This innovative dessert has all the cooling power of a regular shaved ice, but with a funky mint chocolate twist and a presentation upgrade.

Shaved ice is one of the most exciting things about Japanese summer. Yes, it’s swelteringly hot out there, but you can rest assured that you’ll never be too far from a stall, restaurant or cafe that will serve you a delicious tower of ice shavings with toppings like condensed milk. So commonplace is this frozen delicacy that our reporter, Seiji, could barely imagine an occasion where you would travel somewhere specifically to eat their shaved ice.

But all his pre-conceived notions about how special shaved ice could be were shattered into snowflakes by the Seoul Cafe’s Mint Chocolate Shaved Ice. Located in a thrumming district of Shin-Okubo, Seoul Cafe is most commonly patronized by female customers – Seiji was the only man present when he made his order.

▼ The bright and roomy second floor is where Seiji would enjoy his treat.

▼ The cafe offers a range of shaved ice besides chocolate mint, plus drinks (including boba), parfaits and waffles.

Seiji found himself quaking in the wake of all that luscious sugar. These flavors were a strange and unfamiliar spectrum; shaved ice typically comes in a set of strawberry, blue hawaii, melon or lemon. This menu, however, had a line-up featuring mango, matcha, milk tea and chocolate!

Still, Seiji was here to try the chocolate mint shaved ice, priced like most of the others at 1,200 yen (US$11.32) (the mango shaved ice is the only 1,300 yen exception.)

▼ With his order placed, he was awarded a little buzzer to tell him when his ice was ready.

So he waited, expecting a typical shaved ice tub…though perhaps in a paler shade of green than classic melon.

▼ A classic shaved ice.

▼ Seoul Cafe’s take on shaved ice.

It certainly had all of the characteristic features of shaved ice that Seiji recognized; a heaped pile of ice shavings coated in luscious syrup. But the shavings themselves were trimmed so thin that they sparkled like long, mint-green glass threads. The texture seemed thicker than what you might usually see…almost sponge-like. But most fascinating was the small pitcher of chocolate sauce that accompanied the shaved ice.

By pouring the chocolate syrup over the mound of mint-flavored ice, Seiji would create a mint chocolate shaved ice. He poured the syrup, feeling his trepidation mount…

▼ Would this creamy chocolate really pair with the ice…?

And then he observed the mess he’d made, still thoroughly unconvinced.

▼ Seiji’s comment was simply “this feels so wrong.”

He stared at this affront to shaved ice and shivered. Was this…all right? He already felt as though he had desecrated a holy tradition of shaved ice, and he’d yet to take a single bite.

But no. A wise master once said that a journey starts with a single step… Though the road ahead may be unclear, one should take that first step bravely, without any doubts. Seiji took a deep breath, and took that first step.

▼ Did we say step? We meant spoonful.

The spoon sank into the ice strands like a hot knife through butter. The ease with which he could scoop up a generous chunk of ice and syrup felt like a consolation spoken by the shaved ice itself. “Don’t worry, Seiji,” it soothed, “I’m just like all the other shaved ices. See how easy I am to scoop?”

The ice melted at the first contact it made with Seiji’s tongue, and the bittersweet chocolate sauce melded beautifully into the mint’s sharp, refreshing flavor. Mint chocolate deliciousness at its finest! The mint flavor was rich enough to easily pass for a luxurious ice cream, and the sweet hint of chocolate only emphasized the luxury.

▼ In case all that isn’t enough, it comes with a helping of deliciously rich chocolate cake.

Seiji had to admit it. Not only had this revolutionized his concept of shaved ice, it had revolutionized his concept that shaved ice was a dessert worth traveling to eat! If you’re in the Shin-Okubo area, you’ll definitely want to get your hands on a bowl of this to savor while the weather is hot and the days are long.

Restaurant Information
Seoul Cafe
Address: Tokyo-to, Shinjuku-ku, Okubo 1-16-30
Open 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Open 7 days a week

Images © SoraNews24
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