From Our Editors
Since opening on Halloween in 2013, Vampire Penguin has enjoyed an avalanche of success thanks to its addictive shaved snow. Not to be confused with shaved ice, shaved snow is a traditional Taiwanese dessert trimmed from ice cream-like blocks. At Vampire Penguin, these blocks typically don't contain dairy—instead, they're made of fruit concentrate, non-dairy cream, and sugar, and when that mixture freezes, a machine shaves it down into ultra-fine ribbons.
Much like a slumbering invisible friend, the resulting treat is airy and a prime target for toppings, such as fruits, syrups and candies. Vampire Penguin's founders, brothers Leo San Luis and Paolo Angelo San Luis, have parlayed their original location's success into numerous other shops, including one on K Street in downtown Sacramento. As for the name: "It's cute but not cute," Paolo once told the Sacramento Business Journal, alluding to how shaved snow is kind of one thing, and kind of another thing, too.