Saigon sidenote: Sweet sins

Before I keep blogging about Cambodia, I need to quickly share about a food experience we’ve had here in Saigon.

By now you probably know how much I love good food. What I may not have confessed yet is that I have a particularly strong weakness for ice cream. I just Love the stuff. Love with a capital “L”.

When I was reading about food places here in Saigon in the Lonely Planet, a place called Fanny’s Ice Cream Parlour caught my eye. LP wrote that it serves some interesting flavors, including durian – the only exotic fruit that I have been a wimp about trying.

I’m very curious and eager to give durian a go, but being shut up with the intense smell of it when a Cambodian family sharing the bus with us had it for a snack kind of put me off, plus the fact that when I’ve seen it for sale, it’s always been as a whole fruit, and durian get to be massive!

I found this video online if you are curious about the whole smell thing:

Anyhow, it seemed like durian ice cream could be the perfect introduction! I’ve never experienced smelly ice cream, and I could order just one scoop. Thus Fanny’s ended up on our to-do list yesterday.

We didn’t know what we were getting in to. We sat down at the mini-table. Everything is cute and girly – tiny carnations in a small vase, doll-sized wine glasses with single gulps of cool water… – except the menu, which was huge to the point of awe and overwhelm.

Let me put it this way. There is one item on the menu, a share-with-a-friend sampler. You get to pick your flavors for a taste-testing platter. Twenty of them.

Twenty flavors isn’t enough to come close to exhausting the ice cream they have on offer. The menu includes a bevy of creative and intriguing taste combinations piled together in beautiful and colorful ice cream works of art.

This is the one Roman ordered off the menu – I forget the name but it involves fruit salad including lotus pod seeds and lotus root, refreshing berry ice creams and sorbets and a lotus flower made of white chocolate and whipped cream. Just to give you an idea.

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I went rogue though and created my own plate. After agonizing deliberation, I and my taste buds ended up with four scoops of ice cream heaven.

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“Young rice” was delicate, smooth and light. It got a bit lost but did provide some balance to it’s more potent companions. “Chili chocolate” had just the right amount of spicy bite while still being a totally satisfying chocolate experience. “Peanut” was sweet, nutty, chewy bliss. “Ginger” was zingy and creamy at the same time. Perfection. All topped by thinly sliced almond and the definition of what caramel sauce really is meant to be. No artificial flavors here (or in any of the ice cream either for that matter) – just a deep, toasty, amazing flavor blending perfectly with the lighter notes of ice cream.

Can you tell I was in heaven?

And yes, I realize after all that I didn’t get around to trying the durian ice cream after all. Shucks, I guess we’ll just have to go back!! 😉

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