A posse of hot and hungry tweens taste-test the island’s ice cream
A range of sophisticated and organic flavours – Earl Grey, vanilla, Japanese matcha, mocha and salted caramel – were perhaps too adult in taste for the girls, although the vanilla went down well. The girls were more taken with the glossy array of doughnuts – but when you’re 12, sugar rules the day. Overall they rated it a cute cafe/ice cream parlour tucked away in a shady lane.
4 Shin Hing Street, Sheung Wan
9. Happy Cow
If you like your ice cream with an ethical twist, Happy Cow serves it up dairy-free, soy-free and gluten-free, using natural and organic ingredients – and all without compromising on flavour. The tweens were sceptical about the healthy aspect, but a huge range of tempting flavours drew favourable comments – chocolate chilli, strawberry shortcake, lime ‘n’ pineapple and Pina Colada were just for starters. The name Happy Cow was apparently inspired by HK’s feral herds. Available throughout Hong Kong.
8. Lab Made
We ventured off the SoHo trail for this one, but the lure of Asia’s first liquid nitrogen ice cream lab was too tempting to ignore. Made from scratch and frozen to order using fresh ingredients This ice cream is pretty cool. The tweens were shivering in their Yeezys when they found out it’s frozen to a bone-chilling -196 deg C with super cold liquid nitrogen – this also means less cream is needed to produce the super smooth texture.
G/F 6 Brown Street, Tai Hang
Suave and sophisticated Venchi boasts a luxurious range of Italian flavours. A rather adult affair, the tweens were nevertheless blown away by the pineapple gelato. “This is the BEST gelato I’ve ever tasted,” enthused Kayla. More of a takeaway joint, the parlour has just a couple of bar seats if you want to take advantage of the air con. Also doubling as a chocolatier, it has a constantly flowing chocolate tap which seriously impressed the tweens. “I wonder if dad would install one at home?” wondered Lissy.
G/F Shop, The Pottinger, 21 Stanley St, Central
6. Elephant Grounds
Takes ice cream sandwiches to the next level. Daily flavours are made in limited quantities, so get in fast. The day we went along a creamy blueberry and vanilla was the taste of the day, sandwiched between waffle-style biscuits and decorated with Fruit Loops. By this stage, the tweens were reaching ice cream overload and our waitress kindly offered to quarter the sandwiches. They gamely finished a square each and wished they had room for more. We also loved the cute outdoor balcony overlooking a sunny square.
11 Gough Street, Sheung Wan
5. Oddies Foodies
East meets West with Italian soft-serve gelatos mixed with local, street made Eggettes. The combination of smooth, cool ice cream and warm egg waffles had the tweens hooked. There are loads of different flavours if you just want a scoop in a cone or cup, and if you like your sundaes a bit lighter, try the yoghurt or fruit gelatos. And for a treat with a difference, ask for a “Jar-leto” – gelato plus toppings layered separately in a jar. This newly-opened Central parlour went straight to the top of the tweens list.
45 Gough Street, Sheung Wan
4. XTC Gelato
Local hero XTC serves up all-natural, artisan gelato using seasonal ingredients. Everything is homemade from scratch – from grinding the Italian-grown pistachios to peeling the fresh, local fruit. “This is GREAT gelato,” enthused all the girls lemon came out as a particular favourite. Other flavours with more of a HK twist include milk-tea gelato. XTC also uses Australian low-fat milk and less cream. A big thumbs up from everyone.
Shop B, 45 Cochrane St, Central
3. Holly Brown
The “blue vanilla” was a hit, along with pink bubble gum and the waffle cups. The tweens experimented with a variety of toppings and particularly liked the frozen raspberries. Our photographer loved the coffee and the well air conditioned spacious parlour. The portions were generous and the girls did start to struggle. “I’d like to finish it, but I’m a bit full,” said Margie. Definitely one to come back to.
22 Stanley Street, Central
2. Emack & Bolio’s
There was no beating the self-styled “rock star” of the ice cream world. Multi-award winning parlour Emack & Bolio threw open its doors in Hong Kong a couple of summers ago and now has a loyal following of fans, all hungry for its outrageously good sundaes, funky cones, cool cakes, super scoops and smashing smoothies. The tweens couldn’t believe their luck with the super sweet cones, decorated with Fruit Loops glued on with marshmallow. Watch out for that sugar rush.
26 Cochrane Street, Central
1. Stanley ice cream van
You can make ice cream as fancy as you like, but nothing really beats soaking up the sun with a $9 soft serve cone overlooking the South China Sea.