There’s nothing stopping me from having ice cream wherever I go. Even when it’s covered with hot sauce! And that wasn’t even an extra that I chose, Southeast Asia has its own interesting interpretations of ice cream and desserts.
Here are some delicious (sometimes strange) refreshing treats that were often strange to girl from Egypt:
Is your ice cream chili enough?
Indonesians don’t give up easily on their sambal and hot sauce that they even add it to ice cream, who needs caramel or chocolate sauce anymore?! Also cucumber was included with the fruits that were added to with the ice cream. I did try ice cream with hot sauce twice -don’t ask why- but I still prefer one without hot sauce, thank you very much.
Shaved ice to the rescue!
Whoever invented having shaved ice as a main ingredient for desserts in Southeast Asia, deserves to go straight to heaven!
I was enjoying the live songs at Chillva Market when I noticed people around me holding this bowl of a vibrant pink iced hill. I kept going back and forth between the stalls until I found the Thai guy making them! Under the pink-syrup covered ice is a layer of jelly along with some delicious oval shaped coconut jellies. Super delicious and refreshing!
This is another vibrant and colorful version that I tried in Phnom Penh, Cambodia at a kid’s fair that wa full of neon lights a ferris wheel you could spot from 2 KM away and different music blasting at every game. A rather unhealthy version too. I wanted to have it for a second and last time before leaving Phnom Penh but my stomach didn’t recover as fast as I wished from a food poisoning.
Had it solo and I’m not even sorry
There are plenty of desserts around Southeast Asia that include shaved ice but this one was very special at Bbao Bbao in Bangkok, Thailand.
I chose Yaya Yelly and the dessert sure made a surprising entrance with smoke flowing out of it. The humongous base of ice was covered with blueberry sauce, jelly cones, wafer and fruit loops. Several sides came along with it too; panna cotta, cheesecake and extra blueberry sauce because why not?!
Tip: download Eatigo app on your phone to secure a discount at Bbao Bbao and other places in Thailand.
It was hard saying good bye to the frozen yogurt from Sour Sally in Indonesia! What makes them stand out is their Sakura frozen yogurt that is made from natural charcoal acting as an antioxidant and giving it the black color. I paid no attention to the nutrition tips or whatsoever, just give me that black froyo!! I had my sakura in a bright red cone (they have other colours as well) and for the toppings I chose taro sauce and cookie crumble for this one. Went there at least 3 times btw
Even if you’re not a fan of trying anything black, they have the original white flavour and the toppings are just as tasty as the froyo.
They have taro and cookie dough sauce for god’s sake!!
Toast for breakfast, toast for dessert
This colorful dessert was my favorite in Pai, Thailand. Flavoured shaved ice, white chocolate pieces, jelly, sprinkles, toast and sweetened milk. Though, I got a bit skeptical when the lady started slicing up that toast to be honest. I’m still not sure why toast is included but as soon as she started putting sweetened condensed milk over it, I was ready to have an entire loaf.
Rice + Ice cream
Coconut ice cream might be exotic in some countries, including mine, but in Thailand it’s as common as vanilla. The additions however makes it more interesting as some vendors add a layer of sticky rice just before the ice cream then top it with lots of condensed milk and roasted peanuts. You’ve got all the textures in that little cone!
So, white is coconut and purple is…?
When English isn’t spoken you use hand gestures, but how do you describe an ice cream flavour? Just pick according to colors along with coconut, it’s all ice cream at the end.
I always picked the white one as it’s probably coconut and when they had purple I knew it was taro, and it’s always a yes for taro in Thailand!
Yes for purple! Wait, what’s Taro?
I didn’t pay much attention when I had my first purple taro drink as it was absolutely delicious and it became almost as regular as having the orange Thai milk tea (cha yen). After a few times I decided I should probably know what exactly am I drinking. Google, what is Taro in Arabic?
Turns out Taro is a kind of vegetable that is cooked and served with rice in Egypt and guess what? I always refused to try it as it never looked appealing with the green sauce it’s cooked in. But here I was, having it almost every day in Thailand as purple iced drinks, ice cream and sometimes chips too!
Popsicles the local way
Once again went with the color method when choosing from a smiling Cambodian vendor. It was a festive religious day at the Pagoda in Phnom Penh so I got lucky to find many snacks and refreshments inside. Assumed the purple one was taro and I think the guy tried to have it as taro but this one was blant. Even an almost flavourless popsicle was a great refreshment during a sunny day at a Pagoda.
A chilled sandwich
Whenever you hear a bell ringing, ice cream is near by! Finally came across one in Cambodia selling ice cream in sweet buns, three scoops topped with condensed milk (as always) and peanuts. This one was delicious!
Lotus roots are yummy!
If someone had told me I’d be having milk everyday in Thailand I wouldn’t have believed them. I didn’t even go anywhere near milk as a 2 year old , yet in Thailand I had it almost everyday with this iced treat. It basically consists of of milk, along with your choice of candied fruit, sweet lotus root and grassroot jelly.
Each country I went to in Southeast Asia had it’s own recipe for this dessert of fruits and milk.
An Indonesian fruit soup with lots of ice in either sweet syrup or milk called Es Buah
The fruits varied depending on the vendor but it usually had jackfruit, dragonfruit, lychee, pineapple, grapes and papaya. It was always a go-to for me when I needed to escape the heat.
Cendol was so popular in Melaka that I tried it at two different places on the same day!
What I liked most about cendol is the sweet brown palm syrup on top! I didn’t like the version that had green noodles, also wasn’t keen on the red beans but having the syrup balanced it all for me.
Keep the black sesame for salads
They might like black sesame and matcha ice cream in Thailand but this wasn’t for me at all. I should’ve just gone with colorful and vibrant fruits at this fancy popsicle place -_-