Japan’s kakigori comes to Manila via HK

Font Size

IN A small discreet shop in Serendra is a small staff of “artists” who turn cubes of ice into a mountain of kakigori — Japanese shaved ice desserts. As summer’s heat stifles the city, Shari Shari Kakigori House opened its doors, serving it cold treats to overheated customers.

“I established this brand in Hong Kong because I wanted to introduce a food culture from Japan to another country,” Shari Shari Kakigori House founder Shingo Take told BusinessWorld at the launch of the shop on May 28, adding that Hong Kong is known as an international hub for food culture in Asia.

It was two years ago when business partners Darlene Chua Lim and Arthur Dichaves approached Mr. Take at his store in Hong Kong, with the intention of discussing opening a branch in the Philippines.

“When I went to Hong Kong, I saw the people just sitting down and sharing one kakigori while telling each other their stories and laughing,” Ms. Lim said, citing her observation that Filipinos “eat and run” most of the time. Ms. Lim and Mr. Dichaves wanted to bring the culture of sharing a dessert of flavored shaved ice to their home.

The ice used comes in the shape of a large cube. Mr. Take explained the shape makes it easier to shave since it has a wider surface area. Shari shari, Mr. Take noted, is a bit of onomatopoeia, saying that it is the sound made while eating ice.

The shop’s interior includes a nook that mimics a sushi counter which allows guests to watch the ice shaving process. The flavors of the kakigori include Japanese tofu and mikan orange, matcha cream special, Earl Grey milk tea, strawberry special, and cantaloupe melon which are flavored with syrup and a whip cream topping (optional). Other flavors — such as tiramisu, banana, mango — are seasonal offerings. Kakigori prices start at P270.

During the launch, this writer tried cantaloupe melon kakigori, a flavor exclusive for the Philippines. Aside from its sweetness, the melon was the chosen since the business partners want to highlight other tropical fruit flavors. As Ms. Lim said that when it comes to fruits here “The first thing that comes to mind is always mango. So, we wanted to offer something different because we feel that there are so many fruits that we feel are not recognized.”

The serving sizes in the store, Ms. Lim added, are bigger than those in Hong Kong.

“The price may be daunting [at first.] But you can share it (the kakigori) anyway. It would be like a kakigori eating party,” she said.

Shari Shari Kakigori House is located at the ground floor of Serendra, McKinley Parkway, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. — Michelle Anne P. Soliman