Nothing beats a shaved ice on a hot summer’s day.
The sun’s out. Temperatures pushing mid-30’s but it feels more like 45. It’s hot. It’s sticky. It’s humid. It’s the peak of a Hong Kong summer. The only remedy? A couple hours holed away indoors with a refreshing, icy treat: Shaved ice. A quick-fix for a speedy cool down. If you’re looking to be specific, there’s a laundry-list of names that refer to the beloved ice-based dessert. Kakigori. Baobing. Bingsu. Chendol. The recipes may change but the concept is all the same: A spot of sugary sweet and a welcomed chill that’s hard to refuse. Especially in this heat. Go for double portions, you’ll need it.
Note: Dining regulations are ever-changing. Please check with respective vendors for availability ahead of visitation.
Shari Shari Kakigori House
Surely no list can be complete without Shari Shari Kakigori House, which arguably claims top spot as one of Hong Kong’s first designated shaved ice post. The Japanese dessert house is widely known and loved for its delicious range of shaved ice flavours (from HK$88), starting from standard matcha to more creative takes including mango lassi, avocado milk and tiramisu. Personalised add-ons like kinako powder and Azuri red beans make it all the more tasty — sprinkle on as many or as little as you please. You can always count on Shari Shari to satisfy especially with it’s signature generous portions that stands tall, twice the size of the serving glass bowl. Who can resist?
Shari Shari, various locations including G/F, 47 Staunton Street, SoHo, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2661 2347
At minimalist vegan café, 2DP, the shaved ice (HK$108) is essentially a sculptural piece of art, perfectly framed for Instagram shots. The icy base, a creamy Hokkaido milk-flavoured shave (with a soya alternative base too), is delicately piled into a hollowed-out melon shell, used as an apt serving bowl for the summertime treat. On top, a towering peak of perfectly uniformed spheres of watermelon or honeydew, depending on your fruit of choice, carefully stacked and layered for an inviting bowl begging to be dug in and enjoyed.
2DP, G/F, The Lamma Tower, 12-12A Hau Fook Street, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, +852 3705 9590
Bibi & Baba
The icy serve from Bibi & Baba is a treat. It’s the no-fuss classic Southeast Asian dessert staple: Chendol (HK$58). If you were to get down to the nitty-gritty, the chendol is not exactly in shaved ice form, but rather a simple ice ball served with a variety of sweet garnishes. But it’s worth a mention in an icy dessert listicle, nonetheless. This version here is layered with pandan and mung bean jelly, and slathered on with dollops of coconut cream with lashings of palm sugar to finish. A delightful taster for the hot summer weather, or just a palate-cooler after the rich curries and laksa from the popular Singaporean-Malaysian-Indonesian-influenced eatery.
Bibi & Baba, 1-7 Ship Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, +852 2555 0628
If you’re a fan of the silky smooth Thai tea from ChaTraMue, good news, you can now get it in a tasty shaved ice. The Cha-Thai Bingsu (HK$88) is made with the brand’s signature blend of milk tea — branded as the best in Thailand, topped with frothy milk foam and a generous pour of the tea-infused syrup. Delicious. Grass jelly cubes and bite-size biscuit puffs accompany the dessert for a satisfying first spoonful.
ChaTraMue, various locations including G/F, 49 Jardine’s Bazaar, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Meet Fresh has become a household name for post-dinner dessert; the Taiwanese post arrived in Hong Kong with several new locations. Shaved ice (HK$52) here is of the Taiwanese variant, naturally, with the fresh toppings sharing much of the spotlight with the towering icy treat. Soft and chewy taro balls are a favourite, as are the herbal grass jelly and rice barley. As you’ll probably guess, the shaved ice leans a touch more health-conscious here, with natural ingredients and soothing flavour combinations — the warm soupy editions in particular. For now though, we’d be going for the classic shaved ice with taro balls, mochi and winter-melon jelly, served best with a drizzle of condensed milk.
Meet Fresh, various locations including Shop 1, G/F, V Point, 18 Tang Lung Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, +852 2566 1318
The concept at Ocio is a straightforward one: To provide a place of rest; a feet-up, sit back and relax sort of comfort. Slow living, as all afternoons should be. After all, the name ‘Ocio’ is derived from the Spanish word for ‘leisure’. Here it’s about all-day breakfast, a pretty assortment of classic desserts with cute, hand-drawn doodles (like the melon-hugging grizzly above) hidden around the cosy space. As for the main event — shaved ice — the refreshing dessert arrives topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream with five different flavours, each limited only to 12 portions daily. Be speedy. We’d definitely be racing over for the intriguing Japanese ramune soda flavour with the sweet honeydew melon in close second.
Ocio, various locations including 39 Yin Chong Street, Mong Kok, Kowloon, Hong Kong, +852 2886 8903
Don’t expect the shaved ice at Sweet Craft to be the standard syrup-drenched edition. Nay. The ice flake, here, are somewhat of a spectacle. It’s extravagant. Worth talking — bragging — about. The dessert house’s signature shaved ice is expertly crafted with layers upon layers of delicious treats, not to mention the ice is a creamy milk-based serve. Take the star-favourite sea salt caramel (HK$50), generous dollops of cream cheese are squeezed to form a caramel blanket over the top, with added crunch from the sprinkled honeycomb chunks and caramel popcorn. Standard shaved ice in the middle, but at the base, a pillow-soft layer of Japanese ‘purin’ pudding. A flavour-checked bite in one single top-to-bottom spoonful. We’d come for the seasonal peach nectar (HK$50 with fresh cubes of peach, too.
Sweet Craft, Shop G33, G/F, Pebbles World, Whampoa, Hung Hom, +852 3543 1101
Header image courtesy of Shari Shari Kakigori House.