Standing in the Lucky Rolls Ice Cream shop, considering which rolled ice cream flavors we would like, my mother and I quickly review the game plan: we would each order a different flavor so we can split the loot.
“So what flavors would you like?” the cashier asks.
“The Panda and Mr. Peanut.”
“What name should I put down?”
My mother and I mull it over. Henry? Joe? Gosh, what do you name an ice cream? Being that this visit was in my honor, my mother leaves this difficult decision to me: “Well, what do you want to call your ice cream?”
“Oh, no,” the cashier interrupted. “I meant want name do you want this order to go under?” Oh. Well, considering I have never been to Starbucks, I really don’t know much about the name, order etiquette. Turns out that they will always be asking for your name, not the name you wish to designate to your particular food order.
Rolled ice cream, a popular street food in Thailand, has recently come to America to join the ranks of other Instagram worthy food, among rainbow bagels and Nutella pizza. Rolled ice cream has particularly exploded in the NYC area, with stores drawing in hundreds of tourists each day. When I discovered this new trendy dessert, I quickly checked if there were any kosher rolled ice cream stores. I was in luck. About a year before the start of my cravings, a Kosher rolled ice cream store opened up in Englewood, NJ.
David Ng and Debbie He decided to open Lucky Rolls Ice Cream in Englewood, N.J. after visiting and falling in love with the peaceful atmosphere of the town. “We both love ice cream and bubble tea (another Taiwan delicacy). So, we decided to put those things together into a store,” said Ng, co-owner of Lucky Rolls, in an interview with Fresh Ink for Teens. What makes rolled ice cream different from your average ice cream? Ng explains that rolled ice cream has the perfect texture, balancing the frozen consistency of regular ice cream with the creamy and milky quality of rolled ice cream. Lucky Rolls also adds an extra layer of texture by adding toppings like cereals, cookies and fruits to their ice cream.
Lucky Rolls became kosher certified in November of 2017 after numerous customers recommended they do so. Ng admits that the process of acquiring kosher certification was difficult. With determination and hard work, the couple was able to invite the Rabbi to their store. After careful inspection, the Rabbi concluded that the rolled ice cream is kosher, but the bubble tea is not. Since the owners want to keep the authenticity of the Taiwanese bubble tea, they are leaving the non-kosher recipe unchanged.
Ng and He spent half a year perfecting their original cream base and are proud of their finished product. The finalized recipe remains a secret to all but Ng, He and the Rabbi. “We tried all the competition and we made it better,” said Ng. He invites people to come judge for themselves. The owners of Lucky Rolls are open to any criticism, as they are always trying to improve, striving to make the best even better. Their next big project? A vegan base.
Lucky Rolls currently offers seven different flavors, ranging from “The Cereal Killer” (Fruity Pebble Cereal) to “The Cap’n” (Captain Crunch Cereal) to “The Panda” (Oreo Cookie). Currently, “The Panda” and “The Graham” (Golden Graham Cereal) are the most popular flavors. Ng’s personal favorite—“The Munchies” (Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal).
After my mother and I recovered from our embarrassing name blunder, an employee invited us to watch as they made our rolled ice cream. On a frozen steel surface, they place the cereal/cookie of choice (Reese’s Peanut Butter Puffs and Oreo Cookies). Afterward, they pour their original cream base. After smashing the cookies into the milky cream, they spread it until it forms an ice cream-like texture. Then, the fun part: they roll the ice cream into multiple swirls and place the finished product in our cup.
From my countless hours of watching cooking competitions on the Food Network, I know that food should be judged on two factors: presentation and taste. The presentation of rolled ice cream definitely beats the primitive scoop structure found with regular, old ice cream. As for the taste, it’s difficult to determine whether or not it is better than regular ice cream; it’s different. Although it has a crunchier texture, once you bite into it, the rolled ice cream immediately melts in your mouth. Overall, it was delicious.
Chani Shulman is a junior at Manhattan High School for Girls. She is a Staff Writer for Fresh Ink for Teens.