Vintage Ice Cream Parlours, Ice Cream Vans and
Shatin Heights Hotel Ice Cream Soda!
I remember a naughty little girl, who in the 60’s wandered down a steep hill from where she lived, crossed a busy road, and presented herself at The Shatin Heights Hotel whereupon she was served an Ice Cream Soda by the attentive and slightly surprised staff! Whilst she was slurping and sipping on the delectable ice cream drink-cum-dessert, a member of the hotel staff was phoning her parents up to let them know where she was; her irate and anxious mother arrived, not in the best of moods, and she was hauled off home with mutterings of “wait until your father gets home”! That little girl, who was about 5 years old at the time, was of course me! I was a terror, always wandering off, playing with the local children and joining in with a bowl of rice, and indeed I spoke better Cantonese than I spoke English when I was that age – before I attended British Forces Sek Kong Primary School that is. The ice cream soda incident has stayed in my mind for years, and I can almost taste that creamy concoction now, if I close my eyes and drift off back to the 1960’s.
I LOVED the Shatin Heights Hotel! It was a place of pure culinary excellence to a small child, where thin Melba toast and salted butter was served before the meal and ice cream sodas were on the menu, if you were good that is. The restaurant had an amazing view over Shatin valley, which in the 1960’s, was lush and green, with the backdrop of the mountains framing the flame trees and jacaranda trees; today, Shatin is a huge satellite town and unrecognisable from the days I lived near there. You could see Amah Rock quite clearly, a fascinating and naturally shaped rock with a sad tale attached to it: According to a legend, the faithful wife of a fisherman climbed the hills every day, carrying her son, to watch for the return of her husband, not knowing he had been drowned at sea. In reward for her faithfulness she was turned into a rock by the Goddess of the Sea so that her spirit could unite with that of her husband. Similar legends abound throughout the whole of China — the number of “Mong Fu Shek” rocks in the country is a great one. Many Chinese classical poems were dedicated to this kind of rock. (Wikipedia)
The reason that I am waxing lyrical and being so nostalgic is all down to a request from my daughter for an ice cream soda the other day. The memories of my childhood in a very Colonial Hong Kong came flooding back, and with the memories came that day, the day I ran away from home for an hour, just to have an ice cream soda! An ice cream soda still remains one of my favourite treats too, but, they can be laden with calories. So, for a “bang up to date” low-calorie version, perfect for any fast day (for those following the 5:2 diet), I have devised and created a VERY low-calorie version, that has a remarkable 35 to 70 calories per serving, dependant on which brand of low-calorie ice cream you use.
It is not quite the same as the Shatin Heights Hotel ice cream soda, but, it is still a sweet treat none the less, and perfect for a low-calorie dessert on a hot fast day. It’s also a perfect entry for Kavey’s August and September BSFIC ice cream challenge, which asks us all to share a nostalgic ice cream recipe or memory, both of which I have done here. As well as my ice cream adventures in Hong Kong, I also remember with great fondness a trip to the ice cream van, clutching a hot threepence or sometimes a sixpence in my hand, a treat from a grandparent. There was an agonising wait whilst the other children ordered their ice creams and then finally I was there, still undecided what to order, but the thrill of being able to choose anything you wanted was heady and very grown-up. I usually chose a “99”, with a Cadbury’s flake stuck in the creamy folds of vanilla ice cream, Mr Whippy of course.
The recipe, such as it is, for my Low-Calorie Ice Cream Soda, only has two ingredients, but the alchemy that happens when the ice cream is added to the soda is still magical, even today! It’s a dessert-cum-beverage that is reminiscent of ice cream parlours of the 1950’s, with their swivel chairs and soda fountains. It’s a polka-dotted bikini of a treat, with soft pastel colours and creamy flavours……it’s nostalgia in a glass and very welcome it is too! I hope you have enjoyed my ice cream adventures today, and that you may be inspired to try the recipe (but, no running away from home!), which is shared below – what ice cream memories do you have? Ad are they as naughty as mine! Have a great day, see you soon with more recipes and culinary chat…….Karen
Note: With thanks to my long-suffering parents who put up with my wild and adventurous ways……thankfully, due to their love and strict parental arm, I am still here today! K S B-B
Links to other Hong Kong Posts:
Carte Dor, Light, Vanilla Ice Cream, 4.5% Fat: 50g scoop = 70 calories
Waitrose, Cornish Dairy with Clotted Cream, Vanilla Ice Cream: 50g scoop = 49 calories
Sainsbury’s, Be Good to Yourself, Vanilla Iced Dessert: 50g scoop = 60 calories
Morrison’s, Eat Smart, Vanilla Iced Dessert, 80% Less Fat: 50g scoop = 35 calories
Asda, Good for You, Vanilla Ice Cream, Soft Scoop, Less Than 3% Fat: 50g scoop = 58 calories
Tesco, Light Choices, Soft Scoop Vanilla Iced Dessert: 50g scoop = 68 calories