Even though we are well into the Ber months, it’s still hot as heck. Aside from freak rain showers, it’s been hot, humid and we all need some kind of pick me up to cool us off. There’s very little in the world that does that better than Ice. Whether as ice cream, halo halo or today’s pick, Shaved Ice.
… you’ll come across this vibrant little stand in the middle of the boulevard, right across Teriyaki Boy and Lugang Cafe. It’s Masatami Shave Ice, and yes it’s really “Shave Ice.” Thank you Japan your Engrish knows no bounds!
Shaved Ice, or “Kakigori” as it is known in Japanese, is a very popular dessert in Japan, especially in the summer. It’s basically ice that is shaved off a block with a razor blade (rather than blended or crushed) resulting in some very fine particles of cold goodness.
This is then pressed into a cup and all manner of flavorings are added. The most popular one is “Rainbow” which basically means “The Works.” It includes banana, bubble gum and strawberry syrup flavors, and is then topped off with delicious creamy condensed milk.
Mastami’s version has a scoop of white ice cream at the bottom underneath the ice. It doesn’t taste like vanilla, it tasted like kuromitsu ice cream, but I am not too sure because there was a lot of syrup in there and it sort of clouded out my taste.
Word of warning: I don’t suggest getting the big version of the Rainbow. The reason is because, as it melts and the syrup mushes together at the bottom of the cup, it turns a dirty ugly brown. It looks like you are eating swamp water at this point. it still tastes nice and sweet especially with the ice cream at the bottom, but the presentation is so at odds with the wonderful color at first that you just lose your appetite.
That said, the serving is huge! Even just for the regular version. The taste is amazing. Because of the condensed milk poured on top, the ice feels like you’re eating ice cream, as it’s very creamy. The flavors of the syrup pop out and stun you, it doesn’t feel like you are eating ice at all. It feels like you are eating ice cream. At least while the milk lasts.
By the time you get to the bottom it starts tasting like flavored water, and wasn’t as enjoyable. Not to mention the sludge looks like swamp water at this point.
The regular version goes for 60 pesos, and the big version is 85.
I also opted to try the Swiss Cheese version. Unlike the “Hawaiian Shaved Ice” which is basically normal ice shaved and splattered with syrup, the Swiss Cheese flavor belongs to the “Flavored Ice” category which has the water flavored and then frozen into ice before being shaved.
No syrup is needed, the ice itself is already heavily flavored. And Swiss Cheese is remarkably good as flavoring. It feels like you are eating very delicate slivers of creamy, umami-filled cheese.
Each shaved leaf melts in your mouth, bursting with cheesy goodness, I cannot recommend this enough. My only problem is it feels you don’t get much. The regular “Rainbow” serving was larger than my “Large” Swiss Cheese serving. Regular costs 60 pesos and large is 90.
Value wasn’t there, but I was so happy with how it tasted that I didn’t care. You’ll see the many layers of frozen cheese shaved off into sheets of delicate goodness. It doesn’t last long, but it is sweet heaven while it does.
Personally, I would opt for the Flavored Ice variety every time. They are like thin layers of ice cream delightfully rolled into thin sheets for you to eat. I will be coming back to try more of these flavors next time.
Feeling hot and bothered? Head on over to Mall of Asia and get a cup of Masatami Shaved Ice!