Tha-Kaut Chu


This shaved ice is a study in wild textures and delicious flavors



As the temperatures in New York City continue to climb, it’s no surprise that I ended up with a series topic on one of the coolest foods around: Shaved ice. Originating in Japan several centuries ago, shaved ice has since spread throughout the world with a multitude of flavors and variations. So to help explore this topic (and hopefully cool down in the process), I’m kicking off my latest series that focuses on how the world enjoys their shaved ice desserts.

Kicking things off is a Cambodian delicacy known as Tha-Kaut Chu. In Khmer, the official language of Cambodia, Tha-Kaut Chu directly translates to, “shaved ice.” It’s a recipe that was shared with me by Pheakthra, who was born and raised in Long Beach, California in the United States. Pheakthra’s parents, who hail from Cambodia, loved to spend time together making Tha-Kaut Chu from scratch at home. And after giving that a try myself, I can definitely say that it’s a labor of love.

At its core, Tha-Kaut Chu is just shaved ice that is loaded with toppings. With a base of shaved ice, you can then choose to add either a green or red sweetened syrup, or even both if you feel like it. The red syrup traditionally carries a strawberry flavor, while the green is more of an apple flavor. From this point on, it’s all about layering in fruit. You can load your Tha-Kaut Chu with any fruit that you prefer, but common ingredients include milk fruit, jackfruit, and lychee. For added variety, don’t forget the red bean paste and the grass jelly for an earthy flavor and chewy texture. Finally, sweetened condensed milk is drizzled over the top for a final flourish of sweetness.

The result is a dish with both a lot going on and a lot going for it. Tha-Kaut Chu has this soft texture that practically melts in your mouth with a refreshing taste from the fruit, a balanced element from the red bean paste and grass jelly, and then a burst of sweet from the condensed milk. Whipping up Tha-Kaut Chu at home is certainly a process, but I can see how enjoyable it would be for families like Pheakthra’s. Plus, all that work is rewarded with a delicious bowl of Tha-Kaut Chu.

Watch the Video


  • shaved ice machine


  • Hales Blue Boy brand syrup the red or green color
  • condensed milk
  • grass jelly cut into thin pieces
  • sweet red beans
  • jackfruit canned
  • chia seeds bloomed in water
  • longan fruit fresh or canned


  • Shave ice into bowl.
  • Top with syrup.
  • Top ice with fruits/jellies. Drizzle condensed milk over everything. Enjoy right away!
Course: Dessert, Snack
Region: Asia


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