One of our writers spent 2018 traveling around Asia in search of delicious frozen desserts, and wanted to share a list of his favorite cities he had never heard of. Naturally, since this is an ice cream blog, he also felt obligated to include the best ice cream to get when you go!
Important Note: These cities have been chosen solely based on tourism activities and personal enjoyment. Deliciousness of the frozen desserts did NOT factor into the rankings. We’ll write another post soon ranking the best ice cream we ate in 2018!
Rabaul, Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea is up and coming on the travel stage, especially for travelers who enjoy less-touristed places, and Rabaul is the best city there to visit. With beautiful scenery, traditional villages and markets, snorkeling, and World War II history, there’s something for everyone.
If you are a serious rock climber, then the Railay / Tonsai area in Thailand needs to be extremely high on your “must-visit” travel list. A unique climbing culture with an awesome vibe, beautiful scenery, and forty crags ranging from a three to a thirty minute walk from where you’re staying, all make this a veritable heaven on earth for climbers.
The Place: Cameron Highlands, Malaysia Must Do: Hiking and Tea Plantations Must Eat Ice Cream:Mr. Aisu
If you’re traveling around the Malaysian Peninsula, the Cameron Highlands is a nice and somewhat less touristy spot between Kuala Lumpur and Penang. I spent a few days there and was very happy I did, it has some nice nature and tea plantations that was a nice break from the larger cities in Malaysia. I was also lucky enough to encounter the best ice cream I found in Malaysia, Mr. Aisu.
Cendol (sometimes spelled Chendol) is a shaved ice dessert covered in jelly-like colorful toppings, coconut milk, and gula melaka (palm sugar syrup). Wikipedia feels the need to clarify that it contains “worm-like green rice flour jelly”, but we think the description sounds better without that detail. Although it is not inaccurate.
Australians love their biscuits, and Iced VoVos are biscuits with pink fondant, raspberry jam, and coconut. We used strawberries instead of raspberries (you can use either) and marshmallows instead of fondant, and the result was utterly delicious, and honestly much better than the biscuit itself.
The Shop:Gelato Messina Locations: Various locations around Australia: Sydney, Melbourne, Queensland, and Canberra
I was spending the day sightseeing around Sydney, Australia with a good friend. Naturally, the agenda included the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge, and delicious ice cream. Now, we’re just friends, but a guy and a girl walking around- we looked like a couple, though she’s very beautiful and way out of my league 🙂 We headed over to Gelato Messina and were awestruck by 40 delicious looking and sounding flavors.
“Do you want to share?” I asked.
“No” was the frank reply.
I was surprised, (girls always want to share and then eat more than half, don’t they?) but I wasn’t complaining! Not only did we not share, but we each ordered triples- I got Salted Caramel White Chocolate, Malted Vanilla, and Tiramisu, and she got Salted Caramel, Pistachio Praline, and Salted Coconut and Mango Salsa.
We sat down outside, hurriedly took pictures, and dug in. As we started to dig in, the husband of the couple across from us turned to his wife and said, “See? They don’t have to share.”
The Shop:Aqua S Locations: Melbourne and Sydney, Australia; Auckland, NZ; Houston, TX, USA, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Our first stop in Australia was Melbourne, ranked by the Economist Intelligence Unit as the world’s most liveable city for seven years in a row, from 2011 to 2017. It reminded us a lot of Seattle with a very cool vibe, great arts scene, super walkable and bikeable, and terrible weather.
The Shop:Puhoi Valley Cafe Location: Puhoi, New Zealand (45 minute drive north of Auckland)
We visited the Puhoi Valley Cafe, about a 45 minute drive north of Auckland, since they had won the “Supreme Award for Boutique Manufacturer” award in New Zealand three years in a row from 2015-2017, most recently winning for their Chai Latte Ice Cream. We thought the ice cream was great and we liked the ambience. We wouldn’t make a special trip from Auckland just for the ice cream, but we’d definitely recommend going if you’re in the area.
Today we were in Nelson, a city in the north of New Zealand’s South Island. Nelson has a nice small-town feel, some delicious food, and a beach that is walkable from downtown. Claiming to be the sunniest city in New Zealand, it’s actually the Craft Beer Capital of New Zealand because it’s the only place in New Zealand where hops are grown (stay tuned for our next blog, Craft Beer International!). Naturally, because of all the sunshine, Nelson is definitely a good place to get ice cream. We went to Penguino Ice Cream Cafe, a cute penguin-themed cafe which is the only shop in Nelson that received gold and silver awards at the New Zealand Ice Cream Awards.
Our first stop on our trip around the world is New Zealand! We went to New Zealand for the hiking and for the nature, but there’s no better reward after hiking than a well-deserved cone of ice cream. Though we have to admit, we got ice cream before we did any hiking. The first ice cream shop we went to was Giapo Ice Cream in Auckland, a place with incredible flavors and even more incredible cones. Continue reading “Giapo Ice Cream Review- Coolest Cones Ever!”