by Tom Hanchett
Does summer heat give you a hankering for the cold syrup-soaked wonderfulness of a snow cone? You can line up at one of the dozen or so Pelican Snowball franchises around the Charlotte metro, of course. But how about stepping out for a global shaved ice adventure?
Food historians think shaved ice originated in ancient China, where the treat is known as bing soo. So let’s start our tour with an Asian eatery.
Shaved ice is a big deal at Hong Kong Bakery, located inside the huge Super G Mart international grocery at 7323 E. Independence Boulevard. Choose from a list of more than thirty toppings. I got fresh strawberries and pineapple gummies, then added condensed milk plus red bean paste, two sweet comfort-food flavors often found in Asian cuisine. Yum!
Vietnam has its own shaved ice tradition, which you can find at Pho Huong Que in the same shopping plaza as Super G. Chè ba màu means three-color dessert. A tall soda-fountain glass arrives with layers of green, red and white. Green is pandan, sort of like Jello cubes. Red are those sweet red beans again. And the white is mung-bean syrup at the bottom and shaved ice with coconut milk at the top. I thought all that might taste odd. But when I reached my long-handled spoon down through the layers, mixing bits from one and another, I found I really liked it.
The shaved ice of the Philippines is called halo-halo. “That means mix-mix,” says Leslie Pahang whose family owns Bacchi at 200 W. Mallard Creek Road. Here the tall soda-fountain glass is layered with jackfruit, red beans, coconut jelly and shaved ice drenched with condensed and evaporated milk. On top, a purple scoop of yam ice cream, a Filipino favorite. “And a cube of my mom’s homemade flan,” says Pahang with pride.
In Mexico, shaved ice goes by the name “raspados.” Let’s end our tour at brand-new Raspados Jalisco at 5015 N. Tryon Street near Sugar Creek. Ice plus syrup is the simple recipe here. But the syrup flavors include Mexican favorites. I got mango — with fresh mango pulp, I think — plus good ol’ familiar strawberry.
Hong Kong Bakery
Monday – Sunday 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Inside Super G Mart
7323 E. Independence Boulevard
Charlotte, NC 28227
(980) 321 – 7283
Monday – Thursday 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Friday 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Saturday noon – 10 p.m.
Sunday noon – 9 p.m.
200 W. Mallard Creek Church Road #200
Charlotte, NC 28262
(980) 819 – 7761
Pho Huong Que
Monday – Wednesday 10 a.m. – 9 p.m
Friday – Saturday 10 a.m. – 9 p.m
Sunday 11 a.m. – 9 p.m..
7211 E. Independence Boulevard
Charlotte, NC 28227
(704) 536 – 0401
Monday – Sunday 11 a.m. – 9 p.m
5015 N. Tryon Street, #120 Charlotte, NC 28213
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