Sundaes to sorbet: 8 great desserts for Shanghai summer

From scoops to sundaes to thick shakes, treat yourself as temperatures soar with Shanghai’s coldest comfort foods

​Photograph: courtesy Swirlz
Cravings for ice cream, sorbet and so on can come at any time – even when the weather’s looking a bit iffy like this week. When the sun does reappear there’s no better way to cool off than with some of the city’s coldest tasty treats. From super fruity sundaes to seriously thick scoops of gelato, here are some our picks for handling soaring temperatures.

Strawberry and Black Pepper

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Photograph: courtesy Pint Club

Born and bred in Shanghai, this parlour from former designer Hang Lo, previously a pop-up that made waves on WeChat, now has its own offline summer store on Wulumuqi Lu (open until the end of October). Currently in soft-opening, scoops on the menu so far include thick, creamy renditions of classics like salted caramel and vanilla, but the more unfamiliar flavours that brought it the initial hype are must-try, especially strawberry and black pepper. 28RMB (one scoop); 38RMB (two scoops).

Pint Club, 394 Wulumuqi Lu, near Zhaojiabang Lu.


Watermelon Sorbet


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Photograph: courtesy Gelato Dal Cuore

This artisanal gelateria turns out super rich Italian gelato and fresh sorbets in flavours that range from classics like 70 percent dark chocolate, strawberry and cookies and cream to more offbeat, seasonal flavours. For a scoop that really screams summer, it’s all about the super refreshing (and not totally unhealthy) watermelon sorbet. 35RMB (two scoops); 48RMB (three scoops).

Gelato Dal Cuore, 600 Shaanxi Bei Lu, near Xinzha Lu.


Vanilla Milkshake


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Photograph: courtesy Luneurs

One for fans of thick, old-school shakes, Luneurs keeps it simple and sweet with this one. There are no extras or fancy garnishes, it’s just vanilla ice cream blended and speckled with vanilla seeds – which is really all it needs when the quality of ice cream is this high. 55RMB.

Luneurs, 888 Huashan Lu, near Wukang Lu. Multiple locations around town.


Frozen Yogurt

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Photograph: courtesy Spoooon!

DIY it at this fro-yo spot and load up a base of house-made creamy frozen yogurt (or switch it out for Greek or fresh yogurt) with your pick of fruits or sweets. From 24RMB.

Spoooon, 59 Yongkang Lu, near Xiangyang Nan Lu.


Bellagio Breeze

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Photograph: Cat Nelson

Towering at an impressive height, this Taiwanese eatery’s signature dessert is a sight to behold. The mountain of shaved ice covered in sweet red and green beans and studded with tapioca, pineapple and taro cake is almost healthy – except for the can of condensed milk it’s swimming in. 35RMB.

Lu Gang Xiao Zhen (鹿港小镇), B1, IAPM, 999 Huaihai Zhong Lu, near Xiangyang Nan Lu. Multiple locations around town.


Cookie Sliders

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Photograph: Cat Nelson


Nothing screams summer like sticky fingers! Strictly Cookie’s (WeChat ID: StrictlyCookies) lil’ cookie sliders are the perfect treat size and one that shouldn’t have you bouncing off the walls from a massive sugar high. Four packs come with cookie and ice cream combos including chocolate chip with vanilla, brownie with mint, oatmeal raisin with vanilla and peanut butter with strawberry. 50RMB for four.

Strictly Cookies, Room 103, 1166 Yanan Xi Lu, near Panyu Lu.


Berry Blast sundae

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Photograph: courtesy Swirlz

Don’t be fooled by appearances: Swirlz doesn’t do your usual soft serve. The ice cream at this new parlour from the co-founders of Brut Eatery (Priscilla Young and Jun Wu) is closer to a gelato, with lower air content and a thicker texture. Plus, the Berry Blast sundae packs in fresh strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and mint which means you’re even getting a few of your five a day. 38RMB.

Swirlz, 1411 Yuyuan Lu, near Dingxi Lu.


Banana Split

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Photograph: courtesy Al's Diner

An over-the-top treat that’s big enough to share, this banana split comes with three scoops of Gracie’s vanilla bean, dark chocolate, and balsamic strawberry and buttermilk ice creams drizzled in sea salt caramel and hot fudge sauces and topped with banana, Amarena cherries, graham cracker crumble and whipped cream. 108RMB.

Al's Diner, 204 Xinle Lu, near Donghu Lu.

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