Japan is famous (or rather infamous) for their insanely hot and humid summers. I thank God daily for the ubiquitous cold drink vending machines and the “combini” or convenience stores all over Japan. However, there is nothing like a cool dessert to satisfy not only your sweet tooth but also help you survive the Japanese heat.
Japan is known for their kakigori or the lovely shaved ice of which there are multiple iterations – from the low-end basic shaved ice to the high-end ones including champagne and even caviar! The Korean version, however, takes this cool dessert to another level. This particular store name is “Sulbing” which is Korean for “snow ice.” Instead of just regular old shaved ice, they take frozen milk and shave that, resulting in a much creamier version than just shaved ice alone. Created by a Korean food and nutrition major in Busan, this cool treat has taken over their country with over 500+ stores in Korea alone and has plans of expansion. Lucky for us in Japan, their first branch just recently opened in Tokyo last June 30, 2016.
Like any new store, there were lines out the door. It is currently situated in Harajuku. Because the base is milk, the dessert is creamier, sweeter, and feels like “snowflakes on the tongue” as one customer describes her experience. There is a wide array of flavors and toppings to choose from, including the all-time favorite matcha, azuki beans, and black sesame.
Some of the favorite flavors sell out fast, especially in the current heatwave so make sure to line up early. Prices range from 850 to 1,500 yen and sizes can get pretty big as well. Make sure to bring a friend to help if you cannot finish one on your own. Most come with some kind of powder topping unlike its kakigori cousin and those who are a little more health conscious can request a yogurt flavored option. Because of the multiple choices for toppings and base flavors, there are literally an endless amount of combinations available perfect for any cold dessert fanatic.
Make sure to hurry down to Subling now to create your own masterpiece. They also serve a wide variety of drinks and desserts including the ever popular toast bread. Your taste buds, not to mention your poor body adjusting to the Japan heat, will definitely thank you for it. Itadakimasu!