Kakigori is a Japanese summer sweet made of shaved ice, served with various syrups, and sometimes with assorted toppings which was already existed in 11 century.
The traditional way of making Kakigori uses a hand cranked machine to spin a block of ice over an ice shaving blade. Even though electric ice shavers are most often used, street vendors can still be seen hand-shaving ice blocks in the summer.
When I was a child about 40 years ago, Japanese family privately own this simple “Kakigori” machine to enjoy at homes. However since then I hadn’t had Kakigori for a long long time until Kakigori made a strong comeback recently.
Kakigori shops have started popping up all over Japan. Especially in Tokyo you can see attracting queues for Kakigori laughably. As Kakigori is also becoming a year-round treat.
Popular flavors of Kakigori include mango, orange, strawberry, cherry, lemon, green tea, grape, melon, “Blue Hawaii,” sweet plum, and colorless syrup. Some shops provide colorful varieties by using two or more different syrups.
Especially, many people love “Uji-Kintoki”. It comes with sweetened green tea syrup and assorted Azuki (red beans), sometimes accompanied by white Mochi (rice cake) balls. Uji is a famous town for top quality green tea production, and Kintoki is a byname of Azuki.
Kakigori will definitely give you coolness to overcome the hot and humid Japanese summer! Look for a sign that says 「氷」(Ice) just outside of the shops, cafés or restaurants!
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