Get ready to explore the world of Asian ice cream with a gulab jamun ice cream sandwich, a scoop of Thai iced tea, or a durian-flavored cone.
NYC Tourism has compiled seven of the best places to try Asian-inspired ice cream in New York City.
Address: 65 Bayard Street, Chinatown, Manhattan; 135-15 40th Road, Flushing, Queens; Essex Market, 88 Essex Street, Manhattan
For nearly 40 years, the original family-owned shop has been delighting dessert lovers with its extensive menu and fun flavor recipes, now available at its Flushing location and new location on the Lower East Side. Chinatown Ice Cream Factory offers a huge selection of flavors: mango, ginger, red bean, durian, coconut and macaroon. It is loved because it mainly features East and Southeast Asian dishes. At the Essex Market branch, visitors can try new savory dishes like squid ink ice cream.
Address: 51-24 Van Loon Street, Elmhurst, Queens
A Filipino specialty, halo halo is a creamy, refreshing dessert made with crushed ice, ice cream, leche flan, sweet beans, jelly and tropical fruits. Be sure to mix the toppings, crushed ice, and ice cream (halo-halo translates to “mixture”) before eating.
Address: 268 Smith St., Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn
Pooja Bavishi has always loved experimenting with flavours. She remembers marveling when her parents turned the spice mixture into aromatic tea. Today, Pooja uses this passion to create different ice cream flavors at her Malai store, which she opened in 2015. The ice cream's batches are handcrafted from local ingredients and the flavors are reminiscent of Bavisha's South Asian roots.
Try the rose flavor with cinnamon-roasted almonds (available as an ice cream sandwich made with gulab jamun brownies), or go for the ice cream flavored with star anise, masala chai, pink peppercorn pineapple and red chocolate chili.
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Address: 302 Grand St., Chinatown, Manhattan
Popular since the end of the last century in some regions of Southeast Asia, roll ice cream has become a popular dessert all over the world. These frozen swirls are sometimes called “fried ice cream” because of the way they are prepared (various mixtures are crushed and folded into a creamy base with a spatula in a chilled pan). At Minus Celsius you can create your own taste or order signature dishes from a set. Matcha Madness (green tea base with Oreo cookies) and Summer Lovin' (vanilla base with banana and lychee) are very popular among visitors. And remember: no one will stop you from adding an unlimited number of toppings of your choice.
Address: 116 E. 7th St., East Village, Manhattan
Mochi, a soft and chewy rice cake, can be found in many Japanese dishes, from rich soups to holiday sweets. Another popular variety of mochi is mochi ice cream, an innovation attributed to the late Japanese-American entrepreneur Francis Hashimoto. At Mochii Restaurant, all ingredients for making creamy cold ice cream are prepared in-house. Try flavors like taro, lychee and green tea.
Address: 63 5th Ave., Park Slope, Brooklyn
Come to SkyIce for a homemade Thai dinner or just some popular ice cream. This family-owned cafe has been in business for over a decade and offers delicious flavors like Almond White Miso, Toasted Thai Coconut, Lychee Rose, Raspberry Cilantro and Thai Iced Tea. If you can't decide which sauce to get, order a sampler of five flavors to start, or a bowl to try all 12. They also offer sandai ice cream, banana splits and ice cream sandwiches.
Address: Manhattan – 119 Baxter Street, Brooklyn – 294 Bedford Avenue
Japan is famous for its delicious street food, from sizzling takoyaki balls and traditional okonomiyaki pancakes to fish-shaped taiyaki snacks. These small fish-shaped desserts are a common dish in Japan that are a cross between a cake and a waffle.
Traditional fish-shaped taiyaki is served hot, but taiyaki ice cream takes on a different look: the fish's mouth is wide open, awaiting a generous scoop of ice cream.
Typically the taiyaki base is filled with either custard or anko (sweet red bean paste), but with Taiyaki ice cream you can choose from any flavor of Japanese soft-serve ice cream: vanilla, matcha green tea, cream cheese, black sesame and chocolate. From sprinkles to graham cracker crumbs to micro M&Ms and mochi, there's a huge variety of toppings to make your dessert unique and incredibly delicious.