When it comes to Chinese frozen desserts I’m half traditionalist/half adventurous. Shaved ice gets a resounding yes—whether the granular form or the fluffy one that’s been showing up at spots like Snow Days. Ice rice, which my pal Tyson Ho of Arrogant Swine said seemed disgusting also get the nod. Novelties like the ubiquitous rolled ice cream are simply that, good for Instagram hits and little else.
Ho and I went on a bit of Sichuan rampage last night starting at Golden Shopping Mall and winding up at New World Mall. As we walked off our excesses the topic turned to cultural appropriation of Chinese foodways by non-Chinese chefs. And then we arrived at Ice Pan, a Chinese-run store trafficking in Japanese taiyaki, fish-shaped waffles pumped full of your choice of goodie and then topped with soft-serve ice cream. Any thoughts of Chinese-run teppanyaki joints and weighty questions of authenticity were cast aside by the desire to catch one of these fish-shaped treats.
I chose custard for a filling, charcoal sesame soft serve, and toasted coconut marshmallows. First the kid behind the counter makes the waffle, then he fills it. Next he lets the sea-bream shaped goodie chill out in front of a fan so as not to melt the ice cream.
A squiggle of grey ice cream tops the waffle like a pompadour. With its nutty sesame soft serve, marshmallows and chocolate baton Ice & Pan’s taiyaki is the most fun thing I’ve eaten in Flushing in a long time. Once the ice cream and top most part of the waffle were finished I worked on the base of the waffle, which was filled with vanilla custard. It was like dessert for my dessert. Authentic? Depends who you ask! Authentically delicious? Undoubtedly!
Ice & Pan, 136-37 Roosevelt Avenue, Flushing, 843-367-068