Cool Down With These Shaved Ice Desserts From Hong Kong

Shari Shari Kakigori House opens this June.

Shari Shari Kakigori 
G/F Serendra, McKinley Parkway, Bonifacio Global City
Opening hours to follow

(SPOT.ph) Shaved ice desserts are not a new concept. Our neighboring Asian countries each have their own take on this frozen delight—plus, how can we forget about our own halo-halo? Fun fact: All of these shaved ice dessert incarnations most likely find their roots in 11th-century Japan. This was the Heian period, also known as Japan’s Golden Age. It was then that the aristocrats led the Japanese Imperial court towards a most prolific time. And with royalty at the top of the food chain, there was no request or extravagant whim that was not indulged.

Kakigori is a Japanese shaved ice dessert that used to be enjoyed only by the Japanese aristocracy. The blocks of natural ice from frozen lakes and mountains in the winter were stored in cold houses up to the summer. Then, the ice would be manually shaved with blades, and the shavings were served with syrup made from flower sap and other natural sweeteners. The dessert only became accessible to the masses in the Meiji period when ice became affordable. And from the 19th century to the present, kakigori has remained a favorite in Japan, as well as becoming a worldwide food trend.

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PHOTO BY Jericho San Miguel

When Shingo Take moved to Hong Kong, he also wanted to bring this beloved Japanese dessert with him. The result is Shari Shari Kakigori House, which opened in 2015 and now has two branches in Hong Kong: Causeway Bay and Central SoHo. Both have a dedicated following, as proven by long queues at both branches.

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Darlene Lim, owner of Shari Shari Kakigori House here in the Philippines, shares that it took a while to convince Shingo to open a branch here in Metro Manila. After several trips, Shingo was eventually won over by the young happy vibe and vibrant energy of the city.

The most important part of any kakigori is the ice. Made from the purest water available, the blocks must be cut precisely right for the machine imported from Japan to prepare it properly. Kakigori ice has the appearance of fluffy white feathers or picture-perfect fallen snow. The kakigori master will then delicately assemble the dessert in layers, adding the chosen flavors and toppings one at a time, all the while sculpting the ice so that it remains airy and fluffy. It should also be never solidly packed or crunchy so the texture remains like cotton-candy. You won't have to worry about brain freeze since the feathery ice melts so quickly in your mouth with each scoop. All their syrups and sauces are also made in-house on a daily basis so that customers know that their kakigori comes from the freshest ingredients.  

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Shari Shari Kakigori imports their matcha for the Matcha Cream Special with Kuromitsu from Kyoto to ensure the best quality and that distinctive earthy flavor.
PHOTO BY Jericho San Miguel

The matcha used in the Matcha Cream Special with Kuromitsu (P380) is imported from Kyoto, Japan. The vibrant-green matcha cream syrup is layered through the feathery ice with homemade kuromitsu or Japanese sugar syrup, crushed cookies, and a dollop of whipped cream. The dessert is then finished with more kuromitsu—you can never have too much of this good thing—as the final flourish. Each spoonful reveals the different layers of the desserts: The full flavor of the matcha mixed with kuromitsu and the crunch of the cookies leaving a rich, complex and creamy taste in every bite.

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Notes of citrus make the Earl Grey Milk Tea extra refreshing.
PHOTO BY Jericho San Miguel

The Earl Grey Milk Tea (P380) is a different story altogether. While matcha has the pure green-tea goodness that tea lovers go crazy for, Earl Grey tea is a black-tea variant with hints of bergamot citrus that gives this Shari Shari Kakigori House bestseller a bright, refreshing, palate-cleansing taste. It’s perfect for those who want a delicate, slightly floral, and crisp flavor.

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The Strawberry Special hides layers of fresh strawberries.
PHOTO BY Jericho San Miguel

For the classic flavors, the Strawberry Special (P350) is a year-round favorite with the sweet and creamy strawberry milk syrup blending perfectly with the cotton candy-like ice, plus the whipped cream and fresh strawberry on top.

With crushed cookies, chocolate syrup, and whipped cream, Black White Angel will satisfy your sweet tooth.
PHOTO BY Jericho San Miguel
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Certified cookie monsters will enjoy the Black White Angel (P270), with layers of milk syrup, chocolate syrup, crushed Oreos, and whipped cream. The airy ice hides pockets of crushed Oreo and milk syrup for a sweet surprise. 

Aside from these Japanese-inspired flavors, Shari Shari Kakigori will soon launch variants exclusive to Manila, like a Melon Kakigori. But with the ever-present heat and humidity and Shari Shari Kakigori’s delectable ice treats, you don’t need to wait for those to pay a visit.

Photos by Jericho San Miguel

*Shari Shari Kakigori opens in the second week of June.

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