15 Sep2014

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A couple of months ago, while on a “crew trip” to Hong Kong, we walked past this sidewalk kiosk which was causing quite a ruckus. Hong Kong always seem to have people lining up for good restaurants, noodle places, shops, etc., so a line in and of itself wasn’t sufficient to stop us in our tracks after a very hearty dinner.

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But with some 40-50 people milling around, watching young Chinese crew members dressed in shorts and t-shirts printed with suits and neckties (huh?!) playing with fire (oops, no I meant liquid ice) sending smoke billowing both inside and outside the kiosk, DID make me incredibly curious. We decided we needed to FORCE ourselves, note the word FORCE ourselves to order a few scoops of liquid nitrogen made ice cream in the name of “research” and broadening our food experiences… :)

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They had only four flavors on offer (they change every two weeks) and two of those were already sold out, so we ordered two cups of mango and two cups of apple crumble. Each cup cost roughly US$5-6, quite expensive even with the theatrics, high rent and snazzy kiosk (you can buy a pint of Haagen Daz for that amount)! You get a number, your order is made fresh, and after say a 10 minute wait, you are called to claim your cup(s) of ice cream.

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In a standard Kitchen Aid mixer (plastered with the Lab’s stickers) with paddle attachment, you add good cream to the mixing bowl…

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…then some stewed apples (probably heavily sweetened)…

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…some liquid nitrogen from an insulated pitcher (the kind you might use for coffee or a cold drink…

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…and you mix it all up, sending clouds of cold vapor everywhere. Essentially, the incredibly cold liquid nitrogen transforms the cream and fruit instantly into ice cream! The process is supposed to yield an incredibly smooth and creamy ice cream, and I thought it met some of those claims, but I also worried that the quick production time meant there wasn’t enough “churning” of cream going on.

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I have to admit, I was intrigued and amused by the set-up, but it was a tad too gimmicky for me (then again, at 50, I must have been one of the older customers in line).

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The apple crumble flavor was good (topped with if I recall correctly, some almost freeze dried textured crumble, but I think the emphasis was more on the show, the process, rather than the quality of the ice cream.

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The mango ice cream was a slightly less appealing for a couple of reasons… the mangoes paled in comparison with our own back home, and they oddly topped the final produce with bits of pomelo, huh? Overall, it was a rather novel experience. But that’s it. A novel experience.

 

COMMENTS:

  1. gloo says:

    It’s more of a novelty really and yes, they add pomelo to their mango desserts like those served in Hui Lau Shan and other similar sweet shops.

    Sep 15, 2014 | 10:13 pm

     
  2. Stewart Sy says:

    Alton Brown showed this technique quite a while back, saying that the liquid nitrogen made for much smaller ice crystals. I think he was making avocado ice cream and even mentioned that avocado ice cream is very popular in the Philippines

    Sep 15, 2014 | 10:35 pm

     
  3. Natie says:

    Do I see MM-experimentation in the future? Food Channels feature nitrogen-cooking more now…

    Sep 16, 2014 | 1:02 am

     
  4. Marketman says:

    Natie, I would if liquid nitrogen were readily available in Manila… but I suspect it isn’t and it is rather expensive. And if folks aren’t really careful with it, we could have a frozen assistant cook in the kitchen… :)

    Sep 16, 2014 | 4:56 am

     
  5. Footloose says:

    …we could have a frozen assistant cook in the kitchen…

    Ain’t necessarily so as this clip explains:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3v2cBZpfY2A&list=UUxD2E-bVoUbaVFL0Q3PvJTg

    Sep 16, 2014 | 5:05 am

     
  6. Kaye says:

    Hi MM. You may try the Iscreamist in Magiting St. Teachers Village QC. Their desserts are not that expensive and a lot of customers in their store. They give you a cup of liquid nitrogen, just be careful because it can cause burns. Try the Dragon’s Breath. :)

    Sep 16, 2014 | 5:20 am

     
  7. Marketman says:

    Footloose, how cool is that, and however do you find these videos? I wouldn’t have thought to even google freeze person with liquid nitrogen… :) Kaye, thanks for that tip, but apparently it doesn’t burn people according to the video…

    Sep 16, 2014 | 5:59 am

     
  8. Betchay says:

    Here is an article on the safeness of liquid nitrogen. Read the comments as it also contains some info on food grade liquid nitrogen

    http://modernistcuisine.com/2011/10/is-liquid-nitrogen-safe/

    Sep 16, 2014 | 8:10 am

     
  9. Betchay says:

    Sep 16, 2014 | 8:15 am

     
  10. Blaise says:

    My friend who recently launched her artworks had this among her food nibbles that night, and I especially liked the one with rhum. Interesting concept.

    Sep 16, 2014 | 12:48 pm

     
  11. betty q. says:

    MM…try Air Liquid? Philippines in Taguig.

    Sep 16, 2014 | 2:19 pm

     
  12. Corrine says:

    I really want to try making ice cream using liquid nitro after we had some in the same shop in Hk. I have been wondering where to buy liquid nitrogen though. CIGI?

    Sep 16, 2014 | 8:14 pm

     
  13. Dragon says:

    Air Liquide or BOC/Linde/Cigi (Pasig). Two main producers/distributors of gases.

    Sep 16, 2014 | 8:18 pm

     
  14. Ron says:

    there is similar shop getting good reviews named KOOL KIDS in Megamall

    Sep 16, 2014 | 11:30 pm

     
  15. ami says:

    The mango sago dessert I’ve had in Maxim’s Palace in HK had pomelo bits in them. HongKongers probably like the combination.

    Sep 17, 2014 | 10:15 am

     
  16. millet says:

    mango ice cream or sherbet and pomelo is a typical taiwanese dessert combination, i think.

    Sep 17, 2014 | 5:19 pm

     
  17. Nel says:

    There’s an ice cream booth in Midnight Mercato that serves ice cream using the liquid nitrogen method as well. Haven’t tasted it yet though.

    Sep 17, 2014 | 9:26 pm

     
  18. Monty says:

    A similar approach would be to use crushed dry ice and mix it with the ice cream base. Be careful not add to much of the base in the mixer since adding dry ice could cause it to bubble over. The ice cream will taste very fizzy initially, but mixing it longer will take the CO2 out eventually.

    Sep 18, 2014 | 9:25 pm

     
  19. Footloose says:

    But would it not border on the frivolous to use dry ice this way as using it to create fog to contrive romantic ambience when we are all frantically trying to reduce carbon emissions into the atmosphere? Using nitrogen on the other hand would seem beneficial if not benign since it will be welcome addition to the nitrogen cycle that we all are part of ourselves.

    Sep 18, 2014 | 11:49 pm

     
  20. Monty says:

    Footloose, I don’t think the source of CO2 in dry ice is from the burning of fossil fuel. They use the same CO2 source that soda companies use to make soft drinks. Brewing beer and making bread are just some of the processes that create CO2, and they’ve never been accused of causing global warming.

    Sep 19, 2014 | 11:15 am

     
  21. Toping says:

    I once saw a show on Discovery (or was it National Geographic?) channel where they used a fire extinguisher!

    Sep 19, 2014 | 4:38 pm

     
  22. Footloose says:

    Ample apologies to ice cream lovers. I can see now how ice cream can be essential to them since bread and beer, specially beer, have been mentioned.

    Sep 19, 2014 | 4:39 pm

     
  23. Chef Jay says:

    It really is for show. The liquid nitrogen ice cream they sell at Mercato wasn’t that good given its price, but I do have to admit I liked the ice cream made in ‘The Iscreamist’

    Sep 20, 2014 | 9:59 am

     
  24. Kaya says:

    I love the HK Toast flavor, yummy!

    Sep 20, 2014 | 11:37 pm

     
  25. Junb says:

    MM, liquid nitrogen is available in the philippines long time ago as it was commonly use by electronics and semiconductor manufacturing. There are some retail shop that sell it by liters good enough to experiment :)

    Sep 23, 2014 | 7:36 pm

     
  26. Bong says:

    On the US West Coast, there is A la’ Minute. Give them a try if you are in the Southern California area.

    http://www.alaminuteicecream.com/

    https://www.facebook.com/alaminuteicecream

    Sep 28, 2014 | 1:08 am

     
 

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