Looks Like Sorbetes Beat Gelato in the Latest TasteAtlas Ranking

Our eyebrows are raised, but we'll take any excuse to go for some dirty ice cream.
by Patricia Baes
June 02, 2023
Wikimedia Commons/Obsidian Soul

(SPOT.ph) Ice cream's great and all, but there's also a decidedly rustic, ultimately nostalgic appeal to its PH-adapted counterpart, sorbetes. Could it maybe skyrocket to be the next Big Thing in the global food scene? Perhaps. Our own "dirty ice cream" placed fifth on TasteAtlas' recently published Best Frozen Desserts in the World list, beating the likes of America's milkshakes, Korea's patbingsu, and even Italy's gelatos and affogato.

Sorbetes a.k.a. dirty ice cream comes in fifth on the recently published list of best frozen desserts by TasteAtlas. 
PHOTO BY Wikimedia Commons/Obsidian Soul

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Sorbetes is included in the TasteAtlas frozen dessert list:

Known for cataloguing dishes from around the world that users can browse and rate from one ("I hate it") to five ("I like it") stars, the "world food atlas" published an updated Best Frozen Desserts in the World list and an accompanying social-media post on May 31. Coming in after Iran's bastani sonnati, Peru's queso helado, Turkey's dondurma, and the U.S.' frozen custard (at first, second, third, and fourth places respectively) is the Philippines' sorbetes—described as a "popular Filipino ice cream" flavored with ingredients that include "mango, chocolate, cheese, coconut, and purple yam"—at the fifth rank.

PHOTO BY Facebook/TasteAtlas
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Attached is a photo of what seems to be a red scoop of ice cream or some other frozen dessert, surrounded by colorful jellies—not exactly the sorbetes that we know, cough, but okay. "Traditionally, [sorbetes] is produced from carabao milk and served in tiny scoops on sugar cones," TasteAtlas writes. "Some Filipinos like to consume it sandwiched between bread buns, like a hamburger."

Not exactly the sorbetes we know, but there are bigger hills to die on. 
PHOTO BY Screenshot/TasteAtlas website

Crucially, the guide differentiates it from the American dessert sorbetes sounds similar to: "Although it sounds similar to a sorbet, coming from the Spanish sorbete, it is not a sorbet, but a dirty ice cream [sic], as the locals jokingly call it due to the fact that it is sold along polluted streets. Sorbetes can usually be found at numerous street carts throughout the Philippines."


Sweet news aside, it's important to zoom into the methodology for coming up with this list. "TasteAtlas food rankings are based on the ratings of the TasteAtlas audience, with a series of mechanisms that recognize real users and that ignore bot, nationalist or local patriotic ratings, and give additional value to the ratings of users that the system recognizes as knowledgeable," reads the disclaimer-slash-mini methodology section on the list on their website."For the '50 Best Rated Frozen Desserts in the World' list until May 31, 2023, 4,426 ratings were recorded, of which 3,386 were recognized by the system as legitimate." 


Note that these are rankings of ratings of individual dishes—recall how users can browse and rate dishes from one to five stars on the website—scored independently of each other. 

Some important aspects for this specific list aren't elaborated on in the website—including the quality of specific sampling of said audience (e.g., there may be more ratings from people from certain parts of the world over others), and tied to that, the selection of desserts you can even browse on the website to rate for the list. As a commenter on Facebook points out, there are multiple entries for different flavors of gelato but only one for frozen custard (and other general-frozen dessert categories in the list).

If anything, they talk more about which visitors' votes get counted in a post dated February 2023: "We track the visitor's behavior on our web, we track all his ratings, and depending on whether the system recognizes him as a real visitor or as a nationalist or a bot, his votes are recognized or ignored.... You can't come to TasteAtlas, give a few ratings, and [automatically] expect your votes to be valid."


TasteAtlas also shed more light on their ways through a series of tweets in December that year: "Throughout the year, people rate those foods (not cuisines) in our database." Some votes—e.g. what they call "nationalist votes," or when "people from one country give high marks to their dishes and low marks to their neighbors"—are recognized by their system as "invalid" and thus not counted. The website also published a World Cuisines Ranking list in 2022, for which ratings were described to have been "obtained by the users average rating of the 30 best dishes, beverages and food products in that country."

This is all to say, take these findings with a grain of salt, Spotters—but it's all in good fun. As the website itself notes: "TasteAtlas Rankings should not be seen as the final global conclusion about food. Their purpose is to promote excellent local foods, instill pride in traditional dishes, and arouse curiosity about dishes you haven’t tried." And hey, we'll take any excuse to down a cone or two of dirty ice cream.


Read the list of TasteAtlas' Best Frozen Desserts in the World.

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