Vanilla ice cream with spicy chili oil — uncovering the origins of a viral TikTok dessert

chili oil ice cream

We’ve seen watermelon with mustard, sugary cucumbers and even sushi pizza. But what about ice cream with chili oil? This viral TikTok dessert isn’t something you can easily find at a nearby grocery store, so people are sharing ways to recreate this surprisingly delicious dessert at home. 

Origins: Before catching the attention of millions of netizens worldwide, this sundae was first consumed in China.

  • The concoction was allegedly inspired by Biangbiang noodles, also known as youpo chemian. This Northern Chinese specialty, which consists of thick, spicy noodles, comes from the Shaanxi province.
  • Officially known as youpo lazi sundae,” the dessert has “vanilla soft serve topped generously with a chili crisp infused oil complete with bits of peppers, onion, garlic and seasonings.”
  • It first became popular in China’s Sichuan region in 2018 after dessert shop vendors, especially those from the cities of Chengdu and Chongqing, posted pictures of the unique treat online. 

Rise in popularity: Ice cream with chili oil gained even more attention after McDonald’s in China featured it as a limited- edition dessert earlier this year. 

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  • The sundae was only available in January as a free item for McDonald’s China loyalty program members.
  • Countless social media users raved about the combination of cold vanilla soft-serve with the heat and crunch of tongue-numbing chili oil. 
  • TikTok users, especially those outside of China, started making videos about the combination, which soon went viral.

How to make it: As the youpo lazi sundae grew in popularity, netizens tapped into their creative sides to make their own versions. 

  • The easiest way to recreate it is by ordering a classic soft-serve from McDonald’s and then adding chili oil on top. Lao Gan Ma chili oil is a popular choice among social media users. 
  • Food & Wine recommends going for “flavor over heat, especially since cold ice cream dulls the subtler tastes of any chile crisp, and make sure whatever you’re using has some good crunchy chile flakes, sesame seeds, peanuts, and/or Sichuan peppercorns to sprinkle on top.”
  • If you can’t order ice cream from McDonald’s, look for other options, such as vanilla ice cream from your local grocery store or even frozen yogurt.
@thecrunchbrosWould you try chili oil with ice cream? @mcdonalds #icecream #hack #foodhack #tiktokfood #HoldMyMilk Saw this on @buzzfeedoz♬ original sound – The CrunchBros

The youpo lazi sundae is another unique food combination, just like McDonald’s limited-time spam Oreo burger and Burger King’s Chocolate Whopper. While we wait for another food hack to go viral, you can find us stocking up on some ice cream and Lao Gan Ma chili oil.

Featured Image via @crunchbros

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