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The Last Shaved Ice Machine You Will Ever Need

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You Need Ice

Let me ask you a question: Do your children love you? If you haven't given them shaved ice recently, do you really deserve their love?

In the summer time, you need to constantly fill your childrens' mouths with ice or else you'll almost certainly endure years of black lipstick and bad music in their teenage years. You know it, I know it.

And so do the fine folks at Ikenaga Iron Works in Osaka, Japan, makers of the Swan Cast Iron Shaved Ice Machine.

One Serious Bird

Close of of Swan logo

Meet The Swan. In a world with electronics, touch screens, robots, and AI, the Swan stands out with its timeless, universal appeal. The Swan logo, "Swan" lettering, and Japanese character for ice (koori, 氷) and other markings are hand-painted, adding a human touch to the retro cast-iron frame.

The Swan has a presence. It's a chunky fella. So is the ice block that it's designed to shave. When shaving the hunka-chunk o' ice, it makes a distinct, loud noise. Are the kids outside? Open the door and start shaving. They'll come running the same way you used to when the ice cream man rolled through the neighborhood. Their friends' eyes will light up when they see it for the first time.

Let me give you a taste of the classic Japanese shaved ice experience.

Making the ice

Ice mold filled with water

Like I said before, the Swan is a simple device. It comes with a large cup that can hold approximately half a liter (about 2 cups) of water. Fill that puppy up with your choice of water and toss it in the freezer to make your ice.

Setting Ice to Swan

Ice block mounted on Swan with serving bowl underneath

Once your ice is ready, take the Swan's handle and pull it up until it locks into place. Place your block of ice on the platform and then push the handle down. The working end of the handle has some iron teeth that will chomp down on the ice. This bird means business. Be careful it doesn't chomp on your fingers while you're setting the ice in place.

Place a bowl under the platform to catch the ice as you shave it.

Make That Bird Sing

Rotating the Swan handle to make shaved ice

Grab the handle and start rotating. Keep going until you have your desired amount of shaved ice in the bowl.

Add flavoring

Shaved ice with flavoring and topped with condensed milk

Now it's time to add the flavor. Grocery stores in Japan sell flavored syrups meant for home-made shaved ice. Popular flavors are typically fruity, like melon or strawberry. In the US, I recommend buying a bottle or five of italian soda syrups and find out which flavors you like best. You can also add condensed milk, like the Japanese do, or you can add a bit of heavy cream (which goes well with italian soda syrup). Grab a spoon and enjoy.

A Classical Japanese Summer Delight

Swan shaved ice machine with two bowls of shaved ice

I feel bad for saying this, but we at Globalkitchen Japan feel it is our duty to help you understand: If your children aren't laying on the floor in the fetal position daily with the worst brain-freeze, they don't love you. You need to immediately take action to avert certain disaster.

I know, the Swan is a tough sell. It's big, heavy, expensive, and the only thing it does is shave ice. It feels like we're asking a bit too much here. But, at the same time, you know in your heart of hearts that what I'm telling you now is true. Your children need ice.

So here's what you do.

Open up Facebook messenger.

Click click click.

"Grandma, let me ask you a question: Do your grandchildren love you? If you haven't given them shaved ice recently..."

The products we used: