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Street Food Chronicles: Fried Ice Cream in Siem Reap

2016 November 23

We travel, we eat, sometimes on the street. This time, we found something called “Fried ice cream” while wandering about Pub Street in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

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We’ve had “Fried” ice cream before; it can be a delightful hot-cold treat that has to be consumed the moment it’s served. This ice cream, however, was anything but fried.

We picked our fruit (strawberry and mango) and watched as it was roughly blended with milk–and then poured onto a flat cooking surface that was evidently being cooled from below.

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It took only a little mixing with spatulas to freeze the mix…

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Which then got spread out into a thin layer with the same two spatulas…

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And cut and rolled into strips thusly..

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And served in a bowlful of ice-cream roll-ups. Also for immediate consumption, but without the urgency of a deep-fried hot-cold ice cream.

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Then why, why, why, we wondered, was this called “fried” at all? The answer came via countless restaurant menus and street food offerings whose “fried” dishes weren’t deep fried at all–that was our assumption–but tossed and assembled on the flat surfaces typically used for preparing noodle and other fried rice dishes. Which made us realize that “frying” referred much less to the use of oil or high temperatures than with the cooking method and surfaces.

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One of those cultural “a-haaaa” moments. So now you can fry your ice cream and eat it (guiltlessly), too.

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