Kakigori is a Japanese dessert made from shaved ice flavored with syrup. Ancient Japanese literature from the Heian period (794 to 1185) talks about snow cones made by hand with a ice carving device. The first mechanical snow cone-making machine in Japan was patented by Mr. Murakami in 1887.
Popular flavors include: 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. To sweeten Kakigori, condensed milk is often poured on top of it. It is nearly identical to a snow cone but can have a slightly rougher consistency and a spoon is almost always used. The traditional way of making kakigori involves using a hand cranked machine to spin a block of ice over an ice shaving blade. However, electric ice shavers are most often used, though street vendors can still be seen hand-shaving ice blocks in the summer.
In addition to the streets, kakigori is also sold in festivals, convenience stores, coffee shops, and restaurants. During the hot summer months, kakigori is sold virtually everywhere in Japan. Some coffee shops serve it with ice cream and sweet bean paste. Convenience stores may also sell it already flavored and packaged similar to ice cream.
In other countries in East Asia, similar varieties can be seen.
Halo halo Filipino shaved ice topped with sweetened beans, nata de coco and ice cream. "Halo-Halo" literally means "mix-mix" in the Tagalog language. Some shops in Japan also sell these sweets.
Bingsu Korean shaved ice. The most popular kind is patbingsu. It is topped with sweetened red beans, canned fruits, and soybean powder. Many other varieties can be found throughout the country.
Baobing(刨冰) in Mandarin Pinyin or Chhoah-peng(剉冰) in Taiwanese POJ Taiwanese shaved ice. There are many varieties in Taiwan. Some of them are topped with fresh fruits, fruits syrup and condensed milk. Some of them are topped with sweetened beans, glutinous rice balls and brown sugar syrup, while others will even use seafood. Some vendors use milk ice to make finer shaved ice, and some vendors may sometimes use a hand blade to shave block ice in order to produce rough crushed ice.
Ice kacang Malaysia and Singapore Shaved ice topped with sweetened syrup of various colours and flavours, condensed and evaporated milk, and sometimes also durian pulp or vanilla ice cream. Beneath the ice sweetened red beans, canned fruit, attap seeds and grass jelly are usually added. Electric ice shavers are often used; though some vendors may use a hand blade to shave the ice in order to produce a rough texture. A variation of this would be Cendol which is shaved ice with sweet green coloured glutinous rice noodles drizzled with palm sugar it is usually accompanied with kidney beans and canned sweetcorn.
Nam Kang Sai Thai Shaved Ice. In Thailand, this kind of cold dessert is very popular as well. The differences from other countries' shaved ice is that in the Thai version the toppings (mixings) are in the bottom and the shaved ice is on top. There are between 20-30 varieties of mixings that can be mixed in. Among them are young coconut that have been soaked in coconut milk, black sticky rice, chestnuts,sweetened taro, red beans, sarim (thin strands of cooked flour that is very chewy and slippery) and many more.