What’s the Difference Between Shaved Ice and Snow Ice?

Snow Ice vs Shaved Ice

Shaved Ice and Snow Ice might seem like two different names for the same thing but they’re actually very different and have distinct characteristics that set them apart.

The most important thing to remember is that Shaved Ice starts off with an ice block and then fruit flavors are added on top of it while Snow Ice has the flavor built right into the ice block.

In this article, we’ll delve into the delightful world of Shaved Ice and Snow Ice, exploring what makes each of them unique.


Snow Ice: 

Snow ice is a relative newcomer to the frozen treat scene.  Also known as snow cream or shaved snow, it boasts a unique texture and flavor profile that sets it apart from shaved ice:

Texture: Snow ice is incredibly smooth and creamy. It’s made by freezing milk and fruit flavors at extremely cold temperatures into a solid block, which is then shaved into thin, ribbon-like sheets. The result is a velvety and luscious texture that’s often compared to freshly fallen snow.

Flavor: Like shaved ice, snow ice can be flavored with a wide range of syrups. However, its creamy base offers a different taste experience, with a rich and indulgent quality that complements the flavors.

Customization: While not as customizable as shaved ice in terms of texture, snow ice makes up for it with its ability to incorporate diverse flavors into the base mixture. You can find a variety of fruit-infused and decadent options.

Origin: Snow ice hails from Taiwan, where it quickly gained popularity before spreading to other parts of the world. It’s known for its silky texture and innovative flavors.


Shaved Ice:

Shaved ice is a classic summer treat loved by people of all ages. It consists of finely shaved or scraped ice that resembles delicate snowflakes. Here’s what you need to know about shaved ice:

Texture: Shaved ice has a light and fluffy texture, often described as “snow-like.” The ice is shaved into fine, feathery layers, creating a delightful melt-in-your-mouth experience.

Flavor: Shaved ice is known for its ability to absorb and hold flavors exceptionally well. It’s typically served with a variety of colorful and flavorful syrups that infuse each bite with a burst of taste.

Customization: Shaved ice is highly customizable. You can choose from a wide range of syrup flavors, mix and match, and even add toppings like condensed milk, fruit, or ice cream to create your own unique concoction.

Types of Shaved Ice: Shaved ice variations are found worldwide, with regional specialties such as Taiwanese Shaved Ice, Hawaiian Shave Ice and Korean Bingsu, each offering its twist on this icy delight.

Shaved Ice vs. Snow Ice: The Key Differences

  1. Texture: Shaved ice is airy and fluffy, while snow ice is silky and creamy.
  2. Flavor Absorption: Shaved ice absorbs syrups, while snow ice combines flavors within its creamy base.
  3. Customization: Shaved ice offers more varied toppings, while snow ice offers diverse flavor options in the base.
  4. Origin: Shaved ice has various regional adaptations, while snow ice originated in Taiwan.
  5. Shavers: Snow Ice requires a special shaver with a very sharp razor blade that shaves ice blocks into fluffy ribbons.  So you can’t make Snow Ice with a regular ice shaver BUT you can make Shaved Ice with a Snow Ice Shaver!


Which one is better?

This all comes down to personal preference and in the realm of frozen treats, both shaved ice and snow ice have their unique appeal. Shaved ice delights with its airy texture and syrup-soaked flakes, while snow ice enchants with its creamy richness and innovative flavors. Whether you’re a fan of the classic or looking for a modern twist, these icy delights offer a cool escape from the summer heat. So, the next time you’re craving a frozen treat, consider the difference between shaved ice and snow ice and savor the one that suits your taste buds best!