While Seoul seems to be in the grips of a booming soft serve bonanza, the folks from Brooklyn the Burger Joint are quietly bucking the trend by whipping up batches of their take on frozen custard at their new offshoot, FRZ Ice Cream.
“We felt it tasted good,” said Kang Hyo-jung, owner of FRZ Ice Cream and one of the founders of Brooklyn the Burger Joint.
It seemed perfectly natural for co-founder Kang to turn to ice cream, not only because she has a soft spot for sweets, but also because Brooklyn the Burger Joint always paired their juicy burgers with luscious milkshakes, ever since the first shop opened in Seoul’s Seorae Village four years ago.
Two more burger outlets later, Kang is ready to take the reins of her very own second act, a little ice cream parlor that opened next door to Brooklyn’s Samseong-dong shop in late May.
Frozen custard takes up a large slice of the menu at FRZ, which also features sorbets, popsicles and one soft serve flavor.
FRZ’s Thai tea (top) and eggnog frozen custard
Kang explained why she zoomed in on the classic American dessert, saying, “I think it tastes more creamy, rich, dense, I guess you could say, with more depth.”
Brooklyn the Burger Joint owner Park Hyun was also rooting for the sweet treat, having tasted it firsthand in Milwaukee, the “unofficial frozen custard capital of the world.”
Unlike ice cream, frozen custard, which originated from New York’s Coney Island in the early 1900s, is crafted from egg yolks, in addition to the usual milk and cream.
While some ice cream includes yolks, it is the relatively higher percentage of yolks in frozen custard that distinguishes it from its cool cousins and they are what many consider to be the key to the treat’s creamy texture.
Instead of going for a more standard take on the dessert by serving it fresh out of a frozen custard machine sort of like soft serve, Kang used the traditional, yolk-based recipe as a canvas for a myriad of flavors with a gourmet slant.
Kang’s frozen custard is light on the palate, yet still creamy and not icy, acting as the perfect conduit for flavors like spiced eggnog or fragrant Thai tea.
Other palate pleasers include caramel-laced coffee, walnut brittle with chocolate chips, dulce de leche with crushed Lotus cookies, chestnut and Rocky Road.
Kang is also bolstering her range of sorbets, with plans to release a peach-zinfandel sorbet when peaches are in season. Another potential new flavor is durian, Park revealed.
FRZ’s ice cream sandwich swaddles one’s frozen custard of choice between two chocolate chunk brownie cookies. (Lee Sang-sub/The Korea Herald)
While a lick of FRZ’s frozen custard is plenty good on the first visit, it would be a shame not to check out some of the other treats the second time around, like FRZ’s ice cream sandwiches, which are crafted from chocolate chunk brownies-turned-cookies.
Popsicles, like the creamy-fizzy root beer float or nutty coconut, are also worth a lick while FRZ’s icy riff on the campfire s’more is sure to please serious sugar fiends.
While the concept of a cold s’more is not new, FRZ does the whole summer-friendly s’more idea justice with its off-the-charts-sweet treat.
At FRZ, vanilla ice cream fused with ribbons of chocolate and chunks of graham crackers is insulated in a fatty outer layer of marshmallow, much like a baked Alaska, before being toasted-to-order.
Gooey marshmallow, with that golden caramelized toffee-like crust, goes perfectly with the huge, slightly salty chunks of graham cracker and cool vanilla ice cream.
In addition to all those treats, Kang says she also crafts soft serve from scratch, eschewing a liquid or powder mix, and uses that soft serve as the base for the shop’s sundaes and milkshakes.
While FRZ’s menu is expansive, the space itself is tiny, with only four red vinyl stools for the taking. The upside is that Brooklyn the Burger Joint patrons can order frozen custard and other FRZ treats for dessert and enjoy them with their burgers.
FRZ’s Kang seems okay with the future possibilities of this new ice cream-burger symbiosis, simply happy with the idea of scooping out curls of creamy frozen custard at this small spot in Samseong-dong.
FRZ Ice Cream opened next to Brooklyn the Burger Joint in Seoul’s Samseong-dong in May.
FRZ Ice Cream
146-23, Samseong-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul (02) 567-7180
Open 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, closed Mondays
Frozen custard and sorbet costs 4,300 won for two scoops
By Jean Oh (firstname.lastname@example.org