‘Rolled ice cream’ trend spreads to Tennessee

By Victoria Leuang, Studio M staff //

With two new shops making their way to Tennessee,  the Thai-inspired rolled ice cream trend has finally spread beyond New York City.

Thai-style cream rolls at Chiang Mai Night Market in Thailand. (Photo by Kzoop on Flickr)

“That’s a big thing in business nowadays. Everyone wants to go and follow the new trend and take pictures,” said Kristina Douangpanya, owner of Nashville’s Supreme Kreme, which opened in May.

The popular dessert was originated by street vendors in Thailand. This isn’t an ordinary soft-serve ice cream; rather, it’s rolled and hand-crafted in front of each customer. According to the New York Times, the treat is also referred as “stir-fried ice cream” because of the constant hand movements required to process the dish.

Interactive timeline: The history of rolled ice cream

Rolled ice cream takes about two to five minutes to prepare on an “anti-griddle,” says Alex Champasouk, an ice cream roller at Supreme Kreme.

Made to order, the rolls start with a creamy liquid base that’s poured onto a below-freezing round pan that immediately freezes when it reaches the cold plate. Any flavors are chopped and mixed into the base by two metal spatulas, then spread across the pan.

“If you wait too long, the ice cream won’t roll; it’ll start cracking. And if you wait too soon, it’ll be like pudding,” said Champasouk.

Once everything is laid onto a freezing surface, the ice cream prep scrapes the rolls one by one into an ice cream cup topped with fruit, candies or other toppings.

In August, rolled ice cream shop T-OP Cold Grill Ice Cream and Tea opened in Murfreesboro. The store originated in New Jersey.  

“We couldn’t find a location, so we met (with) an agent. He told us he found a spot near (shopping center) The Avenue; we looked at it and knew we wanted to do it,” said T-OP owner Shen Chen, whose cousin owns the New Jersey location. She says a third location in downtown Franklin should open next year.

Chris DiPeri, a New York native and customer at T-OP, says the Murfreesboro shop reminds him of home.

“I’ve had rolled ice cream before in Brooklyn (at) Blossom Ice Cream. They’re similar, but the place in New York had a crazier menu. The ice cream here seems to be lighter,” DiPeri said.

Thai ice cream rolls being scraped into individual rolls. (Photo by KZoop on Flickr)

Over at Supreme Kreme, but the family-owned shop serves lactose-free and gluten-free options as well as Boba tea. Weekly specials range from “buy one, get one half-off Boba” on Wednesdays to “taco-rolled ice cream” on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Douangpanya said she decided to open Supreme Kreme because she “wanted to bring something new” to Nashville.

Adds Champasouk: “Even as an adult, it makes you feel like a kid again.”

Supreme Kreme is located at 2309B 8th Ave S. in Nashville. T-OP Cold Grill Ice Cream and Tea can be found at  2855 Medical Center Parkway in Murfreesboro.

Victoria Leuang is a junior majoring in journalism at Middle Tennessee State University.

Studio M, a project of the College of Media and Entertainment at MTSU, allows student journalists to be published statewide and nationwide. It’s made possible through grants and donations from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Tennessean and BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee.

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