While most Americans enjoy ice cream or chocolate chip cookies for dessert, the Japanese have kakigori. For the uninitiated, kakigori (pronounced ka-key-go-ree) is a mound of shaved ice flavored with syrup, and typically topped with condensed milk for added sweetness. It's like a snow cone, but with a fluffier consistency. And few places serve it better than The Nakamura-Ken Confectionary, a 100-plus-year-old sweet shop in Kyoto. During the summer months, roughly 700 customers visit each day to sample the seasonal dessert.
Two weeks ago, we were among those 700: For a five-day stretch, Nakamura-Ken brought its famous kakigori to the U.S. at Kajitsu, a Michelin-starred Japanese eatery in Midtown Manhattan. To ring in the debut, it introduced a brand-new flavor: rhubarb. And it was everything we dreamed it would be. Light, refreshing, and perfectly sugary, it tasted like fruity froyo mixed with chunks of crunchy ice and topped with tart gelatinous goodness (the rhubarb jam). Much to our delight, it's also quite simple to recreate at home. All you need is a snow cone machine, rhubarb syrup, and rhubarb jam.
Below, three steps to MYO kakigori.
12 ice cubes
6 tbsp rhubarb syrup ($14; nordstrom.com)
1 scoop rhubarb jam or preserves ($11; sarabeth.com)
1. Blend the ice cubes in a snow cone machine ($80; williams-sonoma.com) until light and fluffy, scoop one serving into a bowl.
2. Pour 6 tbsp of rhubarb syrup over the shaved ice.
3. Top with 1 hefty scoop of rhubarb jam.