Three top shaved ice desserts to keep cool during summer

Here are 3 shaved ice desserts guaranteed to shave off a few degrees on those scorching days, which seem to be occurring with alarming regularity this Sydney spring. 


Ice kacang

Ice Kacang is a traditional dessert commonly found in Singapore and Malaysia. 

Kacang in Malay means nuts.  In this dessert, it refers not to peanuts but to sweetened red azuki beans which are an essential component. 

At Khai’s Restaurant, I watched my ice kacang being made by Hong Goh, the owner (bless her, on this 39-degree day). 

Hong starts by putting all the solid goodies in the bowl, like chin chow, more commonly know as grass jelly – a black dessert with a sweet and mild herbal flavour.

She also adds red jelly and green jelly creamed corn and the azuki beans.

Then she fills the bowl with a mound of shaved ice.  The masterstroke is when Hong uses her hands to compress the ice mound - this keeps the ice from melting too quickly.

The last step is the fun part.  I call this the Asian Neapolitan.  Hong douses the snowy mountain with brown gula melaka (palm sugar), white evaporated milk and cerise rose syrup.  It’s heartening to see her liberal drizzles saturating every bit of ice, because a good Ice Kacang should contain no tasteless, unflavoured bits of ice.


Tip #1:  To eat like a pro, scrape around the sides of the mound first, so you don’t end up with a collapsed heap on the table.  Yes, it means you don’t immediately get to the solid goodies at the bottom, but good things (and no embarrassing messes) come to those who wait.


Tip #2:  Guess what?  You can make this at home even without an ice-shaver!  That is, if you own that Masterchef favourite, the Thermomix (I don’t).  Drop ice cubes into that contraption and you’ll get snowy ice at the press of a button.  All the other ingredients can be bought at Asian grocers.


Get it here:  Khai’s Restaurant, 11/90 The Crescent, Homebush West, 9746 8999. 


Supreme Mango Milk Crushed Ice


From the same country that brought us bubble tea and malodorous tofu comes this snow cone gone ballistic.  Which country?  Taiwan. 

This is a mighty eruption of crushed ice splattered with mango puree, diced mango, brown sugar syrup and ice cream. 

Offering my children shaved ice desserts is like throwing fresh meat to the sharks.  And yet, our combined forces (including my separate stomach for desserts) cannot finish one serve of the Supreme Mango Milk Crushed Ice. 

Don’t tackle this alone.


Get it here:  Meet Fresh, 169 Burwood Road, Burwood.




You ain’t seen a big dessert until you’ve seen the Patbingsu at Square Café.

Patbingsu is Korea’s contribution to the world of shaved ice desserts.  And what a lasting contribution, as Patbingsu is thought to have been around since the mighty Joseon Dynasty - which could mean any time from 1392 to 1910, really.

Listed on the menu as a Snow Boy, Square Café’s Patbingsu comes in three sizes, with the smallest being $15.  When something is piled into a 4-cup Pyrex pitcher and comes with its own ladle, calling it “small” is like saying the Large Hadron Collider is just a mixer.

The fruit flavour Snow Boy comprises shaved ice topped with an assortment of fruit, tapioca pearls, chocolate cereal, chewy mocha pieces, ice cream and chocolate sauce.


The medium serve is $25, and the large serve is $42 (shudder). 


Get it here:  Square Café, Strathfield Square, Strathfield (on Albert Road directly outside Strathfield station).


And that was only the beginning. These three are just the tip of the (ahem) iceberg.  Halo halo, faluda, cendol, all flavours of snow ice…the list is endless. 

We’d love to hear about your favourite shaved ice dessert.  


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