ICEPAN- Unique Homemade Ice Cream in Nha Trang
At Discover Nha Trang, we love to cover stories of entrepreneurs who take the bull by the horns and turn a small idea into a reality. Once such lady, Ms Tran Hai Anh, has been making waves around town with an incredible range of self-produced, homemade ice creams that rely on innovative flavors – combining natural local ingredients to create a delicious menu of over 40 unique frozen treats.
With a background in accountancy at Nha Trang University, and over 10 years experience in marketing in Saigon, Haianh is not someone you would traditionally expect to become an ice cream producer. However, after spending some years working as a freelance food writer for Saigonamthuc, an e-cuisine magazine, and a recipe tester for Kitchen Stories (Chuyen Bep) – a debut cookbook by young food writer Alex Tran – her love of experimental cooking called to her in a way that she found impossible to ignore. 2 years ago, she decided to put this passion into practice and created ICEPAN.
Nha Trang is not short of stores selling ice cream to locals and tourists, but the vast majority use standard imported frozen tubs with standard flavors. Anh wanted to do something different, and create an entire range from scratch, using ingredients grown by her family in her grandparents’ home in the countryside, not far from the city. These include local herbs and spices such as ginger, lemongrass, hairy lemon basil, rosemary, oregano, choco-mint, peppermint and lemon palm. While many of these are inputs you would never attribute to an ice cream flavors, Haianh’s passion for experimentation has resulted in a menu of over 40 deliciously weird offerings such as Salty Caramel, Spicy Mulberry or Mojito Passion Fruit with Mint or Lemongrass with Salted lime and Hairy Basil. There is very little that Anh cannot concoct with her flavors, and other interesting combinations include Chocolate Orange, Green Tea KitKat, Apricot with Rum or Molasses with Ginger and Orange.
“My background, while markedly different to what I am doing now, gave me many of the skills I needed to create a good business. But the real fun in this comes from connecting my passion for food with other skills such as photography and graphic design. More importantly, I want to offer a healthy, exotic and unique treat that tourists may have never tasted before, even in their home countries. Now, they can try it in our little city of Nha Trang”, she mused.
The process of making the ice cream is simple, yet very effective. Rather than using pre-frozen produce, each scoop is made by hand right in front of you. The base consists of sugar, whole milk and non-dairy cream which is placed onto a frozen pan cooled to -5°C (hence the name “ICEPAN”). The liquid is then cooled, beaten and chopped into shape with 2 scrapers, with the particular flavor added to finish it off. There are no preservatives or processed ingredients, and while being far healthier than processed ice creams, the flavors of natural ingredients really accentuate the taste.
As the rainy season begins to subside, the hot weather is already beginning to return to Nha Trang. What better way to cool down and enjoy a delicious treat than to drop into ICEPAN and sample some of Anh’s delectable creations. Your tastebuds will surely thank you, and you will be helping to support a local entrepreneur!
46 Nguyen Thien Thuat Street
3rd Floor, Nha Trang Center, 20 Tran Phu Street
LIVINcollective, 77 Bach Dang Street.