The idea of taking an existing dessert and repurposing it in some kind of deep-fried fashion is nothing new – cronuts and Nutella bombs have both etched themselves in many hearts. But Duo Duo, Sydney’s first food truck specialising in deep-fried ice cream, is doing things differently.
“Fried ice cream was something I always looked forward to at the end of a meal,” says Chris Duong, who founded Duo Duo along with partner Dylan Duong in 2017. “Frying elevates the whole dish. It adds an extra layer of indulgence and warmth. I had to recreate it.”
Despite its likely origins in late 19th century America, fried ice cream was adopted by Chinese restaurants around the western world in the seventies and quickly became synonymous with Asian afters. Largely, it’s remained in that cuisine’s domain (special shout-out to Dan Hong’s butterscotch-soaked version at Mr Wong) with few modern iterations along the way.
Perhaps it’s a lack of creativity or freshness when it comes to traditional fried ice cream. Or maybe we’re just wowed by newer, matcha-ier flavours. But childhood friends Chris and Dylan saw plenty of room for a makeover.
“We make our own ice cream so we can control every element, like the sweetness of the ice cream and how much flavour we want to add. Ice cream is the most important component so we wanted to make sure we have control over that.”
“We also wanted to be really innovative with our flavours. Our newest invention is our banana bread ice cream.”
Indeed, Duo Duo has scooped up new followers for its fun flavour combinations that reflect the pair’s Vietnamese heritage and the dessert's American roots. Currently, the team offers cookies and cream, pandan and coconut and the aforementioned banana bread. Ice cream is cased in vanilla cake, rolled in panko breadcrumbs and fried. Toppings can include brown butter cream cheese, milk chocolate ganache, Oreo crumble and salted coconut glaze.
The boys drew inspiration from a childhood spent eating and celebrating all kinds of Asian food. “We’ve always been foodies. A lot of our hanging out was eating and talking about food and wondering if we could do this or that – if we could make it better and what we would change.”
The Duongs were also influenced by ice cream businesses around the world – namely, Morgensterns in New York. “That’s where we got the idea to be really creative and explore flavours. We wanted to take a part of that and bring it here.”
With Dylan’s background in pharmaceutical studies and their communal drive to push the boundaries of their deep-fried flavour profiles, the Duongs promise many more tastes and tangs to come.
Duo Duo operates at a range of locations across Sydney.
Check out their Facebook page for up-to-date truck whereabouts.