It’s easy to get excited about Dunkin’ Donuts and the arrival of another Best Buy will at least offer us a more customer-friendly electronics shopping experience, but can Shanghai really handle the full frontal in-your-face Americana that is Dippin’ Dots? For the uninitiated, Dippin Dots are little balls of liquid nitrogen-enhanced ice cream that look like smallpox, feel like Styrofoam, and taste like redneck. Fine, maybe they don’t taste like a redneck (they taste like a cross between real ice cream and chalk), but the association is so deeply ingrained that you’ll swear after one bite that ‘Dueling Banjos’ is playing faintly off in the distance. Available only at amusement parks, shopping malls, and NASCAR-esque sporting events, they exist somewhere in the seventh circle of the American nightmare.
Until now, that is. Apparently this infectious confection has descended on Shanghai, more specifically in the basement of Cloud Nine Shopping Center (龙之梦）in Zhongshan Park. That’s right, for just 15 RMB you too can eat the so-called ‘ice cream of the future’ (a dystopian future no doubt). Maybe they aren’t calling it Dippin Dots, but these ”Snow Balls’ are unmistakably the same cryogenically frozen pellets that haunt the depths of the American psyche. Heat up the chicken wings, roll out the voting machines, and crank the Skynyrd… there goes the neighborhood.