Ice up your life: The best spots for kakigori in Hong Kong
16 Aug 2019
Some knowledge for your next trivia night: kakigori, the much-loved Japanese shaved ice dessert, dates back around 1000 years. Originally served to the aristocracy, large blocks of ice were saved during winter, and then shaved with a hand-cranked instrument and served with flavoured syrup as a summer treat. And while it became a more democratic dessert in the 19th century as ice became more widely accessible, these days, we’re lucky to not have to wait for winter to come around for our bowls of shaved ice.
With summer in full swing, we’re all looking for ways to beat the heat - and shaved ice desserts have everyone shivering with glee (pun intended!). Here’s where to get scrumptious shaved ice in Hong Kong.
The constant queues snaking outside this cosy Causeway Bay corner don’t lie - Via Tokyo is one of the city’s favourite dessert spots, and with very good reason. They might be better known for their velvety smooth soft serve, but Via Tokyo also serve up a great kakigori, with flavours including matcha, hojicha and Hokkaido milk as well as seasonal specials like this summer’s Philippine mango and milk sauce variety.
For something a little more indulgent, check out Via Tokyo’s range of parfaits and soft serves, in flavours such as Earl Grey and black sesame.
Via Tokyo, Shop 1A-1B, G/F, Leishun Court, 106-126 Leighton Road, Causeway Bay; www.facebook.com/viatokyocafe/
Shari Shari Kakigori House
When the name of a menu item is in the name of a restaurant, you can bet your life on one of two things: they’re either very good, or very ambitious. Thankfully, Causeway Bay’s celebrated Shari Shari Kakigori House very much falls into the former category - almost always packed (and rightfully so!), their kakigori is one of the most beloved in town for a reason. From fruity concoctions of strawberry, yoghurt and cream cheese (a Causeway Bay branch exclusive), banana and chocolate, to an intriguing Japanese tofu and sweet potato, there’s something to suit everybody’s taste.
Shari Shari Kakigori House, 47 Staunton Street, Central, +852 2661 2347; www.facebook.com/SHARISHARI.Kakigori
This renowned Thai tea brand has only been in business since spring but has already taken the city by storm. ChaTruMe’s signature is their Thai milk tea-flavoured shaved ice, a full-bodied version of the dessert. Only available from 2 pm to 8pm daily, we suggest getting there early as supply is limited - and it does run out.
ChaTraMue, G/F, 49 Jardine's Bazaar, Causeway Bay; www.facebook.com/chatramuehk
Since the arrival last August of this award-winning Japanese cafe, its first branch outside Japan, Hong Kong’s dessert scene has been taken to a whole new level. Owned by a former pastry chef, Yukinoshita has built a reputation for attention to detail and premium ingredients, which includes imported Japanese water used to make its kakigori. On your next visit, make sure to try the raw sugar black kakigori for afternoon tea or post-meal dessert. There’s also a range of Japanese fruit toppings for something a little lighter. If you’re carb loading, get your ice with a side of thick and fluffy atsuyaki pancakes.
Yukinoshita, G/F, Leishun Court, 1-5 Haven Street, Causeway Bay, +852 3460 3989; www.facebook.com/YukinoshitaHK
Boasting outlets all over the world, from Wellington to Wuhan, and Montreal to London, the clue is in the name with this Taiwanese chain: fresh, natural and healthy ingredients. The good news is, they definitely don’t compromise on taste, and their shaved ice is no exception. Their famous taro balls and herbal jelly are great topping choices, but you can also experiment with other less conventional options like barley or sweet potato.
Meet Fresh, G/F, V Point, 18 Tang Lung Street, Causeway Bay, +852 2566 1318; www.facebook.com/MeetFreshHongKong/
Chung Kee Dessert
Known for their traditional Chinese desserts like sweet tofu pudding and mango pomelo sago soup, Chung Kee does one of the best Hong Kong takes on kakigori. Instead of the typical crushed ice here, the ice comes in long flakes that literally melt in the mouth. Also unlike its Japanese cousin, the ice itself is pre-flavoured, but don’t be afraid to load up on your toppings - less may be more with many things in life, but not when it comes to desserts. All of their branches are open past midnight, too, so there’s no excuse to skip the most important post-meal of the day.
Chung Kee Dessert, Smiling Plaza, 162-188 Un Chau St, Cheung Sha Wan, +852 2720 7123; www.chungkeedessert.com.hk
2DP Tea & Veggie
Come to this TST restaurant for the delicious vegetarian meals, and stay for their excellent dessert. 2 Decimal Places’ (2DP) has got a beautiful looking and even better tasting range of shaved ice desserts, plated up with finesse. Right now we can’t get enough of their new Ferrero chocolate-flavoured shaved ice with banana slices and topped with a homemade hazelnut sauce. For a lighter treat, the guava and mixed berries shaved ice is a winner.
2DP Tea & Veggie, 12-12A Hau Fook St, Tsim Sha Tsui, +852 3705 9590; www.facebook.com/2decimalplacest
All in-article images courtesy of respective cafes.