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Kakigori: My Favorite Japanese Treat You Need To Try This Summer!

A simple, sweet, and refreshing Japanese dessert to try in a matsuri or at home!

Lemon and Strawberry flavored kakigori as seen in the anime Dropkick On My Devil!
Dropkick On My Devil! Season 1, Episode 2 || Credits: Food in Anime

Summer only feels like Summer to me if I have enough Kakigori!

Have you ever tried or heard of it?

Whenever the day is warmer or to beat those scorching hot summer days, I love treating myself to this traditional Japanese dessert. It’s another part of Japan worth sharing with all my fellow otakus!

So enjoy this brief explanation about the delicious and refreshing Kakigori and how to make it yourself. Once you taste it, you’ll understand why I love it so much!

What is Kakigori?

Japanese shaved Ice and its traditional symbol, as seen in Scared Rider Xechs
Scared Rider Xechs, Season 1, Episode 1 || Credits: Food In Anime

Kakigori is a simple yet delicious summer treat you should try when able!

It’s Japanese shaved ice, usually pure water rather than flavored ice. The flavor is added with syrup; the sweet taste comes from the condensed milk on the top!

In summer festivals, people can quickly spot food stalls selling kakigori because they typically have a banner with a red kanji for ice and blue waves underneath. But it wasn’t always so easy to taste kakigori.

Around a thousand years ago, this delicious Japanese dessert was only for aristocrats.

It wasn’t until the 19th century, when ice became more readily available during summertime, that kakigori became accessible to everyone. Now, you can find it in convenience stores, coffee shops, and restaurants.

You can make your own Kakigori!

Kakigori, Japanese Shaved Ice, as seen in Kirakira☆Precure A La Mode
Kirakira☆Precure A La Mode, Season 1, Episode 26 || Credits: Food In Anime

If you feel like trying Kakigori but can’t find stores near you, here’s the good news: making it can be pretty easy!

  • Use an ice shaver to get lots of fluffy and smooth shaved ice.
  • Add the desired syrup, such as cherry, green tea, or lemon, or use multiple flavors for a colorful dessert.
  • Complete your dessert by adding condensed or evaporated milk.

This video explains how to make it step-by-step and provides useful tips!

For a more exquisite experience, people often add various toppings to their kakigori. And traveling through Japan, finding inspiring variations to the main recipe is possible.

For instance, one popular variation is the shirokuma kakigori from Kagoshima. It contains ice-flavored syrup, condensed milk, fruits, raisins, and sweet bean paste.

Shirokuma means “polar bear,” — and this kakigori is sometimes adorably shaped to resemble the animal.

Another famous version is Ujikintoki, invented in Kyoto. This one has green tea syrup, azuki bean paste, mochi, and green tea ice cream.

And for a more adult experience, some variations take alcohol, such as Yakigori. This often has toppings like ice cream, caramel sauce, and meringue. But its main characteristic is the brandy that’s poured on top of it and served lit on fire!

What extra ingredients would you put in your kakigori?

Would You Share Some With Me?

Kakigori is hands down my favorite summer dessert! It’s easy to make, tasty, and highly refreshing. Just be careful you don’t get a brain freeze.

I also have other easy recipes you can try making at home to help you feel closer to Japan and your dearest anime characters. Give them a try, share some photos, and tell me which you like the most.

You can always find me on my socials and Otaku Community, where other otakus share their Japanese food experiences.

Images from Food In Anime

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