Posted On Jan 11, 2022
Does it officially summer in the Northern Hemisphere, and what better way to cool off from the heat than with some shaved ice around the world? In its most basic form, shaved ice is simply ice and syrup. However, across the world, there are many variations of the dessert.
Shaved ice that can either be sweet or salty. Potential toppings include syrup, fruits, condensed milk, tamarind, and camote (sweet potatoes) for the sweet Granizadas. For the salty granizadas, ingredients can include pepitoria molida (ground pumpkin seeds), salt, and lime-lemon juice.
A shaved ice with a special “cola” syrup (different from the kind one might think of as cola-flavored), condensed milk, and powdered milk. Usually colorful and loaded with toppings such as ice cream, tamarind, marshmallows, and candy.
In case you were wondering about the name, it is indeed connected to the famous British politician Winston Churchill. The businessman responsible for making the Churchill famous apparently looked like Winston Churchill, which is why local ice cream sellers decide to name it that way.
A giant mound of shaved ice covered in toppings. The ice is grounded up super fine by special machines. Fruit, brown sugar syrup, condensed milk, Azuki (sweet red) beans, and tapioca balls are among the toppings used. Sometimes topped with a scoop of ice cream as well!
Shaved ice with toppings including chopped fruit, condensed milk, syrup, and most commonly, red beans. When the shaved ice is covered with red beans, it’s referred to as Patbingsu. Bingsu is sometimes made with ice that isn’t made of only water, but rather with boiled red beans or fruits.
Shaved ice with toppings at the bottom. Between 20-30 different toppings are used, among them young coconut, chestnuts, taro, and red beans.
Made with crushed ice, condensed milk, and ingredients such as ube (purple yam), sweetened beans, coconut strips, sago (a starch extracted from palm trees), and agar agar. Can often be found topped with a scoop of ube ice cream as well!
Originally made with just shaved ice and red beans. Nowadays, it comes with all kinds of other toppings, such as palm seed, sweet corn, grass jelly, and agar agar cubes. ABC is a very colorful and delicious variant of shaved ice worth trying at least once!
The Bici Bici from Turkey consists of three ingredients: shaved ice, Şerbet, and Su Muhallebisi.
Şerbet is a sweet liquid made by watering down a syrup made from fruit, tamarind, or most commonly, rosewater. Locally sourced rose petals are often used to make the rosewater syrup for Şerbet.
Su Muhallebisi is a gelatin-like pudding made from water and corn-starch. It is always placed at the bottom of the Bici Bici.
Other toppings such as fruit are often added to Bici Bici as well.
Simple shaved ice with syrup on top, but the syrup flavor can vary. Where the US gets unique with its shaved ice is with the large number of syrup flavors one can get on their shaved ice. Some places carry 20+ flavors, with the usual fruit flavors being offered alongside unique ones such as bubble gum, root beer, licorice, and even alcoholic flavors.
United Planet International Programs Coordinator Alexandra Baker always goes to a shaved ice shop in Florida whenever she visits the beaches there. Rather than ordering shaved ice with just one flavor, she likes to go for a very colorful concoction, saying, “I always get cotton candy and bubblegum mixed together, so imagine like a BRIGHT pink color”.
Although the New Orleans variant appears similar to the usual American variety, there are two things that set it apart. One, the name. United Planet’s International Programs Manager Elissa Allen can definitely tell you about that.
“People will giggle that you’re not from New Orleans if they hear you say snow cone. Though Sno-Balls are pretty much just shaved ice with a flavored sugary syrup on top, they’re a staple in New Orleans in the summer to cool down from the heat.”
The Sno-Ball is also unique because many people can’t have it without also eating nachos at the same time! The nachos are usually sold from the same stands that sell the ice. This leads to an interesting experience where one alternates between eating cold, sweet shaved ice and crunchy chips covered in hot cheese and jalapeños. Unique, indeed.