We don’t have to tell you—with totally serious straight faces—that it’s surface-of-the-sun hot out there. With that environmental fact, then, head to a few Dallas-area shaved ice havens where you can chill out.
For those in Deep Ellum, Shaved Balls of Ice—eyebrow-raising name notwithstanding—is the new place for cool treats. Darren Cameron opened a window that operates out of the, ahem, back end of his currently defunct Glazed Donut Works. Inspired by versions in New Orleans, he offers a menu of shaved ice classics, like the tiger blood trio of watermelon, coconut, and strawberry, whose syrup is puréed in-house, leaving fruit bits intact. He goes off book with dill pickle—served with a briny spear!—and a Pedialyte version for neighborhood go-hards. The real showstopper is the Piña Alotta. A hollowed-out pineapple harbors a bottom layer of vanilla ice cream, upon which sits shaved ice soaked with not-too-sweet coconut and pineapple syrups. Whipped cream and a maraschino cherry top it all off.
The rasps of ice flecks are piled high like its own snow-capped mountain drenched in syrups, be them blue raspberry or orchid cream vanilla. But it’s the mango chamoyada that enchants, with house-made mango syrup topped with the salty-sweet-tangy chamoy sauce. It’s a shaved ice—ahem, raspado—with a little chile kick. (Find it North Dallas as well as inside the Dallas Farmers Market.)
In Garland and other surrounding burbs (RIP the East Dallas location), find a rainbow of syrups such as tamarind and dill pickle, alongside an option to make a “Knock Out”: add a scoop of vanilla ice cream to your shaved ice.
For those who still prefer the milky qualities of ice cream in their shaved ice, meet Snowbaby. Thinly sheered sheets of ice are sweetened with creamy organic coconut milk, dark chocolate, and freshly ground up strawberries. You can even get White Rock Coffee flavor year-round. Drizzle with sweetened condensed milk and top with fruit or granola.
The Lubbock-born snow cone zone boasts light-as-air shaved ice, the likes of which could only be compared to fresh blankets of pow on a ski resort mountainside. That’s about the most natural aspect about it. The flavors here are kooky: strawberry cheesecake, snickerdoodle, Super Sour Warheads, and Sour Patch Kids—your face should be puckering just reading this. Although, to be fair, you can get natural flavors like guava and watermelon to keep things simple. Even simpler is the Pup Sno, an unflavored ice ball with whipped cream for furry friends.
This international chain from Korea serves a particular Korean-style of shaved ice called bingsoo, which is light as air thanks to a milk-ice shavings or “silky snowy base” in Snowy Village verbiage. Those fluffy mounds are topped with fruit like mango or strawberry. Want some cookie crunch? Get it with Oreo crumbles. The traditional option calls for sweet red beans, chewy glutinous rice cakes (injeolmi), and a generous dusting of roasty soybean powder.
Options range from Sno Ice (shaved ice cream) and shaved ice to frozen Waffle Pops and crepes. Toppings include boba tapioca pearls and drizzles of flavored syrups, caramel, or honey.