Piña, mango, tamarindo, limon, fresa, frambuesa, and maracuya — if not by their bright colors alone, many of this raspado vendor's syrups can be readily identified by their Spanish labels. (You may know them as pineapple, mango, tamarind, lemon, strawberry, raspberry, and passion fruit.) As flavors for shaved ice, they're common to many Latin American countries. Most of them, and several more, can probably be had at the well-regarded Dominican grocery El Bohio, a half-mile to the east.
An eighth syrup, in an unlabeled container, was also available on the afternoon of my visit; recognizing it, I quickly guessed the previous home of the raspado man (and not woman; if there is a Mama Celina, she remained behind the scenes). The fruit in question is sometimes called naranjilla, or little orange, which describes its outward appearance, but as lulo, a name that seems to have an Incan root, the fruit is indelibly connected with Colombia. The greenish pulp, sometimes a very murky green, is used in a number of sweet and savory dishes; the flavor is often described as a very tart and acidic combination of lemon and pineapple. For my lulo raspado (small, $2), of course, that tartness was tempered by the sugary syrup. The color was washed out, too; condensed milk will do that.
Kiosk outside 89-45 Elmhurst Ave. (at Case St.), Elmhurst, Queens
Afternoons in warmer weather