Move over, hand-crafted ice cream sandwiches and fancy milk shakes, the next trend in frozen desserts is rolling up, literally. That’s right, Thai-style rolled ice cream is definitely the freshest way to get brain freeze this summer.
Rolled ice cream has been a popular street food in Thailand for ages, but North Americans’ fascination with it likely started at a place called 10Below in New York about a year ago. From there, it spread to L.A., and other large metropolitan areas in the States, before coming to Canada.
What is rolled ice cream? If you’re familiar with the anti-griddle, the ice-cold sheet that freezes food instead of cooking it, that’s essentially what rolled ice cream is done on. Cooked and cooled custard is poured onto the approximately -20C surface and freezes almost instantaneously. Once it is firm enough to work with, a spatula (that looks a bit like a paint scraper) scrapes the sections up into tubes. Sometimes additional toppings are folded in for texture, but otherwise, it is served as is, and comes in a variety of flavours, dairy-based, soy-based, you name it.
Here’s where to get your fix, short of getting on a plane and travelling to Thailand for the real thing.
Arctic Bites – Toronto, ON
The first on the Canadian scene, Arctic Bites offers seven different flavours, starting with seven different ice cream bases and their respective add-ins. You gotta love the names too. The Mr. Grey starts with Earl Grey ice cream, mixed with Frosted Flakes, a waffle cookie and condensed milk. It ain’t no match for the You’ve Met Your Matcha though. The Matcha green tea base is studded with waffle bits and matcha Pocky sticks. They had me at matcha Pocky sticks.
Pandan Cremerie – Montreal, QC
Named after the leaf that is used to flavour both sweet and savoury dishes across Southeast Asia, Pandan Cremerie is taking a Canadian spin on rolled ice cream using only local dairy and seasonal fruits when they are available. The concept has been a hit with Montrealers, that’s for sure; and with flavours like cherry rose and Vietnamese coffee, it’s easy to see why. Oh, and did I mention it makes homemade popsicles as well? Get there early to make sure you can get your fix before it runs out!
Wow Wow Yum Yum – Mississauga, ON
Wow Wow Yum Yum may be a redundant name, but it’s easy to forgive this place because it’s really upping the ante with its Thai rolled ice cream game by serving it in bubble waffle cones. Too many trends in one place? Perhaps, but my sweet tooth say otherwise. Let’s get rolling to Mississauga for a taste test!
DelloR Ice Cream – Calgary, AB
The newest of the bunch to roll into the scene is Calgary's DelloR Ice Cream, which is making its way around different festivals and markets in the city this summer. Although the name may be the word "rolled" spelled backwards, there's nothing backwards about the frozen treats that DelloR is cranking, or should we say, rolling, out. Flavours include cookies and cream, London Fog, and s'mores, so you're guaranteed to get your sugar fix. You can also check them out at the Calgary Night Market in Central Memorial Park (check their Facebook for daily updates).
Scoop n Roll – Edmonton, AB
One of the first to hit the Thai rolled ice cream scene in Canada back in 2015, Scoop n Roll is doling out this delectable treat to Edmontonians. Its decadent rolls include over 10 different ice cream bases and mix-ins to choose from, from mini marshmallows to rainbow sprinkles. It doesn't have an actual storefront so stay tuned to social media to see where its food truck will be rolling up to next (see what we did there?).