Thai-style shaved ice at I Am Frozen Dessert Café is our new favorite summer treat

Thai Ice from I Am Cafe KC

At first, you won’t really understand what’s happening. In your mouth, I mean. You thought you were getting dessert — something resembling ice cream based on the colorful photos flashing on the television screens above the order counter. But what appears in front of you looks like a heaping pile of glass shards covered in whipped cream and blitzed Oreo pieces and served in a metal platter as big as your face. It’s a bit like eating fresh snow: Light as a feather, it melts in your mouth faster than you can really grasp the flavors. It’s sweet and creamy but not a sugar bomb.

At I Am Frozen Dessert Café (14357 Metcalf Ave., Overland Park, 913-766-1057,, they call this “shaved ice,” but it’s no snow cone. Owners Ann Niramol Riensin and Ike Nuttakit Piyapant, who also run Pad Thai Restaurant around the corner, imported this popular dessert from their native Thailand, where low-fat milk is mixed with flavors like coconut, green tea, peanut butter or chocolate, frozen into blocks and shaved into delicate flakes. At I Am, these dishes have names like I Am Magnificent (fresh berries with cheesecake chunks) and I Am Fabulous (strawberry limeade). The I Am Delightful — flavored with fresh mango and garnished with a luxurious mango chutney — is the best addition to a hot summer’s day.

If you make it past the shaved ice options, you can order a honey toast. This fluffy, architectural wonder stands about three inches tall and tastes kind of like brioche, if brioche were also made with fresh whipping cream and the deepest wishes of your heart. You can order it with chocolate and banana, fresh berries or cookies and cream.

If you still have trouble processing what just happened to your taste buds after you’ve polished off your fruit loop-covered shaved ice, don’t worry. The important part is that you enjoyed it. Say it with me: I Am Happy.  

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