How do you greet the sweltering heat and suffocating humidity of Hong Kong summer with a smile? By gorging on ice cream with reckless abandon! The city has no shortage of sweet treats – sweet soup, bubble tea, matcha-flavoured dessert and more – but nothing beats a creamy scoop on a cone.
If you don’t know which swirl to go for, don’t worry, because we’ve got you covered. From nostalgic flavours like White Rabbit Candy, to ice cream flavours with a decidedly Japanese influence, here are some of the best ice creams to help you stay cool all summer long.
RECOMMENDED: Looking for something a little less icy? Check out our list of nostalgic snacks that Hongkongers will remember from childhood.
Best ice creams to try right now
Committed to using fresh and natural ingredients of different textures and flavours, Igloo has constantly rolled out different seasonal flavours and enjoys putting fun spins on their ice cream including the White Rabbit candy gelato ($42) topped with gooey White Rabbit sauce. Igloo also offers vegan options with flavours like blood orange, pineapple, lime, coconut water and dark chocolate, as well as gelato served in a baked cookie bowl.
Aside from its top-notch brews, hipster haven Elephant Grounds offers a delicious selection of artisanal, home-churned ice creams. We're particularly in love with their incredible ice cream sandwiches ($68), which differ from branch to branch.
At the Pacific Place branch, there's the chocolatey, fudgy Oh Fudge, whilst in the Mid-Levels, The Big O contains cookies and cream ice cream between bamboo charcoal waffles. Japanese tea fans might prefer the offering at the Causeway Bay branch, which has a tea-riffic combo of hojicha ice cream, black sugar and shaved white chocolate and mille feuille.
Vegan ice cream may not sound particularly appealing, but Happy Cow's managed to make it work. Founded in 2013, the company rustles up ice cream that's free of dairy, eggs and artificial additives, while remaining as indulgent as a Dreyer's rocky road. They accomplish this with a base of coconut cream and coconut sugar, blended with all-natural ingredients such as sesame, strawberries and fresh ginger. Flavours are available by the tub at major supermarkets and specialty stores, but you can also enjoy a scoop on the spot at Happy Cow's shop by the Observation Wheel.
Simple, delicious, exquisite – the guys at Via Tokyo whip up a storm with their soft serve, which makes for some of the very best ice creams in the city. The choices of this heavenly treat include Hokkaido milk ($35), but the king of them all is the matcha flavour ($37), which seemingly floats down your throat, exciting your taste buds at with every single bite and lick.
The self-titled ‘rockstars of the ice cream world’ serve up some of the best icy treats in the whole city. There’s a huge array of indulgent flavours, such as the cookie monster and the salted caramel chocolate pretzel (all $48 per scoop), and this makes it impossible to choose just one flavour that takes our fancy here. If the cream wasn't enough, there’re also a load of funky cones that come encrusted with rice crispies, marshmallows, fruit loops, or coco pops. Your camera alone will have a feast, and what's more to love than that!?
The Hyatt Regency's signature restaurant Sha Tin 18 has a solid reputation when it comes to Peking duck and authentic Dongguan cuisine but the high-end Chinese restaurant also does well in the desserts department, with ice creams of weird and wonderful flavours. A must-try is the refreshing huadiao wine ice cream ($42).
If you want to really spoil yourself, order the over-the-top Cremadoro from high-end Japanese ice cream parlour I Cremeria. Spun from Hokkaido milk, this luxurious soft serve is sheathed in edible gold leaf. The gilding doesn’t do much in terms of flavour, but it does add a whole lot of flair.
Originally from the US, Mister Softee's iconic red, white and blue ice cream trucks drove their way into Hongkongers' hearts back in the 70s with their signature vanilla soft serve swirled within a crisp sugar cone. Four decades on and this simple snack still enjoys plenty of praise from locals as well as tourists. While there are only a handful of ice cream trucks left, you should easily find one stationed in those areas with heavy foot traffic, such as near the Tsim Sha Tsui ferry pier and outside Langham Place in Mong Kok.