The childhood memory of summer involves sunshine, bike rides, picnics in Centennial Park, outings to Darling Harbour and ice cream dripping down my arms. Always ice cream. It's no wonder I'm a bit of an ice cream fiend these days, but one must try to restrain the nostalgia a little, if only for the brain freeze. Saying that, I never got brain freeze as a kid because I couldn't eat ice cream that quickly; hence the sticky arms.
LNC Dessert House, Sussex Street, Haymarket
In search of some refreshing sweetness one day finds us tripping down Sussex Street and directly to the last outdoor table at LNC Dessert House - an almost psychedelic Asian dessert establisment at the less bustling northern end of Chinatown, boasting colourful ices and ice creams, J-Pop (or was it K-Pop?), traditional sweets and even savoury snacks.
They've got it all for late night munchies, sweet tooth calling or any in-between meal really. And while that red bean ice with green tea ice cream isn't our order, it gives me insight as a first timer at LNC as to what's ahead of me. Initial thoughts: it looks watery. In the hot humidity of the afternoon, the melty, drippy trail of red bean ice down the table takes me back a few years(/decades).
I'm a little taken aback with my vibrant mango ice choice - there's just so much going on although this shot doesn't show off the crazy multicoloured bean ball-like minature sticky rice balls, which were actually one of my favourite parts.
The beauty of this is that as much as I like ice cream, I can't consume three scoops of it. Furthermore, I don't like mixing my flavours - yes, I'm an ice cream separatist. However, this isn't mixing ice creams - genius! The bottom of the martini glass is filled with a mango flavoured ice slush that's not too sweet nor too heavy like two scoops could be.
And then there's jelly cubes to top it off: mango, some white one that could be vaguely coconut but maybe not, and the mildly bitter and medicinal grass jelly, which goes surprisingly well with mango ice slush. I'm a convert to this ice cream-mix-jelly-ice-hybrid-dessert-combination thing.
We also order the contrastingly-hued black sesame ice - which pops with the creamy and strong taste of the black seeds, and is actually slightly milky with seed bits as opposed to the non-dairy, smooth mango ice - topped with a ball of speckled ruby strawberry ice cream that's utterly and pleasurably refreshing. I wouldn't have thought strawberry and black sesame as a matching combination, but this place just keeps surprising me.
The beauty of it all is that the ice is nowhere near as heavy or stomach-filling as ice cream or gelato. One could almost pretend that it was kind of healthy; if you squint and and turn your head in just the right way. And there's no melting stickiness running down your arms - sometimes it's good to be grown up.