Last Saturday I got a “hot tip” from my foodie pal Ms. Moto about a “cold delight”; she couldn’t stop raving about the hoji-cha ice-cream and insisted we must go, and go we did…..there was no turning back.
Tangram is the latest addition to our local ice-cream craze; located on the busy Arbutus Street (2729 Arbutus) between West 11 and 12 Avenue, just a couple of minutes walk away from one of my favourite butchers Pete’s Meats.
There were Nine offerings on their menu, displayed prominently on the wall: Seven ice-cream flavours (Tahitian Vanilla/Double Chocolate/Guatemala Coffee/ Matcha/Hoji-cha/Salted Caramel/Strawberry Strudel) and two sorbet (Mango/Lychee).
Heeding Ms. Moto’s advice, I decided to go for the Hoji-cha and added a scoop of Guatemala Coffee in a “cup”, an ice-cream version of my own “yin-yeung” (tea and coffee duo, a Hong Kong style cafe reference):
The distinct smoky tea flavour hit instantly on the first bite (hoji-cha is a charcoal roasted Japanese green tea, originally from Kyoto). As I savoured, the silky milky-ness came through and finally the right amount of sweetness lingered on, tantalizing my palate and playing a trick in my mind: I felt as if I was enjoying an ice-cold “hoji-cha milk tea”, it was absolutely brilliant! I don’t ever recall any other ice-creamery having such an offering. Let’s not forget the Guatemala Coffee, which is richer in flavour and slightly bitter, definitely well suited for coffee lovers.
The day before Valentine’s, I decided to pop by Tangram again to pick up another pint for dessert, and try something else which I had my eye on since the other night: A single scoop of Strawberry Strudel ice-cream in their house-made Langue de Chat (cat’s tongue shape), a French sugar cookie cone.
One bite and I was smitten: the strawberry’s tartness and sweetness were well-balanced, the freshness and the strawberry flavour, combined with specks of strudel, gave the ice-cream a different texture, it was heavenly. The cone was flaky and complemented the ice-cream very well, the tail end of the cone was dipped in chocolate is a nice touch; however I found it melted quite quickly, perhaps I was really taking my time to savour every bite.
This is just a personal preference: I find their scoop sizes just right and I like their texture, it may not be the creamiest but it is smooth and silky. The pricing is very reasonable: one scoop for $5.00, double for $7.00, triple for $9.00 and a pint (16 ounces) costs $10.00; add an extra dollar and you can enjoy the special French sugar cookie cone/bowl.
At first glance I somehow thought “Tangram” was Korean (thinking along the lines of “Gangnam” style), it is the “English” name for the Chinese “QiQiaoBan”, the incredible “Seven pieces Transformation Puzzle”, derived from Chinese (tan) and Greek (gram) origin (Check out Wikipedia!). Their brand “story” behind its name is another “story” for me to uncover some other time.
To my dear friend Ms. Moto: Thanks for introducing us to this wonderful place; cannot wait to go there to try something else with you next time (OO)
By the way, we picked up a pint of Lychee Sorbet…it was so refreshing! Look forward to see what else Tangram will bring us this summer!
Tangram 2729 Arbutus Street, Vancouver, BC (Between West 11 and 12 Avenue, Kits area), follow them on Instagram @tangramcreamery
Local ice-creamery; friendly service and reasonable price point, communal table and seating available; must try hoji-cha flavour (especially for Japanese tea-lovers) and their in-house made cookie cone, other offerings include coffee and macaron ice-cream dessert, their taste is authentically Japanese.