33 Lạc Trung, Hai Bà Trưng, Hanoi
Snowball is an ice cream parlor, a café, and a patisserie. As if that’s not enough, they also sell teddy bears, toddler’s shirts, and stickers. I’m not a big fan of their other offerings, but their ice cream is definitely very good.
Snowball is owned by a Korean company and has 4 locations around Hanoi. I’ve been to the ones on Tran Huy Lieu and Van Phuc Street, though apparently they have a branch on Le Thai To opening soon. I’ve been told that the type of ice cream they serve is quite popular in a few other Asian countries but this is the first time it’s available in Vietnam. The ice cream here is not served in scoops but in a cup filled with tiny balls of ice cream that through some complicated process do not stick together. It is definitely interesting and they also have hard-to-find flavors such as Cotton Candy and Bubble Gum.
The prices here are not cheap but they’re not terribly expensive either. For 35 thousand you’ll get to choose two flavors and they come in a medium-sized cup. It is probably equivalent to 1.5 scoops. I tried their cake and it’s pretty lackluster unfortunately. So was the kumquat juice that was imported from Korea – it tasted artificial and probably didn’t have any natural ingredients in it.
Snowball is clean, bright, and full of energy. Go here for ice cream, especially if you have kids. Just make sure they don’t get addicted to the Bubble Gum flavor.
I was really impressed with this place! It wasn’t completely due to the food though. If I was just scoring the ice-cream, it’d be a 3 star review, but bumped up to 4 for the weirdness factor of the strangely shaped pellets. I had been meaning to go here for a while, and got surprise attacked with a small cup of it at work, so no idea on the price or the flavours.
What really wowed us was the ice that was in the bag to keep the ice-cream from melting. My wife told me not to eat it (I have to be warned about things like that) but I just thought that was because it was dirty. It turned out it was because it was a chunk of dry ice. So we stuck it in some water, to see it react, and man, were we glad we did! It had four of us enthralled while it smoked as the carbon dioxide sublimed into a gas. We were entranced especially when it started blowing smoke rings. For an experiment, we tried sticking it in some left over sauce, to see if that would change the colour of the smoke, but nothing happened - maybe it was too oily to react. But I’m definitely going back soon to get some more, and do a bunch of science experiments with it - hot water, food colouring in the water, will it do anything in milk/juice. I’m sure my kids will love it too.
So food maybe 3 after the interesting texture wears off but the fun factor will definitely be a 5 forever! Since (and food) is fantastic!
This is not a cheap place but it does have a HUGE novelty factor. I wish I could have gotten some dry ice to experiment with too but these little balls that are called ice-cream are quite simply fascinating.
When I went there were lots of screaming kids, spoiled brats and people who were smoking next to their kids. Sometimes I just do not get it here but such are the mysteries that surround us every day.
Anyway, if you can manage to find a quiet corner and wait till the smokers leave then it might actually be bearable. However 45000VND for a small cup of this ball like ice-cream is a bit over the odds, especially given that it is not exactly located next to Hoan Kiem lake or anything worth visiting. They do serve western style coffees too but at western style prices so just beware.
Overall nothing much to write about and like one person has already said, probably worth the visit just once to check out this weird ice-cream. Enough said.
This place is also located on Tran Huy Lieu near our apartment which is a plus in the summertime. It recently opened about 2 months ago. The snow pellets are tasty (lemon lime) is the best flavor. They have a variety though so you can make your choice. I love it how they give kids stickers for free; keeps them occupied!
I've never tasted this kind of ice cream either. Maybe we don't even have it in North America.
I tried the double chocolate. I'm glad I did. It was odd eating ice cream pellets, and while I didn't enjoy the taste as much as "true" ice cream, the texture made up for it.
I can't imagine I'll come here often, but I encourage everyone to go at least once.
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