The only thing hotter than Dallas and her fair 'burbs this summer is the cold Asian dessert craze. From bingsu to bao, trendy treats are cropping up all over town. There's never been a better time to seek a delicious reprieve from the heat.
Mango Mango, 2205 N. Central Expressway, Plano, and 2625 Old Denton Road, Carrollton
This cold, sweet Cantonese soup is just the thing for chilling out in a hurry. Sago refers to the pearl tapioca beads you’ll find in a variety of bases at Mango Mango, ranging from fruit purees to “snow white juice” (a combination of coconut and evaporated milk). Ingredients like fresh mango ice cream and watermelon juice are even more refreshing than a dip in the pool. If you’ve ever wondered what durian (“stinky fruit”) tastes like, this is the place to go. A durian dessert bowl with banana and basil seed ($7.50) will sate your curiosity.
Snowy Village, 2540 Old Denton Road, Carrollton
Bingsu will ruin you. Try one spoonful of this downy-fine Korean shaved ice, and ordinary snow cones may never speak your love language again. At this oasis in Carrollton’s Korea Town, delicate snow is dressed up any number of ways and mounded into a sleek metal dish to preserve its essential frostiness. Flavors range from the play-it-safe strawberry to the more adventurous injeolmi (glutinous rice cakes dusted with roasted soybean powder) paired with earthy red beans. A small ($7 to $9) is big enough for sharing, especially if you hope to make room for a croissant taiyaki ($3.50 for red bean, $3.75 for Nutella or 3 for $9.99). These amazingly flaky creations come hot off the press, so be sure to spend as long as possible basking in the air conditioning beneath the neon snowflake ceiling.
Ube soft serve
Sweet Daze, 581 W. Campbell Road, Richardson
Ube (purple yam) is the “it” flavor of the moment, but it’s long been a staple of Filipino desserts. It's highly Instagram-able because of its stunning purple hue, and its flavor is surprisingly subtle, comparable to vanilla or white chocolate. Sweet Daze’s soft-serve ube ($5 for a waffle cone) is exceptionally creamy and every bit as photogenic as the sparkly “galaxy” doughnuts.
Ice cream bao
Sumo Shack, 5629 SMU Blvd., Dallas
Sumo Shack has mastered not only the art of the late-night snack but the cold, sweet treat game as well. You’ll never believe it’s 100 degrees outside as long as you keep the ice cream bao coming. Use the obligatory “one of each” rule when ordering this take on the ice cream sandwich. Cold green tea or red bean ice cream is a pleasing contrast to its warm, crispy-edged bao cradle ($3.50 each). Don’t skip the cold sake juice box.
Taiwanese shaved ice
Sno Tea, 5930 W. Park Blvd., Plano
Sometimes the writing on the wall is an omen of good things to come. Such is the case at Sno Tea in Plano, where the wall reads “treat yo’self.” Here, unlike flaky bingsu, shaved ice takes on a ribbony, sea creature-like quality achieved by a unique freezing and shaving technique. Put your own spin on it by choosing your preferred size ($5 for a medium one-topping, $7 for a large two-topping), sno ice flavor, toppings and drizzle. Fun flavors like lychee and honeydew can be adorned with mochi, popping boba or just about anything else to create the perfect plate.
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Jipangi ice cream
Bubble Jipangi, 2640 Old Denton Road, Carrollton
Although its phallic shape may be a bit awkward, jipangi ice cream is worth the risk of having to eat with your eyes averted. The puffed-corn, cane-shaped cone is filled with chocolate, vanilla or swirl soft-serve ice cream and can be decorated with macarons, strawberries or Pocky. This popular Korean treat will cost you $4.99 for an original size — and possibly your dignity — but it's sooo worth it.
Thai rolled ice cream
Chills 360, 2646 Elm St.
Fans of green tea ice cream, head straight for the Matcha Made in Heaven ($7). Its earthy matcha flavor is balanced with tart, fresh strawberries and a sprinkle of strawberry syrup. Lines pour out the door at this place, not only for the ice cream but also for the pageantry of watching its transformation. What begins as a liquid custard base is artfully paddled into thin sheets of ice cream and delicately scraped into lovely little rolls right before your eyes. Chills, open past midnight on the weekends, is where you go for a show after the show.