Monday, October 29, 2012

Ice cream -from the street to the branded shops!

Many many Vietnamese love ice cream, probably because we are living in a tropical country, so to enjoy the cold, sweet, flavorful ice cream is almost everyone's favorite thing!

When I was a kid, I remember I bought not one but at least 2-3 ice cream bars, put all of them in a glass, crushed them...until they have melted and enjoyed the sweet, thick, cold melted ice cream liquid! Another very cheap ice cream - made from only ice and sirup. I bought and just few minutes later only ice left as I already sucked all the sweet sirup mixed together with the ice-melted water. This cheap ice cream used to have only orange flavor. These days this kind of simple cold snack seemed gone!

                The ice cream vendor near to the school

But one more favorite thing from the childhood: how much I loved to get it after the afternoon nap, the ice cream in a sweet soft bread! The vendor puts two or three scoops of ice cream, up to the order, into the bread as sandwich, top it with roasted peanut and condensed milk!

                                   The bell is almost a symbolic sign for ice cream cart in Saigon! 

The taste of the cold sweet and flavorful ice cream together with sweet soft bread, roasted peanut, condensed milk...always makes me happy!

And that remind me in Singapore - there is one street vendor in Orchard Road, not far from The Marriott, selling a similar, but he uses the sandwich, he cuts the ice cream block into quite thick slice and put between two slices of sandwich. I don't know why I didn't try at that time and many times later...

         Mixed flavors ice cream in soft bread, topped with roasted peanuts & condensed milk! 

Eating ice cream habit came a long way with me until I was in overseas for my study, where I had the most wonderful years. During the winter there I loved to buy a  good ice cream outside the metro station, standing in the cold, minus 20, covered by snow, I did enjoy my warm ice cream! So, hot or cold weather, it doesn't matter if you are ice cream lover!

           The first Haagen Dazs in Saigon, trendy spot for the youth! 

Saigon's today has changed...the ice cream is still a favorite street snack for many kids, but mostly in some areas far from the heart of Saigon. As in the center so many nice designed ice cream shops opened: starting from the first 31flavors Baskin Robbins in Tran Hung Dao street  in 1990s and now the first Haagen Dazs in Han Thuyen street - next to our famous Notre Dame church!

Baskin Robbins had a hard time to survive in Saigon as they came very early, there was a time they withdrew from the market and suddenly came back aggressively early this year! According to some of my "trendy" relatives, they said Baskin Robbins for young teenagers, and Haagen Dazs for the "upper class"! Yeah maybe they are right because one small scoop of Haagen Dazs costs more than 3 USD! Very crowded at night, when we curiously went there after 9:00 PM!

          but I may prefer my homemade banana ice cream! 

I don't know how hard is the battle between the ice cream in the street and the ice cream from the trendy shops. Probably no battle at all, different target, different customers but I feel sorry for  some local brands as Kem Trang Tien in Hanoi or Kem Bach Dang in Saigon, or very old brand "Eskimo"which has been swept away by the historical incidents in Vietnam, as they seems no plan to build up their brand, to expand the market!

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