To make it at home, you could use a blender, sure, but we think you should invest in a shave ice machine. They're not that expensive, and all you need to do is put in a bit of elbow grease, listen to the gentle scraping and watch chunks of ice turn into mound after mound of soft snow. Dessert is done.
Unlike days past, there are more high-tech models than the traditional hand-cranking kind, from kakig?ri machines straight from Japan to ones that use dual-blade, restaurant-grade stainless steel tubes.
Here are five shave ice machines we're hot for right now.
The reliable electric cheapo machine
Hawaiian Shaved Ice Electric Shaved Ice Machine ($28)
If you're just a summertime ice shaver, this affordable little contraption will do the trick. It pulses the ice slowly and steadily into a thick mound of icy goodness. It comes with large plastic cylinders for freezing blocks of ice ahead of time—or better yet, throw macerated fruit or juice into the containers and freeze, then shave it later to make flavor-infused ice.
The trusty hand-cranking contraption
Victorio Snow Cone Maker/Ice Shaver ($26)
This old-school manual ice shaving machine doesn't need electricity, and its lightweight plastic body makes it easy for toting around and churning out shave ice on the go. Bring it to the beach, grassy picnic spreads, you name it—make shave ice anywhere and tone those arms while you're at it.
The heavy-duty commercial ice-making machine
CNS Ice Shaver ($163)
Intense is one way to describe this hulking (19 pounds!) ice-crushing machine. The noodle-shaped stainless-steel tube has got an insanely powerful motor that can push out 440 pounds of shave ice in an hour. Simply drop ice cubes into spout, press down the handle and, presto—you can literally have tons of fluffy shave ice.
The professional ice shaver's pick
Waring Snow Cone Maker ($60)
Neil Syham of NYC's Lumpia Shack relies on this compact countertop machine for icy halo-halo. The stainless steel blades cut down ice cubes quickly—four cones in only 30 seconds—and the machine captures the snowy shavings in a plastic basket beneath for easy scooping into paper cones. Cup holders on the sides mean you can quadruple fist freshly shaved snow.
The Miyazaki-esque, retro splurge
Retro Kakig?ri Shaved Ice Maker ($68)
This fun, cartoony ice-hacking tool is also stunningly architectural. In the sea of ultra-modern, bulky electric versions, this gem still gets the job done. A note to the wise: The majority of kakig?ri machines on the market, including this one, ship straight from Japan, which adds on a hefty (read: more than $40) shipping fee and a wait time of two to four weeks for arrival. However, we think a machine like this is worth the wait.
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