The Real Reason You Should Skip Fried Ice Cream At Mexican Restaurants

It's true what is often said — ice cream makes everything better. A universally beloved dessert, it's comfort food at its best, to help you get through the difficulties of stressful work days and bad breakups.

A fun twist on the favorite is fried ice cream. This rich succulent sweet treat is made by breading a scoop of the frozen dairy product and quick frying it to provide a warm, crunchy exterior and cold ice cream inside (via Truffles and Trends). It also often has unique add-ins such as cookie crumbs, sugar, cornflakes, and spices like cinnamon. Who could say no to that?

This dessert is a often found on the menu at Mexican restaurants, among other dining establishments. But, a Mexican eatery is maybe not the best place to sample this dish.

You won't get the authentic experience eating fried ice cream at a Mexican restaurant

The thing is, fried ice cream is not a traditional Mexican dish at all. According to the blog Mattito's, the origin of fried ice cream is up for debate. Some believe that it first created a splash in Philadelphia in the late 1800s while others are convinced that the phenomenon was discovered at the Chicago World's Fair back in 1893. Many others are convinced Japanese restaurants created it with tempura in the 20th century. While there are plenty of theories, none point towards Mexican cuisine. 

So how did this bizarre connection come to be? As another blogger, Brooklyn Farm Girl, explained, the hype began when the late Mexican chain Chi-Chi's started serving fried ice cream to its patrons and it took off. While the brand shut shop in 2004, the memories linger and many Americans at least remember fried ice cream from this popular restaurant, coupled with some nostalgia. A Redditor even went so far as to admonish the restaurant for cultural appropriation, saying, "Blame Chi-Chi's, the defunct (at least in the US) restaurant chain. Back in the '70s, they adopted fried ice cream to their menu from a trend popular in US Asian restaurants." 

The bottomline? You're not getting the authentic experience at a Mexican restaurant with this dessert, and you may want to try it elsewhere. Taste Atlas recommends trying the dessert at places like Frach's in Los Angeles, Brown Sugar Cafe in Boston, and more.