Fried ice cream is a dessert made from a breaded scoop of ice cream that is quickly deep-fried creating a warm, crispy shell around the still-cold ice cream.
There are conflicting stories about the dessert's origin. Some claim that it was first served during the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, where the ice cream sundae was also invented. Though in 1894 a Philadelphia company was given credit for its invention describing : "A small, solid cake of the [ice] cream is enveloped in a thin sheet of pie crust and then dipped into boiling lard or butter to cook the outside to a crisp. Served immediately, the ice cream is found to be as solidly frozen as it was first prepared.". A third claim, beginning in the 1960s asserts that fried ice cream was invented by Japanese tempura restaurants.
In the United States, fried ice cream has been associated with Asian cuisine, appearing in reviews of Chinese, Japanese, and Polynesian restaurants in the "Dining Out" section of the New York Times in the 1970s. It also came to be associated with Mexican cuisine, in large part due to national chain Chi-Chi's adopting a fried ice cream made with tortillas and cinnamon as its "signature dessert" when it opened in the early 1980s.
The dessert is commonly made by taking a scoop of ice cream frozen well below the temperature at which ice cream is generally kept, possibly coating it in raw egg, rolling it in cornflakes or cookie crumbs, and briefly deep frying it. The extremely low temperature of the ice cream prevents it from melting while being fried. It may be sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar and a touch of peppermint, though whipped cream or honey may be used as well.