When 10Below Ice Cream opened its doors in NYC’s Chinatown this July, the shop’s owners did not anticipate how much love they would get right away. “Our grand opening day was ridiculous,” co-owner Richard Tam, 23, told Cosmopolitan.com. “We weren’t prepared for that many people.” Since then, customers have been waiting in line for ice cream, sometimes for up to three hours. For ice cream.
What makes 10Below’s ice cream isn’t the flavors, which are yummy, but the process: It involves a crazy-cold plate (you guessed it — 10 degrees below 0), a creamy ice cream base, two spatulas, and really strong arm muscles that work together to create the prettiest rolls of ice cream you’ve ever seen.
Matcha Made in Heaven: Green tea and blueberry ice cream with strawberries, blueberries, and coconut flakes on top.
The technique actually comes from Southeast Asia, where street vendors commonly make variations on this style of ice cream, which is referred to as “stir-fried ice cream” in countries like Vietnam and Thailand. Tam saw a video of the process on YouTube and the idea for an ice cream shop was born.
At 10Below, Tam combines crème anglaise (the liquid base for the ice cream) with fruits and dry fillings like graham cracker. The ingredients chill on the plate for five to 10 seconds before getting chopped up, mashed, and folded up. Once the flavors are mixed, the mixture gets scraped into a thin layer before getting rolled up. The whole process takes about two minutes. Each cup has about five rolls of ice cream and gets made to order.