While every season is ice cream season, summer gives us more of an excuse to go out and experiment with different frozen treats from around the region. Dubai scoops out an incredible range of ethnic ice creams, so we assigned our Eating Designer Mufaddal Husein (@mufaddal.husein) and food tour guide Nahla Tabbaa (@nahlatabbaa) to order in their favourites. Tune in to our podcast using the player below to learn about Filipino halo halo, Thai stir-fried ice cream and Arabic booza.
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We’ve shared our top locations for these treats in the post below and if you scroll down to the end, you’ll find a link to a scoop-happy guidebook featuring our stops from a past #Sufra ice cream-athon food tour.
FILIPINO HALO HALO
Food tour guide Nahla describes this eccentric sweet-savory Filipino shaved ice and ice cream dessert as a ‘cartoon character!’ It’s got everything from condensed milk and beans to creamed corn and shredded cheese. Yes, shredded cheese. She ordered hers from a popular fast-food chain called Chow King, but the one in the photograph above is from a spot called Bulwagang in Karama (055-183-0598, google pin).
THAI STIR-FRIED ICE CREAM
Thai stir-fried ice cream is a new trend that has become quite the frozen sensation around the world. Tune in to the podcast above to learn about how it’s made and our Eating Designer Mufaddal’s favourite flavour at 51 Rainbow in Karama (04-348-5584, google pin.)
This stretchy ice cream is made using a base of milk, sugar and sahlab, which is a tuber of a type of orchid flower that grows in Turkey. Sahlab helps to thicken the ice cream and gives it a unique stretchy ‘playdough’ quality once the ice cream maker theatrically pounds the mixture in a frozen cylinder. A similar ice cream called dondurma is made in Turkey and saffron-infused bastani in Iran (though far less stretchy). Farooj Al Shami on Rigga Road in Deira (04-299-9340, google pin) serves this ice cream (call before you go to make sure it’s in stock because the ice cream is not prepared on site but brought in from a different location). We also love the saffron bastani at Sadaf Iranian Sweets on Maktoum Road (04-229-7000, google pin).
PS. The booza spot in JLT that Nahla referred to on the podcast was Bouzet Jeddo, a Beirut-born ice cream concept from the 1960’s that’s run by the grand daughters of the founding jeddo (grandfather). While you can’t watch them make traditional ‘pounded’ booza at the shop, they do offer two flavours infused with sahlab—one with mastic (pine-like resin) and the other with ashta (clotted cream) and pistachios.
MORE FROZEN INSPIRATION
One of our most successful limited edition tours was, not surprisingly, an ice-creamathon featuring 6 delicious and unusual scoops across Dubai. We compiled a special guidebook with the locations of all the places featured as well as a few additional spots thrown in for those who’re screaming for more ice cream. Find the guidebook here.