A new ice cream festival in Capitol Hill, a recently opened ice cream and soda fountain shop in Pike Place Market...clearly it's frozen treat season in Seattle. Enter the timely arrival of two Asian dessert spots in International District, Bambu Desserts and Drinks and Fruit Bliss Cafe.
Bambu, which opened in March in the former Crazy Pho Cajun space at 516 Seventh Ave S, is serving up several iterations of the sweet Vietnamese drink known as chè. These fruit-filled, drinkable desserts are made with fresh coconut and coconut milk with versions accompanied by sliced lychee, longan, jackfruit, red tapioca, pandan jelly—all swimming in said coconut milk—and capped with a mound of shaved ice. It's a tropical summer in a cup.
Also on the neon-bright menu: smoothies, juices, Vietnamese coffee concoctions, bubble tea, and snow ice. The juice and smoothie game is equally singular with passionfruit juice, watermelon juice, taro coconut smoothie, red bean smoothie, and about 30 other icy combinations. As for the snow ice—or rather flavored mounds of fluffy, shaved ice—pick from a list of bases like Thai tea, red velvet, or strawberry cheesecake, then top with fruits, cookie crumbles, and syrups. Cavities be damned, y'all.
The cafe itself has booths aplenty, so settle in with your laptop, a board game, or just watch daytime cooking shows on the Food Network via Bambu's mounted TVs; all are legitimate life choices. Get your tropical fruit fix from 11 to 11 Sunday through Thursday, or until midnight Friday and Saturday. And stay tuned for another Bambu location in the works in the University District slated for this fall.
Fruit Bliss Cafe, inspired by the dessert spots of Hong Kong, opened at 414 Eighth Ave S. It also serves Asian combos such as fresh mango and black glutinous rice all atop vanilla shaved ice, or chilled sago, a sweet and starchy tapioca-like dessert that comes with coconut milk or mango juice and fruit. The very savory and often pungent durian fruit also makes appearances in pancake or pudding form, or served alongside vanilla shaved ice. Proceed with culinary caution.
The real MVP though may be the coconut pudding: The refreshing jello-like pudding made from coconut water comes served in a whole, fresh coconut with its meat intact. Think island vibes on a plate.
There are plenty of tables here as well, plus more upstairs for gaming; bring your own or borrow from their humble selection of tabletop games. Hours are subject to change a bit, but currently run 1 to 11 Sunday through Thursday, and 1 to 1 Friday and Saturday to satisfy any late night sugar pangs.