Although I’ve been to Turkey several times, if you asked me what “Turkish ice cream” was this morning, I wouldn’t have known the answer. Looking it up just now, I see there is a Turkish form of ice cream called dondurma, which has both mastic (a form of resin) and salep (flour made from a specific orchid bulb). It apparently has a unique texture and elasticity, and now I’m sorry I didn’t ever try it.
And perhaps it’s that texture and elasticity that’s made “Turkish ice cream vendors” on YouTube the masters of tricky serving: keeping the cone away from the customer by turning it upside down, removing the bolus of ice cream from the cone right before serving it, and all kinds of clever tricks that must amuse the customers while also frustrating them.
I found the first video below, from Turkey, which delighted me: you get a show along with your cone. And these guys are really good at their tricks: frustrating the customer for a long time before handing over the merch (yes, I said it). Why do they do these tricks? Well, besides the possibility that the texture dondurma allows this (I can’t see American ice cream behaving these ways), it may attract buyers who want to see the show. It also may challenge buyers to see if they can actually wrest the cone from the seller. And it may also make a somewhat humdrum job into something dextrous and interesting.
Regardless, apparently Turkish ice-cream vendors throughout the world do these tricks. I watched the first video below, and, as YouTube is wont to do, it segued to a second video of a different Istanbul vendor doing different tricks (look at how he puts the cone inside the customer’s pants!). And then a Turkish ice-cream vendor in Singapore, doing similar tricks. And then one in Taiwan, and then one in India! There may be a gazillion similar videos on YouTube. I didn’t look for more, but I do regret never having sought out Turkish ice cream. Watch at least two of the videos below.
And if you’ve tried dondurma, tell us about it.
Also in Turkey:
. . . and in India: