Is it really worth taking an eighty-minute Metro ride from the Capital just for a bowl of Thai ice cream? This author wanted to find out. Two trains, twenty-one stops and one bus connection later, the answer was a resounding yes.

What is Thai ice cream? What makes it special? And what are the best orders when it comes to this fun and frosty treat? Learn all this and more; class is in session at Class 520.

Where did it come from, where did it go?

Thai ice cream apparently originated around 2009 on the streets of Thailand. It rapidly gained fame on Instagram, where the intricate process of rolling it made for quite a few eye-catching posts.

Elliott Parrish

The first stateside Thai ice cream shops opened in New York City during the 2000s. They soon spread to other U.S. cities like Chicago. 

Class 520 is the first such ice cream shop in Maryland, and it is (again) definitely worth the trip. AU students with buddies at the University of Maryland-College Park have an especially good excuse to check it out.

How to make Thai Rolled Ice Cream

Rolled ice cream is a delicacy that demands special equipment. 

Pour refrigerated cream onto a round, freezing steel "ice plate," similar in appearance to a griddle. It's usually kept between -5 and -10 degrees Fahrenheit.

Then use two sharp spatulas to dice whatever toppings your heart desires--be it Oreos, strawberries or fruity pebbles--as the cream freezes.

The expert ice cream rollers at Class 520 know how to create a mesmerizing frozen spiral by peeling the ice cream off the plate in one smooth stroke. Getting to watch their artistry is half the fun.

Fabulous Flavors

What is a Monkey Business sundae? How about Red Sun or Thai-Tanic? These may sound like Ben & Jerry's famously witty flavor names, but they can't be found at your local grocery's frozen aisle.

Monkey Business has a vanilla ice cream base with Nutella and, of course, lots of bananas. Red Sun is perhaps the most interesting concoction of the bunch, featuring seldom-seen matcha ice cream and azuki red beans. Thai-Tanic is Thai tea-flavored and does not belong at the bottom of the ocean.

The Morning Latte is my favorite. This sundae's ice cream tastes just like frozen Vietnamese coffee. The flavor strikes such a perfect balance of dark roast, cream and sugar that I half-expected to feel a caffeine buzz after eating it.

Elliott Parrish

My sundae came topped with graham crackers, a toasted marshmallow and a drizzle of sweetened, condensed milk. The frozen spirals of ice cream had a light, airy texture that made the dish less filling than one would expect.

When it's too hot outside to order a warm cup of coffee, I suggest cooling off with this wonderful coffee ice cream instead.

Not an ice cream fan? Have some boba.

Class 520 has other offerings for those not partial to ice cream.

Thai milk tea is a sugary iced beverage that's also refreshing enough to make even the hottest summer days in Maryland feel pleasant. Other, less common options include oolong, jasmine and (my go-to order) Earl Grey.

Elliott Parrish

This establishment's encyclopedic boba menu ranges from fruity (strawberry banana) to savory (matcha) to pungent (lychee) to extra sweet (coconut). There are selections here I've never seen before and will probably never see again, like hot honeydew tea and rose yogurt boba.

Wonderful waffles

An egg waffle is light and springy, similar in consistency to a yeast donut. Class 520 offers such waffles with a slew of delicious drizzles including Nutella, caramel and chocolate sauce.

The dish reminds me of a dessert crepe, but more doughy and somehow acceptable as a breakfast food. It's a shame this place doesn't open until 1:00; they would make a tidy sum poaching business from the Waffle House.

In all, this is a unique and intriguing ice cream parlor worthy of special attention. I highly recommend stopping by the next time you find yourself in Terrapin country.