Usually July is when we give you our yearly update on rooftop bars, but since we burned that one off last month, we thought we’d keep the cool summer fun rolling with a short list of good places to get an ice cream in the city. No longer just the domain of Dairy Queen (or “Dairy Fairy,” its non-union Chinese equivalent), there are now many different shops and flavors to choose from, from the familiar, to the nostalgic, to something new and different. Check out our five favorite places to grab a scoop, and make sure to do so before they melt.

01 EMACK & BOLIOS 伊多乐冰淇淋

Billed as the “Boston Ice Cream Experience” (which is confusing for a dozen reasons at least, including but not limited to the fact that Boston is generally more known for seafood, making tea in harbors instead of cups and being a city populated entirely by drunk and unreasonable baseball fans), Emack & Bolios traffics in rich flavors—you know, the kind that promise to murder you with chocolate. The decadent varieties may be a bit powerful for those without much of a sweet tooth, but if you have memories of warm American summers paired with a scoop of Rocky Road, you’ll find no better substitute than this.

7F, Saige Shopping Mall, Xiao Zhai East Road.
Phone: (029) 6230 6778
Hours: 10:00am-10:00pm


Shaanxi Thirteen has a decent variety of flavors that hew much closer to local tastes: black sesame, tofu, that kind of thing. It’s lighter on sweetness but big on flavor and, though you may be tempted to turn up your nose at the “strange” options, keep an open mind. You might fall deeply in love with a local flavor. Or you can just have a scoop of sea salt caramel. Both kinds are good.

No.270, Bei Yuan Men, Lianhu District.
Phone: (029) 8726 5413
Hours: 9:00am-11:00pm

03 HUA MU LAN 花木兰

Speaking of local flavor, people always talk about paomo and liangpi and roujiamo when discussing famous Xi’an foods, but Bell Tower xiaonaigao (钟楼小奶糕), the Ice Peak of ice creams, comes up much less often. Hua Mu Lan updates this perennial Xi’an treat with quality ingredients and a range of flavors, from red bean to chocolate and everything in between.

No.270, Tongji zhong fang, Bei Da Jie, Lianhu District.
Phone: (029) 8721 8818 177-9228-9039
Hours: 9:30am-8:30pm

04 VENCHI 闻绮

It might be tempting to conflate gelato with ice cream (which we are technically doing by including it in this article), but this famous Italian dessert is a bit denser and creamier than your run-of-the-mill ice cream. It’s becoming more and more popular in Xi’an, but you really can’t do better than Venchi, a direct-from-Italy brand that has all the flavors you’re craving, like tiramisu and whatever “strawberry stracciatella” is.

L139, Zhong Da Guo Ji, No.72, Gaoxin Road.
Phone: (029) 8958 6795
Hours: 10:00am-10:00pm

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