The next time you dine at ChoLon Bistro downtown, don’t skip dessert. In fact, the Malaysian shaved ice is worth a visit of its own. This traditional Southeast Asian combination of cool ice (shaved finer than what you’d find in a snow cone), fruit, syrups, and coconut cream is ideal for hot days. It’s light and tropical but still multidimensional and satisfying.

Chef Lon Symensma cuts down blocks of ice on an antique ice shaver (peek through the dim sum work station and you’ll see it in the back) before placing a portion in a bowl. Then comes the first layer of complexity: peaches (compressed in the Cryovac machine with a liquid of yuzu, lemongrass-kaffir lime simple syrup, and mint), blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries. Finally, Symensma drizzles strawberry syrup—made by cooking sugar to a caramel, deglazing with Chinese black vinegar, and adding strawberry purée—and coconut cream over the top.

The effect is beguiling and exciting: A dessert with a base of ice that’s creamy and smooth, not crunchy. It’s not watery or sorbet-like as you might expect, instead the flavors are pure and refreshing. Don’t miss it.

1555 Blake St., Suite 101, 303-353-5223

Amanda M. Faison
Amanda M. Faison
Freelance writer Amanda M. Faison spent 20 years at 5280 Magazine, 12 of those as Food Editor.