It gets hot in Asia. To cool off, people enjoy icy drinks and desserts. These treats are often fruit-centric and not overly sweet, so they are refreshing rather than decadent. Sounds like a great option in Houston, too. Here’s a look at a few icy options found in Houston’s Asiatown.
9889 Bellaire Blvd., D220, 832-831-8152
Hours: Monday to Thursday 11 am to 11 pm, Friday and Saturday 11 am to midnight. Closed Sunday.
With its kinda adorable schoolroom décor and old vintage movie posters – there’s even a Superman mural made entirely of Post-It notes that customers write on – Class 502 clearly values visuals along with edibles. Come here for an ice cream performance as guys behind the counter scrape, pound, smash and delicately roll ice cream into each paper cup. The rolled ice cream technique is a Thai import, and because it’s labor intensive a line of customers often forms. Toppings include little-kid favorites, such as Pocky sticks, animal crackers and Oreos.
10613 Bellaire Blvd., #150, 832-328-3900 (and other locations)
Hours: Monday to Thursday 9 am to 10:30 pm, Friday to Sunday 9 am to 11:30 pm
Bambu, a national chain, offers a Vietnamese treat called chè, which is a dessert soup over ice. Order the Fruit Addict, and you’ll hold a large globe of ice perched on top of a jumble of exotic, tropical ingredients ranging from crunchy red tapioca (made from water chestnuts) to long strands of pandan jelly. (There’s also longan, palm seed, jackfruit and coconut milk in there.) Other chè options include smashed avocado, a coconut combo, green bean, red bean and longan fruit. Each has at least three components that marry a variety of textures and flavors meant to be scooped up or slurped up.
9889 Bellaire Blvd. in the Dun Huang Plaza, 713-484-8085
Hours: Sunday to Thursday 11 am to 10 pm, Friday and Saturday 11 am to 11 pm
This Taiwanese-style shaved ice destination presents their snow ice like mountainous bouquets of dessert. The ice, processed to a slightly chunky consistency, soaks in milk and ice cream – chocolate, mango, strawberry and more. Dig your spoon deep into the heart of the dessert and infuse flavor into the ice with scoops of toppings (strawberries, mango, lychee, kiwi, etc.) glazed in condensed milk.
9889 Bellaire Blvd., #112A, in the Dun Huang Plaza, 713-771-7771
Hours: Sunday to Thursday noon to 10:30 pm, Friday and Saturday noon to 11:30 pm
Nu Ice differs from Juice Box because it serves “snowflake”-style shaved ice. Large round blocks of condensed milk ice are specially shaved into delicate, thin folds as smooth and soft as sorbet. They fall on the plate like silk sheets piled high, and you can customize your dessert with toppings and drizzle. Besides shaved ice, try one of Nu Ice’s specialty drinks, which look like marbled swirls in slushie-like ice. (You can get it with boba, too.)
9889 Bellaire Blvd. E207 in the Dun Huang Plaza, 979-450-4220
Hours: Sunday and Monday, Wednesday and Thursday noon to 10 pm, Friday and Saturday 11 am to 11 pm. Closed Tuesday.
This place, a rare gem, serves Hong Kong-style desserts. There is a category of desserts dedicated to vanilla, another to mango and more. The base for these desserts include either sago pearls (similar to tapioca) or glutinous rice pellets (like mochi), a sauce or slush and toppings. One delicious option is the mango and sago dessert, served in a square orange dish and brimming with refreshing fruity flavors. Translucent little nibbles of sago float in a thick mango slush peppered with flakes of pomelo (related to the grapefruit) and crowned with a scoop of matcha ice cream. This dessert is perfect for Houston summer nights.