On my last day in Hong Kong, Typhoon Ramaasun was really flexing her muscles, which resulted in short bursts of torrential rainfall at the most inconvenient times. On my way to Swindon Books, over on Lock Road, I was caught in two separate rain showers, one which resulted in a spontaneous trip to Mira Mall and once I emerged into daylight again, I was pleasantly surprised to see a Lab Made Ice Cream stand! I had researched this ice cream prior to my trip, but wasn’t sure if I had the time to find it. So it was almost serendipitous that it was right there!
Lab Made Ice Cream, is ice cream that is made before your very eyes. According to their website, the ice cream liquid is rapidly frozen with liquid nitrogen, at -196 Celsius. This rapid freezing process results in a smoother and creamier ice cream, that is free from ice crystals. Being a total chemistry flunkee, I really had no idea how liquid nitrogen works, but the idea of a smooth, creamy ice cream was enough for me to fork over my money to try it!
They have new flavors every two weeks, and this week in tandem with their collaboration with To-Fu-Oyako, and to celebrate their two year anniversary, they had four new flavors: A: Birthday Cake, B:Ginger Tofu Pudding, C: Sweet Pea Tofu, D: Lemon Ribena Greek Yogurt. I was tempted to try the tofu flavors, but I realized that at 45 HKD ($174 NTD, almost $6 USD) this was not a time to experiment with a flavor that I might not enjoy. So I chose the birthday cake flavor. I was surprised that there were no additional add-ins, or toppings to choose from. (I thought all those fancy Kitchen-Aid mixers on the counter meant that I could be creative with flavor and topping combinations?)
After about five minutes, I collected my order, which was a small cup of pale green ice cream, topped with a “2” sprinkle covered sugar cookie. I found out later the pale green color was actually because the ice cream was pandan flavored. (Pandan cake is a chiffon cake flavored with the light green juice of pandanus amaryllifolius leaves, and is quite popular in Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia)
If you look closely, there are tiny crumbs of birthday cake and tiny bits of marshmallow incorporated into the ice cream. The ice cream tasted like a vanilla birthday cake. The consistency was quite smooth, and it melted quickly.
There is also no seating available, or even an awning to hide from the rain. And, of course it started to rain after I took my first two bites. So I had to duck into a dodgy building reception area to finish eating. However, another bite in, I was chased away by a group of smokers. So, I ended up eating my ice cream while holding an umbrella, while navigating the back alleys of Tsim Sha Tsui, which was an experience in itself!
To be honest, I’m not sure I would pay that much money again for a Lab Made Ice Cream. It’s not necessarily the price of the ice cream that is the obstacle, but it’s more due to the reality that birthday cake flavor was fun, but not especially memorable. However, I did enjoy the colorful serving concept of their ice cream, I thought the number shaped sugar cookie really contributed to the celebratory feeling. I also really admired the fun, colorful design of their ice cream stand. I love the colors in their logo, and I think it’s great that they collaborate with cute cartoon characters. (I’m now regretting that I didn’t buy the Lab Made X Tofu Oyako figurine, which is just adorable)