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Six Cool Asian Desserts You Should Try This Summer

Brace yourself, Chicago: These wild and whimsical frozen treats are taking over.

Thai rolled ice cream

Thai rolled ice cream

Photos: Jeff Marini

A popular treat at the beach resorts of Thailand, this most Instagrammable of desserts starts out as a liquid—in flavors such as green tea and strawberry—that gets poured onto a freezing cold surface. Once solidified, it is scraped into coils and topped with sprinkles, marshmallows, Pocky sticks, and other fanciful garnishes. $5.37. Legend Tasty House, 2242 S. Wentworth Ave.

 

Vietnamese chè

Vietnamese chè

Bambu’s versions of this Vietnamese concoction—the Uptown restaurant offers 15 kinds—are similar to bubble tea but with more chewy things, like pandan jelly and red tapioca, bobbing about in coconut milk or juice and crushed ice. $5.25 to $6.25. Bambu Desserts & Drinks, 5010 N. Broadway

 

Korean bingsoo

Korean bingsoo

Bingsoo is basically fresh and canned fruit served over ice. Sounds healthy, right? Not so fast: The fruit is crowned with ice cream, sugary mochi nuggets, and sweetened condensed milk. $6.79. Outdoor Cafe, 3257 W. Bryn Mawr Ave.

 

Hong Kong egg waffle

Hong Kong egg waffle

Also called eggettes, egg waffles are typically eaten as a street snack in Hong Kong. The ones at Snow Junkie are bent into a cone shape while they’re still warm and stuffed with ice cream and your choice of add-ons. Somehow, the waffle never gets soggy. $7. Snow Junkie, 3759 N. Racine Ave.

 

Filipino halo-halo

Filipino halo-halo

Halo-halo means “mix-mix” in Tagalog, and that’s precisely what you do with this Technicolor dessert of shaved ice and evaporated milk. Tapioca pearls, chunks of sweet potato and banana, coconut jelly, sweet beans, crushed cornflakes, purple yam ice cream—it’s a crazy-looking mélange, but it works. $6. Bacolod Chicken Haus, 6320 N. Lincoln Ave.

 

Taiwanese shaved ice

Taiwanese shaved ice

To form this diaphanous treat, water, milk, and a flavored powder (like taro or mango) are mixed together and frozen. Then a machine shaves off thin layers of the ice into a pile that resembles ruffles on a wedding gown and is decorated with chewy tapioca beads or fruit. $5.95. La Mom Kitchen, 2229 S. Wentworth Ave.

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