While visiting the French Quarter on day 2 of our Hanoi trip, we stopped by Kem Tràng Tiền for a much needed break. It was only 10am and the weather was hot and humid. Oh, we welcomed the sight of Kem Tràng Tiền cheerfully with open arms!
Kem Tràng Tiền offers old school ice-cream taste in the shape of a cone, stick, cup and ice-cream box. Besides that, they also sell soft serve, mochi ice-cream and Givral bakery’s French treats and cakes. I was looking forward to the visit because I grew up eating these kinds of ice-cream and also how awesome it is to enjoy them in another country with the locals. You know it’s their favorite when you see young and old enjoying Kem Tràng Tiền ice-cream! 🍦❤️
Kem Tràng Tiền was founded in 1958 and that’s over 60 years of history, experiences and memories. Located at Tràng Tiền street, it’s a charming road that somehow reminds me of Shijo dori in Kyoto.
Besides its fame for ice-cream, this Kem Tràng Tiền shop presents another unique and interesting charm. One can buy the ice-cream from the shop outside in front of the walkway or you can walk or ride your motorcycle into the shop and park inside via a lane. We choose walking inside the shop. After much contemplation, we decided to try the cones.
Here’s the price list of ice-cream cones (kem ốc quế). There are 3 flavors; vanilla (vani), green rice flakes (cốm) and cocoa (cacao). The green rice flakes (cốm) are young/immature rice that is still green in color.
The ice-cream cones are pre-scooped, and it’s actually my first time seeing this kind of configuration.
Both of us ordered green rice flakes ice-cream cone (kem ốc quế cốm) as this flavor is unique. I doubt you can get it anywhere else except Vietnam. It was really yummy and the sweetness (less) is just right! It’s priced at 12,000 VND each (~RM2.15). We ate standing inside the shop though it can be a bit stuffy.
Because one ice-cream is just not enough (we want more!), we decided to try another flavor in the form of stick. Btw, despite our language barrier, the servers are very friendly, smiley and fast. There were about 1 to 3 people lining up when we were buying the ice-cream at the cone and stick counters and the crowd were quite thin. It’s most probably because 10am is still early.
Price list of ice-cream sticks (kem que). They have 6 different flavors to choose from and they are cocoa (cacao), taro (khoai môn), green beans/mung beans (đậu xanh), coconut milk (sữa dừa), green rice flakes (cốm) and chocolate (sôcôla). Don’t you find the sôcôla name cool?
Tell the server which flavor you want and he/she will fetch it for you from the ice-cream display freezer.
This is how they serve the ice-cream sticks, on a plate. Nope, you don’t take the plate with you only the ice-cream. The banana leaf-shaped plate looks familiar because we have it in Malaysia too.
I had kem que (ice-cream stick) of đậu xanh flavor while my sis khoai môn which are green beans/mung beans and taro respectively. They cost 8,000 VND each (~RM1.45) and is cheaper than the cone. Again, the flavour that I choose is just perfect in sweetness (less). This one was nice too but both sis and I agreed that the cone ones are lovelier.
Since it was stuffy inside, we ate our ice-cream stick outside the shop on the walkway which was a bad idea because the ice-cream melts really fast.
Both Vietnamese and tourist enjoying their ice-cream inside the shop. As you can see, many Vietnamese drives and park their motorcycles inside. It’s also a nice place to hang out though it can get very noisy if it’s crowded.
One can eat while standing inside looking at each other (tsk, there are dustbins and the toilet is clean), sit on the motorcycle like the photo above while enjoying your ice-cream inside the shop, eat on the first floor (with seats), eat outside the walkaway and if you don’t plan to eat more, you can eat it while walking. So many ways to enjoy the ice-cream!
Some of you may feel “Eeeww eating ice-cream in a parking lot? No thanks.” But wait that’s the fun part of it. How often do you get to do this? I bet you cannot find many places with this setup.
Before leaving Kem Tràng Tiền, make sure you eat until you’re contented because although there are many smaller shops selling their ice-cream at the French Quarter, I didn’t see any at the Old Quarter but I bet they do have. I kinda regret not getting my third. I also saw the locals eating more than one ice-cream. Haha
See the motorcyclists coming out from the lane on the left side of the shop? That’s the lane where you ride or drive in/out.
Overall, clean place in an old building, delicious traditional ice-cream, unique flavors, unique experience, reasonably priced, perfect any time of the day or season but especially on a hot day AND these are what makes the ice-cream special! I can’t wait to go back there for more ice-cream!
p/s: Seem like there are people counterfeiting the ice-cream since it’s so famous, so buy only from the original shop and its official branches.
Kem Tràng Tiền
35 Tràng Tiền,
Hà Nội, Vietnam
Tel: +84 243 824 0294
Opening time: 8am-10pm, daily