Why We Actually Want to Eat the Milky Bun

Alex Van Buren
Food Features Editor
February 20, 2014

Photo credit: Instagram/ Nehsuh

When the Internet went nuts yesterday over something called a “milky bun,” we dismissed it as yet another mashup jumping on the cronut bandwagon—a newfangled concoction to dismiss. Donuts with ice cream stuffed inside? Whatever.

But then we couldn’t get them out of our minds: donuts with ice cream stuffed inside! At the new Afters Ice Cream parlor, located just outside Los Angeles, owner Scott Nghiem has taken inspiration from Asian desserts—”they eat a lot of sweet buns, they dip them in milk”—to create a new dessert hybrid that actually sounds…really good.

To create the milky buns, Nghiem makes fresh donuts every day (both glazed and unglazed), making them a little larger than is typical so he can split them open and stuff them with ice cream. Sixteen flavor options include “cookie butter" (made with Speculoos cookies), jasmine tea and cereal milk. On to a magical panini presslike machine they go, which seals the edges of the donut; the result is “a nice hot crispy outside with a gooey inside.” Uh, yum.

Nghiem tells us he’s selling 500 milky buns daily, at $3.50 a pop, and isn’t able to keep up with demand. People are driving from Las Vegas and San Diego, two hours away, to try them. and word has been “spreading like wildfire,” he told us.

Turns out part of the grand plan is to make Orange County that much cooler: There’s “a need for a late-night dessert place that’s cool and hip…like Los Angeles, like other parts of the country.” Nghiem cites his fashion and real estate background in explaining his desire for a milky bun utopia: “plazas that provide all these things for the new generation, a new style up to modern standards. In the O.C., people are kind of stuck. We want to create that edge; you can walk down the street and taste ten things.” His hometown, he told us, is “a little mellow…I would love to shake it up a little bit.”

Will the milky bun be the thing to “shake up” the O.C.? The reaction has certainly been dramatic. As one news anchor expressed herself, hearing about the Frankenstein of desserts: “WhaaaAAAAT?”

Like chocolate and vanilla and peanut butter and jelly, are donuts and ice cream a match made in heaven? What do people think of what Thrillist has called “the ultimate icy-hot experience,” and a photographer for FoodBeast coined “The Jelly Donut Killer”? Take us to the Twitters!

Some say the cronut has been dethroned:

Thrillist explains why this trend seems like it will never die: 

This guy will probably try all 16 flavors: 

Milky buns are “cray”:

And maybe even worth a road trip? 

This sort of sums up our feelings, now that we’ve thought it over: 

And they’re actually pretty beautiful: 

Photo credit: Instagram, Peeping_Timmy

Are you one of those people driving two hours to try milky buns? Get there early. An employee revealed that they’ve been selling out of the milky buns two hours before closing time (10 p.m.) every night, but that he hopes tonight they’ll “make it to 8 or 9.” If you live in the neighborhood, stop by early. You don’t want to see a sign like this one: 

Photo credit: Afters Ice Cream, Facebook