It's summertime in Houston. That means it is hot outside.
Everyone has a favorite way of cooling down in the summer heat. For food blogger Mai Pham, it means a trip to the Dun Huang Plaza in Chinatown, a massive complex of Asian shops and restaurants.
On a recent trip to the plaza, Pham hit up three of her favorite places for cooling down with some frozen treats.
First stop: the Nu Cafe, where the specialty is a Taiwanese treat called Snowflake Ice. It may look like your traditional shaved ice, but it is anything but that. Huge slabs of flavored ices that take 10 hours to prepare are shaved into a mountainous pile and topped with healthy fruits and syrups. The texture is unique, but leans more towards ice cream than shaved ice.
Next stop: the Gelato Cup, where gelato is king. Here, Pham tried a hand-held Japanese delight called mochi ice cream. Mochi is a pounded sticky rice wrapper that is wrapped around ice cream or in this case, gelato. The small squares of frozen delight are easily picked up and eaten by hand.
And the last stop was at the Juice Box, which serves a more traditional Chinese shaved ice. Ice is run through a grinding machine and put in a bowl, then covered in condensed milk, topped with syrups and fresh fruit, and finished off with a scoop of ice cream. This creation may violate the old food rule - "never eat anything bigger than your head."
Pham says there are several shops in the plaza that sell shaved ice, but the one at Juice Box is her favorite.
All three places are located inside the Dun Huang Plaza at 9889 Bellaire Blvd.
For more information on these "cool" shops go to:
Nu Cafe: http://nucafehouston.com/
Gelato Cup: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Gelato-Cup/150028551685055
Juice Box: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Juice-Box/191386806421
To read Mai Pham's blogs, check out:
Houston Press: http://blogs.houstonpress.com/author.php?author_id=2696