Beat the summer heat with a variety of yummy summer
coolers. Photos By Zou Hong / China Daily
Five icy treats to help Beijingers get through the scorching summer, Eileen Wen Mooney reports
The sauna-like air of the last few weeks has been stifling the capital with its humidity, and even standing still like a statue, you can't help but perspire. Here is a list of suggestions to help you get through these hot summer days.
One of the all-time Beijing summer favorites is the old-fashioned watermelon, which is a great hydrator, in addition to having Vitamins A, B-6 and C. One of the capital's cheapest fruits, watermelon sells for just 0.60 yuan per jin (one jin is equal to 500 g) fresh off a donkey cart around one of the outer ring roads.
However, as Beijing is increasingly becoming a more cosmopolitan city, there are a growing number of other enticing options for coping with the summer heat. Here are some places where you can indulge in something to quench your thirst and keep cool.
A lot of places sell delicious shaved ice with various toppings, but Bellagio is famous for this cool dish, which seems as high as Mount Taishan.
The old shaved ice is served with slightly sweet red or mung beans and caramel-like condensed milk dripping over it.
What's best is the other items laden on the "mountain"- sticky rice cake and pearly tapioca balls.
Yet, another satisfying cooling agent is huasheng Bingsha, peanut smoothies, creamy and nutty with a strong peanut flavor. Equally tantalizing are strawberry and mango smoothies bursting with real fruit flavors.
Stir-fried ice cream
Cold Stone is the right spot to come for the "ultimate ice cream experience". The American ice cream franchise customizes its concoctions with fruit, nuts, cookies, sprinkles, cereal and other items folded into your choice of ice cream on a frozen marble slab.
It's a completely different experience from eating your typical banana split or a sundae.
At Cold Stone, your "fried" ice cream comes studded with morsels that could be crunchy or chewy.
The ice-cold frescato from Costa, a UK-based coffee chain dating back to 1971, is one of the city's most memorable iced coffees: a mixture of sweet creamy milk with fresh-brewed coffee, that gives you a nice caffeine kick.
The ice cubes are pulverized in a monstrous blender into half-slush half-smoothie texture.
It is so cold it almost freezes your brain. Equally satisfying is the raspberry slush.
Costa Coffee outlets can be found in many major shopping malls in Beijing.
Gelato, tasty Italian ice cream, is widely available here in Beijing. Gustomenta stores offer a dozen yummy gelato flavors to choose from, including almond, hazelnut, pistachio, lemon, coconut, chocolate, tiramisu, mint and chocolate chip, pina colada and more. One scoop of gelato costs 15 yuan.
This Italian ice cream is not as sweet as standard ice cream. Homemade or artisanal gelato is acknowledged by many to be the best ice cream in the world.
It's hard to believe that Yogen Fruz, a frozen yogurt joint founded by two young brothers in Toronto, Canada, is now a global chain offering a healthy and tasty treat by mixing low-fat, non-fat or no sugar yogurt with various fruits of your liking.
The dessert is made right on the spot by placing the yogurt and frozen fruit into the machine as you stand at the counter. Within a few seconds, you will be served an even and silky yogurt with a perfect swirl.
There are 14 kinds of fruits to choose from, including peach, cherry, lychee, mango, strawberry and plum.