Where did all of the different names for shaved ice originate? Do you know? Have you ever realized the universal appeal that shaved ice holds? It’s not just an American treat. You can find it all over the world…you just need to know the name of it! So, here’s a brief introduction to the various names for the delicious frozen concoction we call shaved ice.
In the United States it is usually called shaved ice. However if you’re in Baltimore, Maryland you should keep your eye out for snowballs. In New Orleans, it’s a ‘Sno Ball’ and in Hawaii they are called shave ice (no ‘d’ behind shave). Mexico and Southern Texas refer to the treat as ‘raspados’ or ‘raspas’, which essentially translates to ‘scraped ice.’
Puerto Ricans refer to them as ‘piraguas’ because they are made in pyramid shapes and agua means water in Spanish. Most Puerto Rican snow cone vendors use street snow carts instead of fixed stands or kiosks. During the summer months in Puerto Rican neighborhoods, especially in New York and Philadelphia, ‘piragua’ carts are often found on the streets and attract many customers.
In the Dominican Republic and many Dominican neighborhoods, snow cones are called ‘frío frío’. ‘Frío’ means "cold" and is thus named for the cold chills one gets while eating it (what a great feeling!).
The dessert ice ‘kachang’ served in Malaysia and Singapore is another form of shaved ice. Ice ‘kachang’ originally was served with red beans but now includes various fruits and other sweet toppings.
Snow cones are sometimes confused with "Italian ices" or "water ices", but water-ice purists distinguish between the two: snow cones are generally flavored after production, at the point of sale, whereas water ices are flavored as the ice is made. In Japan they are known as ‘Kakigori’.
In Venezuela they are called ‘Cepillados’ and are topped with condensed milk.
In India they are simply called 'Juski.'
So if you ever get the chance to travel abroad to one of these countries, you now know the name of the delicious icy treat that we refer to as shave ice!