Chill Out! Shanghai's Best (& Worst) Ice Cream Sandwiches

By Sophie Steiner

August 2 marks National Ice Cream Sandwich Day, a day that celebrates the 125th birthday of the ice cream sandwich – America's iconic summertime dessert that, throughout the past century, has made a trip around the globe.

This cooling treat can trace its origin back to the sweltering backstreets of New York City, where pushcart salesmen peddled them alongside other celebrated American street eats – like hot dogs and 'churned butter' milkshakes – enabling them to become a longstanding summertime tradition.

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's 

But the USA isn't the only place claiming the ice cream sandwich as their own. Singapore, Ireland, Australia, Israel, Uruguay, and even Iran – among others – have their own take on this cold and creamy treat. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's 

From the bánh mì kẹp kem in Vietnam (a street vendor snack with ice cream smooshed between two pieces of white bread) to Iran's bastani-e nooni (a saffron and rosewater flavored ice cream that's dipped in pistachios and served between two wafers), the definition of an ice cream sandwich has greatly expanded over the years.

(Along with our waistlines.)

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

When it comes to actual ice cream, gelato and soft serve, Shanghai's frozen treat game is real strong. 

From one-off heavy hitters – like Dal Cuore, Luneurs, and Gracie's – to internationally recognized chains like – Dairy Queen, Zakuzaku, Venchi and even Dippin' Dots – there is no shortage of options for keeping cool in the summer. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

But what about upping the ante by placing said ice cream between another treacly confection for an all-round frozen bite of gluttony?

We scoured Shanghai's ice cream sandwich scene to bring you pretty much all the available options.

The Anteroom – Ice Cream Sandwich (RMB48)

Wine bar-meets-bistro, The Anteroom has been a mainstay on Changle Lu for nearly nine years, with owner and wine importer Alvin Zhang leading the charge, pulling many a dish inspiration from customer feedback. 

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

A prime example is the venue's Ice Cream Sandwich (RMB48/4 pieces), an ode to Shanghai's yesteryear that has remained on the menu for more than four years.

Featuring both local milk-flavored ice cream brand and childhood favorite Guang Ming (光明) – a snowy white "brick" sliced into cubes – sandwiched by two slightly salty and scallion-scented Wan Nian Qing (万年青) butter biscuits – another nostalgia-inducing local cookie style – the dessert is further augmented by a dribble of salted caramel and a dusting of tart, freeze-dried strawberries.

The juxtaposing crumble of the shortbread cookie against the velvety give of the ice cream makes for a brilliantly balanced bite.

The Anteroom, 1222 Changle Lu, by Wulumuqi Zhong Lu, 长乐路1222号, 近乌鲁木齐中路.

Bun Cha Cha Grill – Pandan Coconut Ice Cream Sandwich (RMB58)