Bảo Hoa & Vân Nguyễn
As summer has made its presence known with scorching heat over the past few weeks in Hà Nội, nothing beats a scoop of ice cream to help you cool off and regain a positive mood on a hot day.
The age-old dessert – and snack – never seems to be out of fashion. New flavours come out every week, and if you are a teenager or a twenty-something, you probably love the trendy ones like baked cheese or milk tea with tapioca pearls.
But if you’re the classic type and like to keep things a bit more traditional, coconut ice cream is a good choice.
One shop in Hà Nội has been selling it for more than 20 years. Here instead of cones or bowls, the ice cream is served in actual coconuts.
The top of the fruit is removed so the water can be drained. Then three scoops of coconut ice cream are placed inside the shell, then decorated with different types of toppings.
|Coconut ice cream served in coconuts at a coffee shop in Hà Nội. The classic flavour snack/dessert is not only delicious but also eye-catching. VNS Photos Vân Nguyễn|
“Besides ice cream, we add roasted peanuts, dried crispy coconut, shredded fresh coconut, dried cherries and chocolate sauce to make it more eye-catching, which young people like a lot,” said the shop owner Nguyễn Thị Bích.
“We also serve a glass of coconut water together with the ice cream.”
Bích is well-versed in the ice cream business, having run her own ice cream workshop years ago.
“Our shop opened in 1992, at first we sold plain ice cream only. Our business has been in operation for more than 20 years," she said.
“Starting from 1996, we shifted to coconut ice cream as the demand for food became higher and more intricate. Diners wanted not only high quality but also eye-catching food.
“Ice cream served in coconuts was something new at that time. So we have been focusing on this type of ice cream since then.”
Bích runs the shop with her son and daughter-in-law, which is located at the end of Thanh Niên Street.
Service businesses are having a tough time due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the shop seems to be luckier than most. Between 300 and 500 portions of ice cream are sold every day to people of all ages.
“Our business has been affected by the pandemic but not much,” she said. “We have lots of delivery orders. Regular customers still come here.”
|Customers enjoy coconut ice cream at the shop.|
Hundreds of fresh coconuts are delivered to the shop every day. Ice cream is stored in tin containers and is always ready to be served to in-store customers.
But for takeaway orders, firmer ice cream is used to make sure it doesn't melt en route.
Although it’s a simple and classic flavour, coconut ice cream is still stealing customers' hearts.
Bích said: “Our shop is very crowded in the summer. In the winter we still have customers, because our ice cream has no ice, just cool enough so it’s suitable for even older customers and still tastes good in the winter.”
The pretty scoops of sweetness can really melt your heart. Just ask the regulars.
Nguyễn Thu Hà, 60, said: “I come here very often. I’m a regular and also the owner’s best friend. I often come here with my friends, sometimes my grandchildren.”
“The coconut ice cream is nice, and the price is reasonable,” she added. “The presentation is excellent. The ice cream is not too sweet. It cools you off.”
So if you want a snack that not only reduces the summer heat but also pleases the eyes, check out ice cream served in coconuts. — VNS