India's kulfi, Filipino halo-halo, 'dirty ice cream' named among world's best frozen desserts

The No. 1 spot goes to Iran's traditional ice cream 'bastani sonnati'

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Photo sources: File, Instagram (my_kusina_ph), Panlasang Pinoy
Photo sources: File, Instagram (my_kusina_ph), Panlasang Pinoy

Published: Sat 3 Jun 2023, 6:39 PM

Last updated: Sat 3 Jun 2023, 6:42 PM

Summer is here and so food trips are fast shifting to the cold and refreshing. Just in time for the bright, sunny season, online gastronomy database Taste Atlas came up with a list of the best frozen desserts in the world.

While it does include the West's sweet staples like milkshakes, frozen yoghurt, and ice cream variations, many desserts that UAE expats grew up with also made the cut.

If you're looking for new things to try and taste this summer, don't forget to check out this list.


File photo
File photo

Kulfi — many Indians' childhood favourite — is No. 14 on the list. Basically, it is India's version of ice cream on a stick, but it is richer, creamier, and much denser.

Made with slowly simmered whole milk, this traditional frozen dairy dessert comes in countless flavours, from mango to cardamom, saffron and pistachio. Turn it into a refreshing drink and you’ll have ‘Kulfi falooda’, which is also on the list at No. 30.


The Philippines' staple summer dessert halo-halo has already made its mark in the global foodie paradise. In fact, it has already become the subject of various vlogs on YouTube.

When literally translated to English, halo-halo means 'mix-mix' which is not far from what it is. It is a delightful mixture of all things tasty: milk, shaved ice, sweet beans, sweet potato in syrup, coconut, and even sweet corn and corn crisps. Most sellers would top it off with other Filipino desserts like leche flan (a cousin of crème brûlée) and purple yam jam.

The best part is halo-halo is available in the UAE. You can easily get a bowl from the fast food chain Chowking, or at other Filipino restaurants in the country.


Source: Panlasang Pinoy
Source: Panlasang Pinoy

Filipinos' sorbetes — essentially ice cream in a cone but very different in taste and texture — has been ranked No. 5 on Taste Atlas' best frozen desserts.

In the Philippines, it's popularly known as 'dirty ice cream' — but don't worry, it's unlikely to make you sick. It earned such a name because it is often sold on the streets, hence

What sets this ice cream apart is that it is typically made from carabao's milk and sugar. Then it is flavoured in numerous ways, from chocolate to mango and strawberry. The most popular variant? Cheese. Imagine having ice cream with chunks of cheese. Now that's sorbetes.

No.1 dessert

If you'd like to try the best of the best, then you'll have to find an Iranian eatery. The No.1 spot on the list is 'bastani sonnati'.

Here's the full list:

"Bastani sonnati is a unique saffron-infused Iranian ice cream that was invented at the beginning of the 20th century by Akbar Mashti, the first ice cream vendor in Tehran. This frozen treat is made with a creamy mixture of milk or cream, frozen custard, and sliced pistachios," Taste Atlas said.

Taste Atlas is an online database of traditional dishes, local ingredients, and authentic restaurants from around the world. It has so far catalogued over 10,000 food items and drinks.


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