Header image courtesy of Brooke Lark (via Unsplash)
Originally published by Sophie Pettit. Last updated by Annette Chan.
There are few things worse than a disappointing ice cream, but few things better than when it totally hits the spot. To ensure that your icy experience is everything you want and more, we’ve tracked down over a dozen of the most famous, outrageous, and downright delicious ice creams Hong Kong has to offer—while experiencing a record number of brain freezes in the process (the things we do for research, eh?). Bon appétit—or should we say, buon appetito!
While Holy Gaw is a restaurant, not an ice cream shop, we couldn’t talk about our favourite scoops in town without mentioning their homemade ube ice cream. The quintessential Filipino treat is made with sweet yams, which have a mild, coconutty flavour and appealing purple hue. At trendy Filipino eatery Holy Gaw, the ube ice cream sandwich ($48) is served in toasted green pandan bread to create a lovely tropical combo that satiates without being too sweet.
Holy Gaw, Shop 4, 15 Swatow Street, Wan Chai | (+852) 2782 3988
If you have a weakness for both pastries and ice cream—and who doesn’t—then head over to Owl’s Choux in Tsim Sha Tsui, where you can enjoy your gelato in airy choux puffs. The à la carte options include popular creations like the praline noir ($60) with hazelnut and praline gelato, and pop rocks-studded popcorn and rocks ($60).
Owl’s Choux, 32 Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 6199 5176
One of the OG gourmet ice lolly brands around town, Nice Pops made a name for itself with gourmet alcoholic ice lollies, though the product line has since expanded to include non-alcoholic options, too. Some of our favourites include the mango pomelo coconut cream, which is inspired by the classic Hong Kong dessert, as well as the rum-spiked passionfruit pina colada pop. While they don’t have their own shop space, you can follow the brand’s social media to check out their next pop-ups.
Inspired by Italian flavours and executed with Japanese precision, I Cremeria specialises in delicious, creative soft serve ice cream. The menu is split into categories like classico crema (classic milk or matcha soft serve), frutta crema (ice cream served with fresh fruit), cioccolato (chocolate soft serve), and Giapponese crema (Japanese-style soft serve parfaits)... all of which is to say, you’re guaranteed to find something you’ll like.
Want to indulge in a nice cold scoop out in the sun, but don’t want to compromise on your new diet? Look no further, as Happy Cow is whipping up delicious treats for both vegan and health-conscious ice cream lovers alike. Replacing dairy products and artificial flavours with organic coconut cream and fresh fruits, Happy Cow provides a wholesome treat to cool down on a hot day without compromising on taste or texture.
From the sweet mango to the creamy banana caramel swirl, all of their products are kosher, gluten-free, vegan, low glycemic, and void of cholesterol. We love that this lovely local brand is so committed to creating a healthier and more sustainable alternative for both people and the planet. Click here for a list of retail locations.
Taking the crown as Hong Kong’s most Instagrammable ice cream, American export Emack & Bolio’s is heaven for creative eaters. Take your pick of cones, embellished with everything from chocolate to marshmallows, sprinkles and fruit loops, then pile it high with wacky ice cream flavour combinations. While this is definitely not an everyday snack—for the sake of both your waistline and your wallet—a trip to this sweet spot will never disappoint on treat days.
Those craving a simple tub of ice cream joy need look no further than trendy coffee spot Elephant Grounds, which offers Hokkaido milk soft serve ($35), as well as sundaes ($55) and ice cream sandwiches (starting from $68).
Throw caution to the wind and welcome two cookies to the table with the exclusive ice cream sandwich of the week, or ride the ultimate sugar high with the Movie Night ice cream sandwich, which blends chocolate chip cookies with salted caramel ice cream and candied caramel popcorn. If you still have room after all of that, then you have to try the coffee, which is roasted at their 7,000-square-feet digs on Hollywood Road.
Without a doubt the favourite ice cream parlour of Hong Kong’s four-legged population, Gino’s Gelato welcomes dogs to join in the fun at both its locations. Whipping up special dog-friendly ice cream with a generous donation to the SPCA included in the price, this sweet spot is sure to get those tails wagging. It may not be the best value for money or the most authentic gelato you’ve ever tasted, but it will certainly help keep you out of the dog house.
Pretty, yes. But when you take on the job of crafting petals out of ice cream, you open yourself up to high-speed melting. The lavender ice cream at Barista by Givrés was delicious, especially when paired with the vanilla, and definitely made us keen to try out the other 12 flavours. The gratification is a little less than instantaneous, given the elaborate shaping and carving required, but they make up for it in beauty and diversity of choice, with options like the floating rose ($80; a gelato rose on the iced tea or coffee of your choice), waffle & rose ($75; a gelato rose wrapped in an egg waffle), and the three-flavoured gelato rose ($78).
Barista by Givrés, Chui Man House, 7 Staunton Street, Central | (+852) 9659 0816
The inevitable queues at Via Tokyo require a dedicated time slot in your diary, but when you tuck into your delectable Japanese treat, you’ll be glad you put in the effort. We recommend the mochi matcha mix soft cream—a combo of matcha and vanilla whipped together and presented in the cup with some sweet little treats thrown into the mix. Definitely worth snapping an Instagram shot while you’re there—you’ll make your friends green with envy!
Via Tokyo, Shop 1A–1B, Leishun Court, 106–126 Leighton Road, Causeway Bay | (+852) 2895 1116
We’re all suckers for a Passion salad here, so it will come as no surprise that we’ve succumbed to the temptation of its colourful gelato once—fine, twice. The passionfruit flavour was creamy, full of flavour, and comes with a glowing recommendation from the Localiiz team. Throw an extra $2 into the pot and you’ll be presented with a waffle that magically transforms any scoop of gelato into a tulip—with a dash of imagination on your part.
Not particularly edgy or worthy of the camera eating first, but a consistently solid choice for those who want little more than high-quality chocolate ice cream in a waffle cone. Besides the classic vanilla, milk chocolate, and dark chocolate soft serves, Godiva also offers a variety of seasonal flavours in the summer months.
Head to Holly Brown, pick your gelato, throw in some fruit or candy if you wish, and watch as the team mix it together on a marble slab and pop it in a waffle cone. Not sure what to get? Let the team take the creative reins and choose one of the delicious pre-made combos, or try one of the loaded crazy shakes ($98), which are drizzled with syrup and topped with doughnuts, waffles, whipped cream, and other toppings.
Known for their aesthetically pleasing lollies, I See I See was one of the first homegrown brands to popularise gourmet ice lollies way back in 2015, populating our feeds (and freezers) with ice pops adorned with perfectly frozen slices of fruit. While the brand still has a few brick-and-mortar locations around town, their strawberry Hokkaido milk ($42) and refreshing kiwi ($38) lollies are more widely available at retail points like City’super.
On sunny days, you’re sure to spy a Mobile Softee (or, as we all call it, “Mister” Softee) parked up near transport hubs and tourist hotspots. Rocking the retro vibe, this much-loved ice cream van offers great value for money as well as the most delicious whippy soft serve vanilla cone we’ve ever tried. Big statement? Not when it will only set you back a modest $12. Short of change? Don’t panic—just whip out your Octopus card.
With a scattering of shops and kiosks at various spots across the city, including popular spots such as Causeway Bay, Central, and Repulse Bay, Häagen-Dazs is a classic go-to when you’re looking to satisfy those sugar cravings. Make sure you swing by during the Mid-Autumn Festival to bag yourself a selection of ice cream mooncakes in a range of delicious flavours or keep an eye out around Valentine’s Day for their elaborate rose-shaped ice cream cakes.