With coronavirus making travel a tricky and even potentially dangerous prospect this year, we’re embracing the summer staycation. All week (and all summer) long, we’ll bring you transportive flavors and travel-inspired ideas from around the world, so you can take your tastebuds on a trip and give your mind a mini vacation while you’re still at home. Here, learn how to make international ice pops, from paletas to boba popsicles.
Who doesn’t love frozen treats, especially when it’s hot outside (and maybe hot inside too)? These seven ice pop recipes are like a mini summer vacation, frozen on a stick. They’re inspired by cool treats from the Philippines, Vietnam, Mexico, China, Taiwan, Korea, and India, yet require no more effort to make than frozen juice pops. No need to pack your bags, either. Just head to the kitchen. (And if you’re missing Spain, try sangria popsicles and slushies too.)
One note on equipment: You can buy handy freezer pop molds online, which often include reusable sticks, but if they don’t, wooden popsicle sticks are also available. Or, you can go lower-tech and insert said wooden sticks into homemade molds made from waxed paper cups (think Dixie cups for mini pops). If you use smaller molds, these recipes will yield more ice pops, so plan accordingly.
Zoku Classic Ice Pop Molds, $14.95 from Sur La Table
Now, just pick your favorite flavor destination and take a virtual trip around the world.
The refreshing Latin American ice pops known as paletas usually contain fruit, and sometimes cream. Our version is dairy-free and highlights the sweet flavor of fresh mangoes. Cayenne gives them a little kick, although you can leave it out if you prefer. Get our Mango and Cayenne Paleta recipe.
Related Reading: The Best Dairy-Free Ice Cream Brands to Buy
No, these frozen treats have nothing to do with Halo Top, and everything to do with Filipino food, which is packed with flavor—dessert is no exception. Halo-halo (literally, “mix mix”), one of the most iconic Filipino treats, is a delicious assemblage of ube ice cream, shaved ice, evaporated milk, mung beans, corn, fruit, and coconut gelatin (among other ingredients). We couldn’t cram quite that much into these ice pops, but we did our best. Get our Halo-Halo Ice Pop recipe.
Melona pops, popular (no pun intended) in South Korea, were the inspiration for these simple summer treats. Ripe honeydew melon, sugar, heavy cream, and a pinch of salt is all that’s called for. They’re incredibly refreshing. Get our Honeydew Melon Ice Pop recipe.
Sweet red bean desserts are commonly enjoyed in China, Japan, Thailand, and other Southeast Asian countries, and if you’ve never tried one yourself, now’s the time. These creamy pops are made with sweetened, mashed adzuki beans, which you can buy in cans online or in Asian markets. If you’d prefer a smoother bite, you can use sweetened red bean paste instead, but we like the textural contrast of the roughly mashed beans. Get our Red Bean Ice Pop recipe.
Sweetened Red Beans, $8.51 from Amazon
Add a new dessert ingredient into your rotation.
A popular form of Vietnamese coffee is a combination of strong black brew combined with sweet condensed milk; it’s perfect for turning into creamy frozen ice pops, but be warned: they pack a caffeinated punch. So feel free to eat one for breakfast? Get our Vietnamese Coffee Ice Pop recipe.
Bubble tea is pretty widely known and loved these days, but have you had it in the form of an icy dessert yet? The frozen tapioca pearls slowly thaw and turn delightfully chewy as the creamy black tea-flavored ice pops melt around them. Get our Boba Popsicle recipe.
Related Reading: The History of Boba & Bubble Tea
These fragrant ice pops are inspired by Indian kulfi. They’re ultra creamy thanks to sweetened condensed milk and whole milk, and flavored with cardamom and saffron. Roasted pistachios add a great salty crunch. Get our Malai Kulfi Ice Pop recipe.
Related Reading: Tub Tim Krob Is the Crunchy, Frozen Thai Dessert of Your Dreams
This post was originally in 2011 and has been updated with new links text, and images.