Another liquid-nitrogen ice cream shop is entering the Vancouver market. But this new spot is a dessert lover's dream come true—and an indecisive person's nightmare—with its immense variety of flavours and toppings, and endless combinations.
Co-owners Casey Ng and Alina Fang launched MagiCream Ice Cream Lab in Kerrisdale at 2009 West 41st Avenue. The soft opening was on August 19.
Ng, who has lived in Vancouver for the past 12 years, says he first discovered this ice cream in Hong Kong. For those unfamiliar with the process, ingredients are mixed in a mixmaster while liquid nitrogen is poured over it to freeze it into ice cream.
The bright and airy shop will seat about 10 to 12 people.
Customers can tailor their selections by first choosing either a premium base (with 12 percent milk) or sorbet (non-dairy).
Then there are over 40 flavours to peruse. To make things easier, they're divided into four main categories: classics, cookie and cake, nutty or fruity.
There's everything from guava, black sesame, or taro to tiramisu, root beer, or pink cotton candy.
After that, it's heaven for sugar junkies as there are over 40 toppings to choose from, organized into six categories: candy, cookies and cakes, fruits, nuts, syrups, and bubble jellies.
You can choose from mini gummy bears, lychee jelly, honey, ferrero rocher syrup, brown sugar pearls, or mini macarons.
The ingredients are then taken to mixing machines, where the ingredients are stirred together, and liquid nitrogen is poured over it to freeze the mixture.
While some liquid-nitrogen ice cream shops pour the liquid nitrogen from containers by hand, Ng installed piping from liquid nitrogen tanks to pumps at the mixers.
He explains that this method is safer and easier to control than manual pouring.
A signboard briefly explains the science behind the process: that it is non-toxic and uses -196° Celsius liquid nitrogen.
Ng says he finds the taste is much creamier and smoother than regular ice cream. That's because, as the sign explains, the freezing process creates less ice crystals, allowing the texture to be smoother than ice cream.
A sampling of the milk tea ice cream with mochi and cheesecake bits proves that it is indeed velvety in texture. What's more, like many Asian desserts, the sugar content is light enough so as not to overwhelm the subtle flavour of the ice cream.
Prices are $5.50 for a regular size, $7.50 for medium, and $9 for family size.
Although Ng says they have been planning this shop since last year, like many eateries, the wait for the city permit delayed their opening date.
Luckily, the store managed to open while summer is still in effect and their official grand opening will be held this Saturday (August 27), complete with a DJ on hand.