Whether it’s dished up from a vintage truck or the star of a destination restaurant, soft-serve ice cream screams summer. Here are four of our favorite places to sample the sweet treat.
Go for malted milk chocolate with sweet corn and almond, or strawberry cheesecake with sweet cream, and top with chocolate honeycomb, butterscotch Rice Krispies, and house-made sprinkles.
Bumsan is an Instagram dream come true, from the fanciful cones to the ever-necessary pink wall photo backdrop. In addition to the tasty soft serve itself, in flavors like pineapple-coconut and taro milk tea flavors, there’s the fun addition of on-cone toppings for an extra taste and texture experience.
Big Softee has developed a crazy following–and it’s well worth heading out to the SGV to try. Many of the flavors–tofu pudding, purple taro, strawberry-lychee, salted egg custard–draw inspiration from the owners’ Hong Kong upbringing.
This is no standard ice cream truck operation. The cream comes from a local dairy, the flavors are classic vanilla and chocolate, and the soft-serve is whirled on refurbished vintage trucks named Charlie and Frankie. Just don’t ask for a freebie in exchange for a ‘gram.
Honey lovers will be sweet on this soft serve mini-chain, which puts honey at the forefront of their flavors. Top your swirl with the gooey stuff in multiple forms, including breaking off a crunchy piece of natural honeycomb.
Combine a soft serve ice cream shop with a cereal bar, and you’ve got Kith Treats. Each of of the shop’s signature offerings is credited to a celebrity friend who created the combo; Lebron James’ pick, dubbed the King’s Treat, features granola, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and Snickers.
Cones are cool, but have you ever eaten your ice cream out of a squishy waffle fish? Playing on traditional Korean ah-boong, you can have your waffle stuffed with fillings including red bean, taro, or custard, and then layered up with ice cream flavors which might include black sesame, ube, or matcha.
Cult favorite bakery Milk Bar also does soft serve in-store. The signature flavor is “cereal milk,” made with cornflakes, brown sugar, and a bit of salt. The story goes, dessert genius Christina Tosi got the idea for the treat while she shopped the cereal aisle of her local convenience store, proving inspiration really can strike anywhere.
If you’ve tried the slightly healthier Halo Top ice cream sold by the pint in your local supermarket, you have only had a glimpse of what awaits you at one of the brand’s full-service shops. Soft serve, available in an array of classic and seasonal flavors, starts at just 90 calories per serving.