Dessert lovers take note: It's opening day for Monkey King Banana Stand. This is the new ice cream and dessert shop in Deep Ellum that's a spin-off of Monkey King Noodle Co., taking over its old space on Main Street. Monkey King Noodle Co. moved down the block and reopened at its new address at 2933 Main St. in July.
There'll be house-made ice cream plus a selection of Taiwanese pastries, inspired by the childhood favorites of Monkey King founder Andrew Chen.
Ice cream flavors include chocolate, vanilla, green tea, Vietnamese iced coffee, and roasted spiced banana, plus another two to three rotating and seasonal flavors, which currently include Thai young coconut and an almond twist on cookies and cream.
For opening day, they're rolling out two pastries: bite-sized custard tarts and soufflé cheesecake, a 3-inch-high round that manages to be both airy and dense.
The shop stars pastry chef Cuong "Cancun" Vo, a Garland native who took classes at El Centro College and worked with legendary pastry chef Randy Gehman at the Four Seasons at Las Colinas.
Vo's culinary career arose from a lifelong passion for ice cream.
"I would eat pretty much a bowl of ice cream every night before I went to bed," he says. "A few years ago, I entered an ice cream contest at the Dallas Farmers Market and won, and decided it was something I wanted to do."
His recipe is about 16 percent butterfat, which is about where the super-premium category, which includes ice creams such as Häagen-Dazs and Ben & Jerry's, begins. "You need to get a balance between richness, creaminess, and flavor," he says.
The pastries are sweet but not too sweet, Chen says. "That's how Asian desserts are," he says. "We want it to be authentic."