It’s July in Atlanta, when the search is on for icy delights to tame the summer heat. Why not switch up the standard cold sugary treat in a cone and try something new?
Buford Highway, the international corridor that runs from Brookhaven to Duluth, is chock full of diverse flavor options of the cooling variety. You can travel the globe while staying within our fair metro area to uncover international cold treat favorites that range from exotic slushies to layered mixtures of halo-halo packed into tall cups. We’re here to help you chill out with something new.
Green Tea Bingsu at Hansel and Gretel Bakery Cafe
It’s a difficult task to pass up all the fresh baked pastries at Hansel and Gretel, but Green Tea Bingsu satisfies a craving with freezing sweetness. Like a snowdrift in a bowl, the Korean shaved ice dessert is rich, yet delicate, and large enough to share with friends. Here’s a tip: Don’t order and wait for it; watch the process of building the green heap of goodness made with high-quality matcha. Green tea mixed with condensed milk is run through a machine that shaves it into flaky shreds with a silky texture. This fluffy mound gets topped with boiled, mashed, then sweetened red beans and capped with scoops of green tea ice cream. Chewy, bouncy bite-sized mochi balls add texture along with zigzaggy drizzles of matcha sauce and sweetened condensed milk.
6035 Peachtree Road, Doraville. 470-375-7447, hansel-gretel-bakery-cafe.business.site.
Pineapple Slush at Kung Fu Tea
It’s all about customization at Kung Fu Tea. Choose the cup size, tea, amount of ice, toppings like the fresh made boba bubbles or a cream cap, even the amount of sweetness in your drink. For a light, hydrating frosty delight, opt for the Pineapple Slush. This golden sunshine in a cup virtually summons cool ocean breezes and sandy shores with tropical flavor. Kick up the tropics a notch with a layer of nata jelly, made with coconut pulp. The shop puts a traveling paper cover over each cup and encourages you to kung fu chop a large pointy straw through it. Take that, humidity!
5280 Buford Highway, Doraville. 770-455-8585, kungfutea.com.
Golden Shogun at Matcha Café Maiko
All that glitters is gold at Matcha Café Maiko. But it’s not all about visual impact with their Golden Shogun matcha cone. Matcha, the finely ground powder of young, freshly harvested green tea leaves, is the purest form of green tea. It adds a transformative earthiness to any dessert. Here, the ice cream is dense, creamy and almost savory tucked into a freshly made waffle cone. They will even swirl it together with vanilla, if you want to sweeten your cone or enjoy a visual contrast. The pièce de résistance is a lacquering of 24-karat gold leaf. It’s Instagram … well, gold.
5306 Buford Highway NE, Doraville. 470-359-3142, matchacafe-maiko.com.
Mix and Match Ice Cream Bowl at Sweet Spot
This new dessert hot (or cool?) spot in Peachtree Pavilion Shopping Center specializes in Hong Kong-style fusion desserts. The place is always abuzz with people lined up for bowls and for the milkshake’s cousin, the fleecy. The showstopper here is an ice cream bowl with a freshly made bubble waffle. The fluffy, almost custardy waffle sits as a backdrop as well as tasty complement to cool, creamy ice cream. Pick two scoops of ice cream and two fruits. Then choose from toppings like gummy bears, Froot Loops cereal or caramel corn. Pick a drizzle and then add-ons like Pocky sticks or mochi balls. Make sure to snap a photo of your clever creation in front of the Hong Kong street scene mural or under the neon signage.
6035 Peachtree Road, Doraville. 678-615-7913, datsweetspot.com.
Cheese Foam Tea at Sweet Hut
Cheese Foam Tea began as a beverage sensation at night markets in Taiwan and has made its way to the U.S. It’s not actually brewed cheese, but rather brewed black or green tea with a foamy topping made with cream cheese, milk and a sprinkle of salt. The tangy cream overlay makes for a full-bodied experience. The tea mixture in your mouth is sweet like boba tea but with a creamy, savory finish. Unlike boba teas, the trick is to not use a straw, but to tip the cup at a 40-degree angle to sip both tea and the foamy top layer. If cheesecake came in liquid form, it would drink much like this.
Various locations. Sweethutbakery.com.
Halo-halo at Manila Mart
Manila Mart is a small grocery offering Filipino delicacies on the shelf and in prepared form. Among them is a traditional sundry called halo-halo. Composed of colorful layers, the cold dessert appropriately translates to “mix-mix” in Tagalog, a dialect of the Philippines. Halo-halo’s topper is vivid purple ube-flavored ice cream flavor made from purple yam, and a couple of scoops cap this cup of cool sweetness. Layers are built upon ube jam and shaved ice made with evaporated milk. The treat could stop here and still be delicious, but the layers go on. Cubes of custardy flan supplement sweetness. Kaong (palm fruit) is spooned on along with nata de coco (coconut gel). Boiled red mung beans and sweetened white beans are then added. There is condensed milk and evaporated milk. A pile of corn flakes is sprinkled on top for a bit of crunchiness. Its layers are pretty, but you know what you have to do: Mix-mix it to taste a little of everything in one bite. It’s creamy, sweet, crispy and savory all at the same time.
5938 Buford Highway NE, Doraville. 678-389-8595, manilamart.business.site.
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