Thai style ice cream has come to State College. Momotaro, a new ice cream cafe/patisserie, opened for business last month.
Thai style ice cream rose to popularity after a series of viral video outlets produced numerous videos promoting it, and the social media exploded. Videos depicting the creation process, and the enticingly vibrant finished product exploded in popularity. Now, it’s in State College.
Thai ice cream is created by pouring a base (milk, green tea, or yogurt) onto a freezing cold stove top, causing it to freeze almost instantly. Fruit, chocolate or other additives are chopped up and stirred in to add flavor. Once it’s blended it’s flattened out, rolled up into a small bouquet of delicious ice cream bundles, and garnished with toppings, and a drizzle. Besides this, Momotaro offers a variety of confections like cakes and pastries, as well as bubble tea, milk tea, and coffee.
Momotaro is entering a tough market here in State College, but its novelty might be its success. It’s located downtown, which is always an advantage, but it’s surrounded by competitors like Starbucks, and Chronic Town which provide similar drink options. If you’re looking for a date spot, though, it could be a better choice than the other two. The interior sports a millennial charm, and things like pictures of the Eiffel Tower. So, the interior is a little more inviting than Chronic Town’s moody atmosphere. Momotaro’s prices are on the steep side. A bowl of about 5 ice cream rolls will set you back $8. Pair that with a bubble tea and you’re looking at the price of a full meal at one of the neighboring restaurants — around $11.
The ice cream itself is good. Is it as amazing as social media makes it out to be? Definitely not. The ice cream has a watered down quality — probably attributed to the frozen milk. This quality produces a light flavor that’s more akin to eating a milky Italian ice, and one that many might actually like. It’s great if you go there feeling full, like I was, because it doesn’t remind you of the time you ate an entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s. A feeling I know all too well, and one I was dreading while I was waiting in line. Luckily, I got distracted while waiting in the long line, and forgot my apprehension. The restaurant was criminally understaffed. I went to Momotaro about two weeks after it opened, and the line had around 10 people in it. Though that’s not a high number, the complexity of the orders bogged the single person working the register down to the point where I waited in line for almost 20 minutes.
There are four parts that constitute a full ice cream roll order: the base, the flavor, toppings, and a drizzle. Multiply that by 10, and the girl working the register will surely have her hands full. Not only was she working the register, but she was also making milk teas in between orders. The ice cream itself didn’t take long to make, and I had it in my hands in about 5 minutes. If you’re looking for quick ice cream, and you’re downtown, you’re probably better off going to Rita’s for their Italian Ice, or Sauly Boys for their gelato. Of course, the overcrowding problem will die down once the cafe’s novelty wears off. Once that happens, Momotaro will become a nice place to take a date, or come for a refreshing summer snack.