We saw the ice cream carts the first day we go to Bangkok. I was pregnant, lactose intolerant and a bit scared of creamy products in the sun. I was still a new expat after all. Months went by until I finally tried one of these delicacies and it turned out to not have any dairy milk in it at all. My first coconut ice cream wasn’t from a rolling cart but from the coconut truck on the corner of our street.
Down the street on Sukhumvit Soi 23, there was a girl that sold fresh coconuts off the back of a pickup truck. Apart from the refreshing coconuts in her cooler, she also sold really nice coconut ice cream served in a coconut shell. She would scrape the lush white meat and leave it as a topping.
Coconut Ice Cream on Bread?
Since we could get coconut ice cream inside a coconut anytime, we never felt the urge to stop the little cart with the musical bell. Then one day we noticed that the man in the hat was serving scoops inside a loaf of bread!
I was transfixed, I’d never seen anything like that before. it was like a thai ice cream sandwich. The bread was the soft and slightly sweet fluffy kind that is nice to dip in a cup of tea. In Peru we call this kind of bread “chancay” and I found it all very amusing.
From that day on I was obsessed with the newly discovered Thai street dessert. I wanted to take photos of it, eat it and write about it. For weeks the clinky bell eluded me. It crossed my path when I didn’t have the camera or it did not pass at all!
Finally one day while having soup at our favorite sidewalk street hawker at the end of Soi 23, we heard the chime of the ice cream bell. The man with the wide hat came straight for the sidewalk where we were enjoying our soup and SomTam. He wasn´t getting away this time!
Sounds the little bell of the coconut ice cream carts as they wander all over the city. Its almost always a man wearing a big shady hat. and there is only one flavor, coconut, the local favorite.
Order two scoops on a loaf of bread and a topping of roasted peanuts for a taste of the real deal.
What does it taste like?
Well, it tastes exactly as you´d expect, like ice cream on bread! The loaf is an airy puffy kind that´s not too sweet or too salty. You can´t take too long to eat the whole thing or the bread gets soggy. Either way its not like you´re going to let it sit around, its just too good to simply look at. That´s what photos are for!
Thais sure know how to cool down from the infernal heat in Bangkok.
For some reason most Thais are lactose intolerant and so they mostly consume coconut milk. In their coffee and tea, they use a sweet milk substitute made of whey. They use coconut water and coconut milk in almost everything they eat, from breakfast puddings to spicy curries, you will find coconut everything in Thailand. Don’t pass up on the coconut ice cream on bread, there really is nothing like it. Don’t forget the peanuts!