Summer Heat Calls for Icy Treats: Shanghai’s Best Frozen Desserts

Summer Heat Calls for Icy Treats: Shanghai’s Best Frozen Desserts
By Andrea Scarlatelli ,

As the weather heats up, it's time to cool down – and what better way than with an icy treat? But before you go shelling out a week's pay check for a scoop of Haagen-Dazs, keep in mind that there are almost as many varieties of frozen desserts as there are people in the city. Read on for a sampling of Shanghai's best frozen desserts.

1) Gourmet Café – Milkshakes with a kickView In Map
Sure, a smooth milkshake made with fresh ice cream and milk is delicious. Even more delicious? When the ice cream and milk are blended with a variety of equally yummy alcohol combinations, such as vodka, Bailey's or Kahlua. Throw in some extras like cookie crumbs or espresso, and you've got yourself a frozen spiked treat that can act as both dessert and party starter. While there are a few around town who offer similar menu items (here's looking at you, Cali Burger and Bistro Burger), no one does it quite as sweetly as Gourmet Café.

Add: 1/F, Shanghai Centre, 1376 Nanjing Xi Lu, Shanghai (near Xikang Lu)
地址:上海南京西路1376号, 上海商城1楼, 近西康路
Tel: 021 6289 5733
Opening hours: Mon-Fri, 7:30-24:00; Sat-Sun, 8:00-24:00

2) The Freshary – Vegan soft serve that tastes better than it soundsView In Map
While it may sound difficult, if not downright impossible, to create a creamy soft serve ice cream without any cream, rest assured that it's not only possible but done right here in Shanghai at The Freshary. The consistency is a bit thicker than regular soft serve (probably due to the organic sesame seeds and soybeans from which it's made), but scoop some into their delicious chocolate covered waffle cones and you'll be on your way to a (healthier) frozen paradise.

Add: B/2, SML Center, 618 Xujiahui Lu, Shanghai (near Dapu Lu)
地址:上海徐家汇路618号2地下, 近大铺路
Tel: 021 6093 8282
Opening hours: 10:00-22:00

3) Dairy Queen – Back to basics soft serveView In Map
For those who prefer their soft serve the old fashioned way – ie: cheap and swirled – you can really do no better than Dairy Queen. Super creamy with a perfectly smooth consistency, their vanilla cone is the classic way to catch a break from the heat. It will take all summer to try every one of their toppings, but I doubt you'll be complaining. And let's not forget their Blizzards, which is basically childhood in a cup.

Add: 169 Wujiang Lu, Shanghai (near Taixing Lu)
地址:上海吴江路169号, 近泰兴路
Tel: 021 6218 8649
Opening hours: 10:00-21:00

4) Charmant– Going local with shaved iceView In Map
For a more authentic Chinese (well, technically Taiwanese) frozen dessert, look no further than Charmant. Their shaved ice is amongst the best in the city, with toppings ranging from creamy peanut butter to heavenly sweet condensed milk to a cascade of red beans. And if you still don't believe red beans belong as a dessert topping, you clearly have not visited Charmant.

Add: 1414 Huaihai Zhong Lu, Shanghai (corner of Fuxing Lu)
Tel: 021 6431 8107
Opening hours: Daily, 10:00-4:00

5) Morton's The Steakhouse – The splurging man's sundaeView In Map
Morton's is an expensive place, and they make no exception when it comes to their sundae. But rarely is money so well spent. From the waitress' warning that the dessert will take at least twenty minutes to prepare till the last bite is finished, this sundae is an event. Ice cream, caramel sauce, whipped cream, brownie, and about ten other ingredients combine to make that 175 RMB (+15% service charge) price tag go down just a little easier.

Add: IFC Pudong, 4/F, 8 Shiji Da Dao, Shanghai (near Lujiazui Huan Lu)
地址:上海世纪大道8号, 国金中心IFC商场4楼, 近陆家嘴环路
Tel: 021 6075 8888
Opening hours: Sun-Thu, 11:30-22:00; Fri-Sat, 11:30-23:00

6) Anna Banana – The way frozen yogurt should beView In Map
This frozen yogurt chain has made a nice little name for itself in Shanghai due to their made-fresh-daily products and jaw-dropping variety of toppings. Healthier, less sweet than traditional ice cream, their classic flavour is good all on its own. But it will be hard to pass up their assortment of extras, which include everything from nuts to papaya to brownies. And if you really want to negate any healthy advantages frozen yogurt has over ice cream, get the strangest topping on the list: butter.

Add: The Westin Bund Centre, 88 Henan Lu, Shanghai (near Guangdong Lu)
地址:上海河南路88号, 近广东路
Tel: 021 6335 2662
Opening hours: Mon-Fri, 9:00-21:00; Sat-Sun, 10:30-21:00

7) Fei Dan – Gelato on the goView In Map
Fei Dan may technically be an import grocery store, but in actuality it is so, so much more – including a great place to stop for gelato. Ice cream's Italian cousin, gelato is kept a slightly higher temperature than ice cream, helping to contribute to its signature creaminess and denseness. Fei Dan carries anywhere from eight to twelve different flavours at a time, but if you ask me, chocolate still rules the day.

Add: 382-1 DaguLu , Shanghai (near Shimen Yi Lu)
地址:上海大沽路382-1号, 近石门一路
Tel: 021 6340 0547
Opening hours: Daily, 9:30-22:00

8) Cold Stone Creamery – Classic ice cream with not-so-classic "mix ins"View In Map
And finally we come to good old-fashioned ice cream, that childhood favourite that never goes out of style. Cold Stone Creamery has all your old favourite flavours in addition to fun new ones like Cake Batter or Cheesecake. Pick some "mix ins" like Gummy Bears, Oreos, or fruit, and employees will blend it with your base ice cream choice on the spot. There's really no way to go wrong here.

Add: B1, Raffles City, 268 Xizang Zhong Lu, Shanghai
地址:上海西藏中路268号来福士广场B1 近南京东路, 地铁1, 2号线人民广场站 

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Keywords: best frozen desserts Shanghai sundaes in Shanghai milkshakes Shanghai good restaurants Shanghai best ice cream Shanghai


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