By this summer, Center City Philadelphia should have not one, not two, but at last five shops selling Thai rolled ice cream, a made-from-scratch-to-order dessert popularized by Southeast Asian street vendors.
The treat is made by pouring cream and flavorings on a super-cold pan; a worker then scrapes and blends the ingredients. The floor show is entertaining.
First guy in should be collegian Kyle Billig and his Washington Square store called Sweet Charlie's, which he says is about a month out at 711 Walnut St.
Chinatown, though, is going to be awash in the sweet stuff.
As I noted in my recent round-up of spring/summer restaurant openings - will be a branch of I CE NY known as I CE Philly, coming to the new Chinatown Square indoor food hall, at 1020 Race St. (It will occupy a spot in the front window, near Halal Guys.) Partner Oak Apisit, working with a company that he says has 250 locations in Thailand, says he is targeting early June. (Other locations are being developed in Delray Beach, Fla., Atlanta, and Los Angeles.) I CE Philly (that's "Icy Philly" to you) will have three "pans" so three customers can be served at once.
Also: Stephen Ngo, owner of Royal Tea, Philly's first bubble-tea truck, is saying June for the opening Teassert Bar (227 N. 10th St.), which will serve Thai-inspired ice cream rolls and bubble tea - all made with natural ingredients (no powders or artificial flavors, he says).
Directly across the street, at 224 N. 10th St., is a spot called Ice Land, under construction and looking at an early May opening. It will sell Taiwanese shaved ice (a creamy variation of the Thai product, shown at right) as well as small desserts.