Two years ago, I mentioned one of my favorite ice cream stores (and one of the oldest — since 1946) in Bangkok, Tipparos Ice Cream (ไอสครีมทิพย์รส), and quite a few of you have written to ask me where this place is. Well, if you live in or are frequent visitors to Bangkok, go to Tao Poon three-pronged intersection (สามแยกเตาปูน). That’s the T-junction where Pracharat Road (ถนนประชาราษฎร์), formerly Krungthep-Nonthaburi Road (ถนนกรุงเทพฯ-นนทบุรี), meets Pracharat 2 Road (ถนนประชาราษฎร์สายสอง) — you can’t miss it.
Be prepared to travel on foot, though, as there’s no place to park. And, as of today, there’s no BTS or MRT station within a walking distance from there either. But this small (and not very scenic, especially with major constructions currently underway) part of Bangkok is worth exploring. I know that area like the back of my hand. My great-grandparents built their home (the one that later became food for termites, mentioned in my post on Northeastern Thai sausage) 15 minutes from that spot on the other side of the train track. It was at this house where, one day, a young man had a visit with my great-grandfather who worked out of his home and met a young lady who brought out a glass of iced tea for him. They subsequently fell in love and got married there — at that house. Then they had a baby girl whom they brought straight from the hospital to — yup — that house. That baby grew up to write this blog, and she can’t stop yakking about all the fond memories she has of that house and the area around it.
On a somewhat related note, my most favorite Pad Thai restaurant in the whole universe is also in this area. I’ll tell you more about it in due time.
Anyway, Tipparos Ice Cream is located on the east side of Pracharat (Krungthep-Nonthaburi) Road just a few yards from the T-junction. Go there, if you can. Have a plate of roasted duck-topped rice (ข้าวหน้าเป็ด) or egg noodles with barbecued pork (บะหมี่หมูแดง) at New Kid Kee (นิวกิ๊ดกี่) right across the street first (it’s the locals’ favorite — been there forever). Then cross the street to Tipparos for dessert.
I love this place, even though the service protocol has become a little more quirky these days. It goes like this.
You place your order at the ice cream freezer case. Tell them first exactly how many scoops you plan to eat (and no changing your mind mid- or post-order!), so they can use an appropriate cup or bowl. The trick is to scan the ice cream freezer rapidly and decisively, make a decision on what you want firmly and quickly, make your wish known clearly, and know that whatever comes out your mouth is irrevocable. (Tip: Tipparos is known for coconut ice cream, their flagship product, so I’d stick with that. The other flavors aren’t entirely unpalatable, but they’re not going to rock your world.)
Then you move on to the topping bar. Again, tell them exactly how many toppings you want and what they are at the same time. In other words, say, “I’d like two toppings, please — peanuts and candied pumpkin.” Don’t say, “Hmm, let’s see — can I have the maraschino cherries aaaaand, hmmm, the peanuts, please? Oh, oh, oh, can I also have the corn and the palm seeds?” Trust me — just trust me on this.
Then you pay right there. After that, you take your ice cream to a table, any table. Someone will bring you a glass of water. This concludes the ordering ritual. When you’re done, simply leave.
The place hasn’t been renovated in ages — you can tell upon entering. But, man, I love this ice cream shop. Each scoop of ice cream = 15 baht. Each topping = 5 baht. Water = free. Sitting where you used to sit as a little girl when your feet couldn’t even touch the floor = priceless.
For those who don’t see a trip to this place anywhere in your future, here’s how you can make three of my favorite ice cream flavors from Tipparos at home.
1. You can make their coconut ice cream by following the recipe for gelato-like Thai coconut ice cream in the style of Tipparos which one of my aunts has brutally hacked.
2. To make my favorite coconut ice cream variation with basil seeds and jackfruit mixed in, simply make the recipe above and stir in 1/2 cup of hydrated basil seeds and 3/4 cup of diced jackfruit (fresh or canned) just before you churn it.
3. To make the Thai tea flavor, use the same recipe for coconut ice cream, replacing the coconut milk* with half and half (50% heavy cream and 50% whole milk) which has been infused with 1/2 cup of Thai tea leaves (use the loose leaf, unsweetened kind — not the mix). Make sure you strain the half and half after you’ve infused it as well. And, yes, you still need the nonfat dry milk in the recipe.
*You may be thinking, why not coconut milk since it seems more, well, authentic? The reason is because 1. Tipparos definitely does not use coconut milk in their Thai tea ice cream, 2. from my experience, others don’t either, 3. personally, I think the combination of coconut milk and Thai tea is not palatable (notice that when you order Thai iced tea, nobody asks you whether you want it made with cow’s milk or coconut milk.)