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Daily Drip

Lao Gan Ma Ice Cream is Now a Thing

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It’s well-established wisdom that everything tastes better with Lao Gan Ma, the spicy chili sauce from China’s Guizhou province that has won hearts and minds across the world.

But ice cream?

Cookiebar Creamery, a California-based ice cream store, thinks so and is now combining the spicy chilli sauce flavor with vanilla ice cream, resulting in Lao Gan Ma stans losing their chill-i across the internet. 

According to Cookiebar’s online menu description, Lao Gan Ma Vanilla Ice Cream makes “a perfect balance of sweet, savory and crunchy.” Although, their Insta description admits that you’re either “gonna hate it or love it.”

Founded by Tao Huabi from rural Guizhou, Lao Gan Ma’s oily, mottled mixture of fried spices has become an iconic condiment, winning celebrity fans such as John Cena and even making an appearance at New York Fashion Week.

In China, it’s been paired with ice cream before, though usually as a condiment. A 2018 craze that was particularly common in Sichuan saw a number of outlets adding the sauce on top of vanilla ice cream or serving a dollop of it with ice pops — something to try at home if you can’t make it to Cookiebar right now.

While Cookiebar’s blended version appears to be a newer invention, this isn’t the first time beloved Chinese flavors have found their way to US ice cream stores. Last year, LA’s Wanderlust Creamery caused a stir with their “unauthorized” White Rabbit ice cream based on the classic Shanghainese candy.

Related:

White Rabbit Is Pissed About Unauthorized “White Rabbit” Ice Cream

So how does Cookiebar’s Lao Gan Ma variety taste? Bay Area food blogger Feed MeiMei dropped a TikTok video with the spicy scoop after driving 40 minutes for a tub. “Personally I was not a fan of this combo, but I brought it back for my mom to try and she loved it,” she says.

Seems like Lao Gan Ma ice cream is going to be divisive. If you’ve tried it, leave us a review in the comments below. 

Jocelyn Yang
    Jocelyn Yang is a student journalist at Emerson College and serves as an editorial intern at RADII. Her primary field of interest is writing about Chinese and American cultures. Follows her on Twitter @_jocelynyang_.