Say the words “deep-fried ice-cream” and people will rattle off fond childhood memories of ending a Chinese feast with a couple of golden, breaded scoops. The attraction lies in the juxtaposition of the cold, creamy ice-cream and the warm, crisp casing.
“We’ve always loved eating it in Chinese restaurants, but we thought it never got the attention and love it deserved,” says Chris Duong who, with Dylan Duong (no relation, but it made naming the business easy), opened Duo Duo, a food truck specialising in deep-fried ice-cream after realising no one in Sydney was getting it right.
Chris says that’s because other versions aren’t made fresh. “We’re not hating on it; it’s not practical for big restaurants to hand-make ice-cream in large quantities. But making the ice-cream from scratch, instead of buying it, makes a huge difference to the quality of the dish.”
The success of deep-fried ice-cream comes down to the delicate balance of two things: fresh ingredients and freezing the ice-cream at a precise temperature. A few degrees off and it’ll be too hard to eat, or it’ll melt inside the shell when it’s fried.
Everything at Duo Duo is made with fresh ingredients. For example, the pandan ice-cream is made by distilling pandan leaves into a juice, then mixing it with cream and sugar.
“We start by making the ice-cream the day before serving,” Chris says. Once made, the ice-cream is scooped into balls, wrapped in a thin layer of vanilla cake and rolled in panko breadcrumbs before going back into the freezer. “On serving day we just fry those bad boys up.”
Current flavours are cookies and cream; salted caramel and popcorn; and pandan with toasted coconut. “We’re always looking to do something no one has done before, and we figure that if we like it, customers will, too.”
There are deep-fried versions of each flavour available, as well as scoops of ice-cream on cones – but it’s the deep-fried variety that Chris says sells the best.
There’s also a fresh watermelon and coconut juice slushie, which is geared towards the vegan crowd. “We’re planning to expand to include other kinds of ice-cream-inspired desserts: ice-cream bao, ice-cream waffles, ice-cream apple pie.”
A permanent location is also in the works, but for now the pair is happy with the success of the food truck.
Duo Duo’s eccentrically illustrated blue and white truck (by local designer Erica Halse) can be found in Bankstown on Friday nights and Dulwich Hill on Saturday nights, as well as at events across Sydney.
Fri & Sat 6pm–10pm