Over-the-Top Ice Cream is Out to Dominate the World

March 11, 2020

Most food trends these days are hybrids, renaissances, or reinventions. They’re spread like viruses through social media, and make their way onto restaurant menus even if they don’t fit the bill, because they instantly attract the obsessive foodie. Maybe it’s a coincidence that this current trend is reappearing in its current, larger-than-life incarnation during our hot summer months, but whatever it is, I’m sure glad it’s everywhere now. Ice cream places around the world are going bolder, no-holds-barred with their cool confections, and we’re starting to catch on, too.

I have no idea where it started, but the trend seems to have blown up in major food cities, from Hong Kong to Sydney to London to New York. Soft serve has gone crazy, dessert bars have gone whack, and ice cream can’t come sans toppings and straight out of a tub anymore.


In Sydney, it’s pioneered by world-famous Gelato Messina, who keep innovating their game. Made famous by Masterchef, they’ve become Australian staples with stores’ queues going around the block rain or shine, known for their innovative flavors, and ridiculous takes on chocolate filled and covered ice cream cones. They’ve recently launched a dessert bar where you can top your soft serve with everything, from fairy floss to lemon meringue shards to dulce de leche empanadas. Following suit are Aqua, who’ve got taro soft serve on their menu, decorated on fairy floss clouds. Even better are N2 Gelato, the most outrageous but maybe even more delicious of the whole bunch. Flavors can range from bacon and eggs to apple crumble with giant pork crackling decorating the whole sweet-savory mess.

In Hong Kong, Oddies Foodies is leading the pack. A tiny kiosk hidden in Wan Chai, the ice cream place serves the wildest sundaes you could ever dream of, with egg waffles that are both a nod to Hong Kong street food and the modern restaurants that are its face today. Some are even decorated with syringes full of caramel sauce, biscuits shaped like pigs, and earl grey flavored cubes of jelly. London has a staple in Camden stalwarts The Chin-Chin Labs, with their meticulously researched nitrogen ice cream–a sorbet that was meant to taste like the English summer had them recreating notes of grass, meadow, and flowers.


Back at home, we’ve begun to create crazy confections too, and started taking the art of ice cream and gelato very seriously. BONO Artisanal Gelato just won fan-favorite at the Gelato World Tour, and in their stead, gelato specialists Manila Creamery followed suit with their ridiculous pedigree and artisan scoops. The Lost Bread is churning out over-the-top milkshakes, some spiked, too, and Kool Kids in SM Mega Fashion Hall is bringing a bit of that nitrogen magic here, too, just like The Iscreamist in Diliman and 320 Below Nitro Cream Café in Singapore. The latest one is Outré in BF, with all the stylings of Sydney’s N2 and Hong Kong’s Oddies Foodies, complete with kitschy syringes and complex combinations.

This trend will definitely be the favorite of every sweet tooth. Sugary doesn’t have to mean saccharine, and with all these creameries and ice cream parlors offering inventive new takes, you’re guaranteed to keep guessing and keep eating.

What do you feel about over-the-top ice cream becoming a global trend? Where’s your favorite place to pick up the sweet treat? Tell us with a comment below!

Pamela Cortez Pamela Cortez

Pamela Cortez writes about food full-time, and has honed her craft while writing for publications such as Rogue, Town and Country, and The Philippine Star. She once rode on a mule for a mile just to eat mint tea and lamb in Morocco, and has eaten a block of Quickmelt in one sitting. Her attempt at food photography can be viewed online @meyarrr.

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