Move over, Baskin Robbins! Surf City has a new ice cream in town and it’s exotic! Thai styled, rolled ice cream, seems to be the “it” treat for this summer season and the little store front, Snow Factory, is bringing the heat!
Snow Factory: Surf City’s Newest Craze!
I was riding down the beach road last week and as I was passing Fancy Sushi, I noticed that something was going on at the side of the blue, flat building. People were lined up outside the door, on a Wednesday night, waiting to get inside. Of course, curious me, had to slow down and take a good look! The sign over the door read, “Snow Factory Ice Cream.” I thought to myself, “That must be the best ice cream in town! Look at how many folks are waiting to get into the building!”
I came back the next day in the afternoon “off” hours, hoping to avoid crowds and much to my surprise, Snow Factory was still very busy. As I waited in line, I was able to spend a bit of time looking at the menu and was blown away by all of the options. This “Thai, rolled ice cream” was different and I felt like being adventurous!
What is Thai rolled ice cream?
The Snow Factory serves Thai pan-fry ice cream rolls. It is “cooked” on a hibachi table that’s kept at -10 degrees. The ice cream mixture is poured onto the hibachi table, and mixed with your choice of three toppings. The cream and toppings are chopped and mixed together until they are crystallized. The one preparing the ice cream spreads the mixture into a thin, block shape. He takes a metal spatula and then proceeds to scrape the mixture into a roll. After he has scraped up five rolls, he places them into a cup and pours the syrup of your choice over the ice cream. That, my friend, is Thai ice cream!
I couldn’t wait to place my order and decided to have something totally exotic. Ordering Number 18 on the menu, “Ujikintoki”, was a bit awkward because I couldn’t pronounce it. Don’t be embarrassed to order by number! I went with a cream base of Matcha Green Tea and red bean paste. I had heard that red bean paste was sweet and one of one of the most important ingredients in Asian desserts. Choosing a creamy chocolate stick, flaked coconut, and maraschino cherries rounded out my three toppings and condensed milk was my choice of syrup. Would this be a heavenly concoction?
The Snow Factory Experience
In a way, I felt like I was at a Japanese steak house, watching an experienced cook make my dinner with great flair. The ice cream maker (or roller) poured my green, creamy liquid on the hibachi table and then added the red bean paste and coconut. Expertly, he turned the mixture over and over, blending and chopping as he went. After a minute or two, the confection began to thicken and he spread it out over the table. Everyone in the line with me was watching for the miracle to begin. He took the spatula and began to roll up the ice cream and place it into a cup. He then poured the sweet syrup over the beautiful rolls and put the cherries on top. The chocolate wafer sticks were put on the side, like straws. It was beautiful!
As he made my Ujikintoki, other Snow Factory ice cream makers cooked up their masterpieces on their hibachi tables. Beautiful cups of ice cream rolls were being turned out every three minutes. So much care was being put into the presentation of the rich dessert, it made you feel like you were getting something really special. Maybe like you were in Thailand?
Decor: Asian Simplicity
I went to one of the cute little tables and sat down with my treat. I had been so preoccupied ordering and watching my ice cream being created, that I hadn’t had a chance to look around at Snow Factory’s interior. It was simple but cute! The lamps hanging over the tables were like paper origami globes. An Asian touch? The walls were butcher block and white. The wall decor though was the most impressively simple design I had ever seen.
Who knew sticky notes could be decorations? All of the walls were covered in colorful sticky notes with messages and comments written on them. It was like clean graffiti, covering everything but really easy to clean up if you were in the mood for bare walls. Bill, my ice cream date, picked up a sticky note from one of the many pads lying around the store and wrote one for us. “Bill and Donna, Thirty-Eight Year Anniversary.” (Yes, this was an anniversary date for us!)
I sat there and couldn’t help but read all of the notes surrounding my space. They were commenting on birthdays, special occasions, telephone numbers, (crazy, right?) and giving mad props to the Snow Factory’s special Thai treats. I read one that said, “1,356,789 reasons why I’m fat.” I suppose that’s a true — but great — review!
Really, you must go to Snow Factory for Thai rolled ice cream! If you have to wait in line, it’s worth it and will give you plenty of time to decide what you want to order. It’s a treat and a great show! Be sure to leave some graffiti on the wall!
Snow Factory is located at:
124B North New River Drive
Surf City, NC 28445