And while you’re certainly not wrong to equate the two, an injustice occurs when your thoughts end there.
As various parts of the globe prove, shaved ice is much more than ice shavings or crushed cubes doused in sweet syrup. Many countries have a unique creation process that puts a tasty spin on this delectable frozen dessert, whether through incorporating various flavors, adding toppings, or altering the consistency of the ice. The result? A variation in texture that comes as a surprise no matter which country’s influence melts on your tongue.
Luckily, these international versions of shaved ice have trickled their way from around the globe and into the melting pot of the United States and, more specifically, right here in South Florida. What better place for it to fill dessert bowls than the area where cooling off is necessary year-round? These five desserts are sure to do the trick.
5. Halo Halo at Lutong Pinoy Filipino Cuisine
17048 W. Dixie Hwy., North Miami Beach; 9131 Pembroke Rd., Pembroke Pines. Call 305-454-0135 or 954-435-2772.
Lutong Pinoy Filipino Cuisine may be a hole in the wall, but if you could describe its menu in one word, it’s “authentic” — especially when it comes to its halo-halo, a Filipino dessert that literally means “mix mix.” This colorful dish has all the classic trademarks of halo-halo, including shaved ice, ube ice cream (in an irresistible bright purple), leche flan, and milk mixed in with sweet toppings. Those accoutrements include red and white beans, banana, coconut string, sweet potato, and coco jellies. Dessert can’t get much more fun.
4. Rainbow Italian Ice at Richie’s Gourmet Italian Ice
898 E. Commercial Blvd., Oakland Park. Call 954-772-1183 or visit richiesitalianices.com.
Similar to sorbet or granita, Italian ice is derived from ice grains, and at Richie’s Gourmet Italian Ice, the flavors are so potent, refreshing, and endless that it’s hard to settle on just one. That’s why you should go with the Rainbow concoction, a fun mix of blueberry, cherry, and pineapple bringing you the best of the fruit worlds. For such a small place, Richie’s packs a big punch.
3. Milk Tea Snow at Sweet Tooth Shavery
6403 Stirling Rd., Davie. Call 954-908-5355 or visit sweettoothshavery.com.
Sweet Tooth Shavery was born when its founder missed the flavors of her Taiwanese homeland and decided to bring a taste of the country to South Florida. Shaved from milk-based, creamy snow blocks, this version of shaved ice is known for its fine and fluffy texture. As Sweet Tooth Shavery puts it, it “Feels like snow but tastes like ice cream.” Notable of this dessert is that it comes in different flavors — and while all have their merits, the Milk Tea Snow, made with milk pudding and condensed milk and topped with sweet boba, really hits a home run with a strong flavor in a soft texture. It’s like eating a cloud.
2. Kakigori Shaved Ice at Kuro in Seminole Hard Rock
1 Seminole Way, Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-585-5333 or visit seminolehardrockhollywood.com.
Japan’s signature shaved ice, kakigori is similar to snow cream or shaved snow in that it has a pillow-like consistency. If you want to try it done right, don’t miss this dessert at Kuro, which, in kakigori’s true simple, zen-like style, consists of passion fruit, sweet red bean, and dulce de leche. The result? Sour, sweet, and bitter flavors combine for an explosively flavorful mouthful.
1. Patbingsu at Izziban Sushi & BBQ
7225 W. Oakland Park Blvd., Lauderhill. Call 954-368-6767 or visit izziban.com.
Arguably Korea’s national dessert, patbingsu literally means “red beans with ice,” and is often topped with sweet toppings such as fruit syrup, condensed milk, and the like. True to tradition, Izziban Sushi & BBQ’s patbingsu consists of shaved ice, sweet red bean, assorted fruits, ice cream, and milk — pretty much all your favorite things. Basically a snow mountain in a bowl, this dish tastes as wild as it looks. If you’re unsure where to begin digging in, try mixing it all together. And be prepared: This dish is ample enough for two, making it the perfect date night dessert when you’re looking for something far more exciting than your average sundae.