Amanda Abrams wrote about Tropical as part of a longer piece about ice cream shops on July 3, 2009.
Exotic fruit, it turns out, unites the world. That's immediately apparent upon a trip to Tropical Ice Cream, occupying a small strip mall just south of the Beltway. Waiting in a long line for cones of guava, mamey sapote and soursop ice cream, the customers come from all over the globe: El Salvador, Eritrea, China. It makes sense; natives of Asia, Africa and Latin America grew up with juicy treats such as mangoes and jackfruit, and folks from the world's cooler regions itch for the unusual flavors.
Owner Caroline Tay, aims to please, churning ice cream from fruit she ate in her native Ghana as well as litchis and rambutans. Standard American varieties including mint chocolate chip and coffee are available for the less adventurous, but it's flavors such as passionfruit and papaya that make the store a hub for many of the region's immigrants. Waiting for her cone, one Jamaican customer says with a smile, "If you want a flavor that's close to home, this is the place to go."