At about 10 p.m., Vietnamese teens were spilling out of the Kem Trang Tien ice cream parlor a block from Ha Noi’s heart, Hoan Mien Lake. Parked motorbikes were stacked just inside the front door.
In capturing the ice cream shop on “film,” I also managed to attract cold stares.
Kem Trang Tien offered three selections of ice cream at the overflowing counter: a cone of Kem Oc Que, coconut ice cream (3500 Dong, 20 cents U.S.), rice and milk bars (2500 Dong apiece).
I bought a green tinged rice bar, which tasted delicious, like sweet rice. There were grains of rice in the mix. I also got a shatteringly thin cone of creamy coconut ice cream with shreds of the white fruit. Both items were amazing.
I returned before lunch the next day and worked my way through the rest of the menu.
Unfortunately, the milk bar (2500 Dong) tasted chalky. Maybe it was Vinamilk, advertised on the walls. As an antidote, I got another coconut cone, just as sensational as the night before. Kem Trang Thien may be simple, but since two of the three items it offered were world class, it was well worth two stops.