On every corner of Panama City you will find a 'raspadero' hawking his product, shouting out “RASPAO!” as loud as he can to attract buyers. Many of us find the offer irresistible, and even more so when the heat is stifling. It comes in a variety of flavors, including strawberry, grape, orange, lemon and other flavors, and is topped with condensed milk and honey. Another add-on is the famous malt powder, containing barley malt, wheat flour and powdered milk. It is served in a cone-shaped paper cup, just like a snow cone. Today it is used in pastry shops to make different candies and sweets.
The preparation is quite simple: each vendor uses an iron brush to chop up a block of ice. The chopped or shaved ice is doused in a flavored syrup of your pickings, with the most popular being strawberry, commonly known as 'Red Raspao.'
The price varies depending on the area where it is sold. If in areas like Old Town or the coastal belt, it can cost $0.50 cents, whereas in Calidonia or along the pedestrian area of Central Avenue the price is at $0.35 cents. The famous malt costs B/.1.00 in all parts of Panama City.
The 'Raspao' snowcone is recognized for boosting energy, to revive people who are on the verge of fainting after working out under the intense sun, and it helps to prevent dehydration during the summer heat of Panama City.