shaved ice different in terms of ingredients and preparation, they are pretty similar by nature. It’s cooling during summertime!

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