At one time, it was acceptable to shotgun a pack of Tsingtao tall boys outside Propaganda, then teeter over to the neighboring 7-11 and vomit proud. Then you grew up. You became more responsible. You discovered craft beer.
Ice cream is like this. You dabble in milk ice, nurse the inevitable stomach ache after going for the twice-frozen chocolate cone. The red bean, the green bean, the purple one, the grayish one, the one you peel like a banana – all of it is the prized loot of a treasure hunt at every magazine stand ice box. One day, you realize it’s all crap. You turn to Haagen-Dazs for moral support. You go broke. You denounce ice cream for life. Then, you meet The Joker’s ice cream doppelganger, the melty grin of the infamous “Xiao Xuesheng” ice pop by Mengniu whose likeness is now the mascot of Gelato Stick, 3.3’s newest venue.
Gelato Stick’s offerings, at first glance, look like the cupcakes of the ice cream world, and if we know anything about Beijing’s version of the cupcake fad, we know they can go terribly, horribly wrong. But under all those puffy sprinkles and dog paw manifestations of flavors like hazelnut and cherry is damn good gelato. The RMB 25 pops are rich and creamy enough that you can feel classy, if you don’t mind killing a sickeningly cute Pepto Bismol-colored heart with your jaws. Gelato Stick even stays open until 1am, so after getting sloshed on the cheap on bar street or sipping martinis on Nali Patio you can satisfy your dessert cravings.
We recommend you try the pistachio stick, if only because it’s green without being matcha, a rarity. The one that looks like Ritter Sport’s dairy brother disappointingly lacks the taste or texture of an oversized chocolate bar, but Gelato Stick still surprises: just the right amount of filling is hidden inside every bar to tease that reckless youth out of you.
Daily 1pm-1am. 3.3 Mall, 33 Sanlitun Lu, Chaoyang District (6517 5888)
500m west of Tuanjiehu station (Line 10)
This post first appeared on thebeijinger.com on June 26, 2014
Photo courtesy of the Beijinger