Ever heard of stir-fried ice cream?
We’ve been seeing these ice cream scrolls blowing up on Instagram over the past few weeks. They’re a big deal in Thailand, where they originate, but lately stalls have been popping up in New York, London and across Asia. Sydney’s version is slap back in the middle of the city in Chinatown, and it’s called 3 Mama Chef’s.
The place is actually a fully functioning restaurant, but that queue – and be prepared, she’s a monster – is all for the stir-fried ice cream which they make at a hole in the wall out the front. You’ll be waiting a while, even if the queue looks short – we wait almost an hour on a Monday at 2pm, surrounded by bloggers snapping pictures, and it doesn't even look that crowded.
That’s because there is only one guy at the helm, manning what looks like the hot plate at a creperie, but this one is around –35°C. He pours on a goopy mix of ingredients (we go for a green tea ice cream base, Oreos and white chocolate) then spreads it about while mixing and folding and chopping into it with two sharp-looking scrapers. He keeps tossing and mixing and eventually the mix freezes into a kind of non-aerated ice cream. He then spreads it thin onto the plate and carefully scrapes off ‘scrolls’, pops them into a tub and Bob’s your uncle.
We did a short vid to give you an idea of what we're talking about here:
So how do they taste? Not great, we’re sad to say. The mix is weirdly sticky – almost like the stretchy, mastic quality of Turkish dondurma, but not nice. Rather than being a fun sort of sticky (aka dondurma), this is more like heavy, gluey, sickly tar. No aeration = tough, heavy gelato.
We’re suckers for a fad though so we try a different approach: this time we go for milk flavour paired with crunchy peanut butter and brownies. It’s mildly better – but not by much.
Like so many fads though, it does looks kickass on your Instagram feed. So there’s that. But next time we’re in Chinatown we’ll be taking our fad-crazed friends to Aqua S instead, because nothing beats fairy floss clouds.
Wana check out some ice cream that we love? Hit up Sydney's best gelato.
|Venue name:||Three Mama Chefs||Contact:|
410 Pitt St
|Opening hours:||Mon-Fri 11am-11.30pm; Sat 11am-12am; Sun 11am-11pm|