When Big Softee opened for business in Monterey Park last summer, the emerging soft-serve shop immediately gained popularity for its authentic flavors that represent the spirit of the Asian American community in the San Gabriel Valley (SGV). For Asian Americans raised on unconventional flavors from exotic countries and for people who want to think outside the soft-serve box, Big Softee is a welcoming choice that excels in those criteria.
Upon my arrival, I was welcomed by a large neon sign of its logo. My eyes were immediately drawn to the massive menu in front of the counter that was written in both Chinese and English. The red and gold colors inside the shop constitute traditional Chinese culture due to the owners’ Hong Kong background. The interior of the shop features minimalistic designs with plain white walls and polished wooden furnishings. The overall environment was homey, creating a comfortable and inviting atmosphere for customers to enjoy their frozen treat.
Big Softee serves a wide variety of soft-serve flavors that rotate weekly. For instance, two weeks ago, the shop had a selection of five unique flavors: tofu flower, Hong Kong style milk tea, Tahitian vanilla, matcha almond, and mango jasmine tea. Though the selection of available flavors is limited, each flavor is heavily influenced by Asian culture.
Before I decided what to order, an employee graciously offered samples of the available flavors that week. My friend and I decided on the Hong Kong style milk tea and mango jasmine tea soft serves. Both choices had the right balance of sweetness and depth of flavor. The ice cream was delicately made as the texture was smooth and creamy. The total for our order came out to be $9, which was a reasonable amount considering the large portion size.
The Hong Kong style milk tea soft serve had a nostalgic taste of the classic milk tea that I grew accustomed to drinking as a resident of the SGV. The soft-serve had a strong tea taste, yet it was not overbearing. The Hong Kong style milk tea flavor was exactly how I imagined it to be—a staple flavor for milk tea lovers because of its likeness to its drink counterpart. Meanwhile, the mango jasmine tea had a balanced flavor of mango and jasmine; neither overpowered the other, and the tartness of the mango paired well with the sweetness of jasmine tea.
Overall, the shop offers reasonable prices and two sizes—regular and large. I would definitely recommend giving Big Softee a shot because the shop explores the depths of the Asian American community through its unique approach to soft serve flavors. Since flavors are regularly rotated, customers are able to try new ones every week.
Big Softee is located at 128 S Atlantic Blvd in Monterey Park, and is open from Monday to Thursday from 2 to 9:30 p.m., and Friday to Sunday from 12:30 to 10:30 p.m.