Washington is blessed with a frozen-dessert scene that’s as colorful and international as the city itself. Here are eight global treats to try.
Taiwanese Snow Ice
Choose your own adventure at SnoCream Company, inside the Block food hall (4221 John Marr Dr., Annandale), where fluffy, creamy cups of “snow ice”—a hybrid of shaved ice and ice cream—come in flavors such as pandan and mango. Splurge on two, then add a kaleidoscope of jellies, nuts, boba, fresh fruits, and drizzles.
Thai Toast Sundae
Bangkok native Tammie Disayawathana’s charming, Insta-bait sweet shop, Magnolia Dessert Bar (431 Maple Ave. W., Vienna), is known for decadent desserts like green-tea “honey toast” load-ed with matcha, plus coconut ice creams, mochi, fresh fruit, Japanese Pocky sticks, and more.
Fresh-fruit popsicles are icy eye candy—especially from Jarabe’s tropical truck, which brings vegan and organic treats in tasty flavors including strawberry and pineapple-ginger to area farmers markets and sidewalks. Find them at jarabedc.com.
Filipino Halo Halo
This frosty mix of flavors and textures is available for dine-in or via portable cup from the Mount Pleasant restaurant Purple Patch (3155 Mount Pleasant St., NW) and its adjoining market. Owner Patrice Cleary loads the dessert with fresh ube (purple yam); housemade ube ice cream and shaved ice; coconut flakes and jellies; red and white beans; leche flan; and drizzles of condensed milk.
German Spaghetti Eis
You’ll be tempted to twirl these pasta-like strands of vanilla ice cream topped with cherry sauce. Instead, spoon it up at the Berliner beer garden (3401 Water St., NW) near the Georgetown waterfront, where the novelty sundae is topped with chocolate shavings.
Heaping bowls of snow ice—lavished with fruits, jellies, crunchies, and sweet drizzles—come in more than a dozen flavors at the cafe Siroo & Juk Story (4231 Markham St., Annandale; 13830 Lee Hwy., Centreville; 10176 Baltimore National Pike, Ellicott City). Go for the dreamy strawberry-macaron.
Hawaiian Dole Whip
Hawaii meets Mexico in chef Katsuya Fukushima’s refreshing dessert at Hatoba (300 Tingey St., SE) in Navy Yard. Fluffy pineapple soft-serve is treated like a Mexican fresh-fruit street snack—topped with sweet-savory chamoy sauce, Tajin spice, and fresh lime, plus a dash of Hawaiian li hing mui (salted plum) powder.
Peruvian Lucuma Ice Cream
Lucuma, a caramel-sweet, golden fruit native to the Andes, is one of the most popular ice-cream flavors in Peru. Try the rich, smooth rendition that’s long been on the menu at La Limeña Grill (1093 Rockville Pike, Rockville).
This article appears in the July 2022 issue of Washingtonian.