Ice Creams of the World

Come on, who doesn’t love a bit of ice cream from time to time?! But I bet you didn’t realise that there are so many different varieties around the world?

Gelato - but which flavour?
Gelato – but which flavour?

Gelato is the Italian word for ice cream, and is made with milk, cream, various sugars, and flavouring such as fresh fruit and nut purees. It is generally lower in calories, fat and sugar than ice cream. It is a type of soft ice cream containing a relatively small amount of air. By statute, gelato in Italy must have at least 3.5% butterfat, with no upper limit established.

Mochi Ice Cream
Mochi Ice Cream

Mochi Ice Cream is a small, round dessert ball, originating in Japan, that consists of a soft, pounded sticky rice cake on the outside and an ice cream filling on the inside. It is then dusted with corn starch. There are many flavours to choose from, but the most popular are green tea (matcha), vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, and red bean (azuki). Mochi is just perfect for Instagramming!


I-dtim Mat Phrao (otherwise known as Coconut ice cream) is the best-selling form of ice cream in Thailand! The ice cream is made from coconut milk and served in the coconut shell itself (usually). The texture of the ice cream in Thailand is thicker than western variants. It can be topped with exotic fruit and enjoyed on the beach!

Why do all Dondurma sellers look so cheeky?
Why do all Dondurma sellers look so cheeky?

Dondurma is a thick heat-resistant ice cream variation that is commonly sold from both street vendor’s carts and store fronts in Turkey where the mixture is churned regularly with long-handled paddles to keep it workable. Vendors often tease the customer by serving the ice cream cone on a stick, and then taking away the dondurma with the stick and rotating it around, before finally giving it to the customer.


Kulfi has similarities to ice cream in appearance and taste, although it is denser and creamier. It comes in various flavours, with the more traditional ones being cream (malai), rose, mango, cardamom (elaichi), saffron (kesar or zafran), and pistachio. Unlike Western ice creams, kulfi is not whipped, resulting in a solid, dense frozen dessert similar to traditional custard-based ice cream. Thus, it is sometimes considered a distinct category of frozen dairy-based dessert. Due to its density, kulfi takes a longer time to melt than Western ice-cream.


Fried Ice Cream is commonly sold in China. This dessert is commonly made by taking a scoop of ice cream frozen well below the temperature at which ice cream is generally kept, possibly coating it in raw egg, rolling it in cornflakes or cookie crumbs, and briefly deep frying it. The extremely low temperature of the ice cream prevents it from melting while being fried. It may be sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar and a touch of peppermint, though whipped cream or honey may be used as well.


Sorbetes is the traditional variation of ice cream made in the Philippines. It is distinct from the similarly named sorbet. Peddled by street hawkers, it is usually served with small wafer or sugar cones and more recently, bread buns. It is uniquely made from coconut milk, unlike other iced desserts that are made from animal milk.


Frozen Custard was invented in Coney Island, New York in 1919, when the ice cream vendors found that adding egg yolks to ice cream created a smoother texture and helped the ice cream stay cold longer. True frozen custard is a very dense dessert. The high percentage of butterfat and egg yolk gives frozen custard a thick, creamy texture and a smoother consistency than ice cream. Frozen custard can be served at −8°C (18°F), warmer than the −12°C (10°F) at which ice cream is served, in order to make a soft serve product.


Booza is an elastic, sticky, high level melt resistant ice cream which should delay melting in the hotter climates of the Arabic countries where it is most commonly found. This Booza ice cream is usually and traditionally made with an ingredient called Salep, which provides it with the ability to resist melting at the speed which other regular ice creams are affected by. Salep is also a primary ingredient in the Turkish version of this style of ice cream named Dondurma.


Liquid Nitrogen ice cream has been around for a long time, but has only recently been getting global attention. The secret to the creamy liquid nitrogen ice cream is all in the rapid freezing of the mixture. The liquid nitrogen causes the fat and the water particles to stay very small, giving the ice cream its creamy consistency – and creating lots of icy steam in the process, which looks good when you see it made in the ice cream parlour before you! Liquid Nitrogen ice cream is not yet available to the public because it is quite dangerous to make, as the low temperatures required to make it, can freeze body tissue. Yet the taste is the main thing!

Ice Cream J-Cone
Ice Cream J-Cone

Korean J-Cone ice cream is full of soft serve ice cream that is generally lower in milk-fat (3% to 6%) than ice cream (10% to 18%) and is produced at a temperature of about −4 °C compared to ice cream, which is stored at −15 °C. Soft serve contains air, introduced at the time of freezing. This is what you will find in South Korea, which was invented in the Insadong district of Seoul, as they have mastered the art of the soft serve ice cream, and will serve it to you in unimaginable ways, such as in J-cones made of corn or at a height so large that it could topple over!


Spaghettieis is a German ice cream made to look like a plate of spaghetti. In the dish, vanilla ice cream is extruded through a modified Spätzle press or potato ricer, giving it the appearance of spaghetti. It is then placed over whipped cream and topped with strawberry sauce (to simulate tomato sauce) and either coconut flakes, grated almonds, or white chocolate shavings to represent the parmesan cheese.

So come on, let me know which of these is your favourite, and have I missed anything special that you have encountered from around the world?


17 thoughts on “Ice Creams of the World

  1. Impressive effort at trying to end my self imposed ban from eating ice cream!
    I ate it almost every day when we did our RTW trip. My favourites were Fanny ice creams in Vietnam and the incredible Gelato in Buenos Aires which I ate until I was sick. I also tried cactus and red wine sorbet in Argentina which was… different.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sorry about tempting you. 😛 Cactus and Red Wine sorbet…hmmm sounds interesting indeed! I am writing a blog post on the world’s weirdest ice cream flavours (can you tell I love ice cream?) and the worst I have found so far is raw horseflesh from Japan! 😮 I’ve never heard of fanny ice cream though, so I will check it out.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Mmm, gelato! I have yet to try Korean soft-serve ice cream, actually- I’ll make sure it happens when the weather warms up! Kulzi looks amazing 🙂
    There are also (literal) ice cream sandwiches in Singapore. Ice cream slices are cut from a rectangular block, and sandwiched between a piece of bread or two wafers! 😀


    1. In Singapore, we have a Korean soft serve ice creamery called Honey Creme – if you could imagine a pot of ice cream with candy floss on top of it! Some from Honey Creme even have popcorn for dressing! And you’re right, the Kulfi is amazing and a good dessert after any Indian meal! 🙂


        1. Ice Cream Sandwiches, yep. Another good version of ice cream that I missed here. But I have tried it many times in Singapore. There is one old Auntie who sells it on the Anderson Bridge next to the Esplanade…same place every day for years 😀 I am a loyal customer! 😀


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