The ice cream uncle who goes around the neighborhood on his bike, peddling durian, coconut or red bean potong ice cream on sticks, announcing his arrival with the familiar tinkling of his bell, is not a common sight anymore.

While many of us would now go to an air-conditioned mall for some salted caramel ice cream, inside us we long to go back to our roots and the flavors we have grown up with.

Homegrown ice cream shops Island Creamery and Tom’s Palette are known for their handmade cream and local flavors, so we can get the good old-fashioned flavors without having to sit out in the sun waiting for the ice cream man to make his rounds.

Island Creamery is famed for their uniquely Singaporean Teh Tarik ice cream. Teh Tarik, which literally means ‘pulled tea’, is commonly served at coffee shops and food stalls. Island Creamery also serves up other local flavors like Pulut Hitam (black glutinous rice porridge), Cendol, Milo Ping Pong, and Tiger Beer. Yes, even our beer has its own ice cream.


Stanley Kwok, founder of Island Creamery, says he was inspired by popular Malaysian and Singaporean desserts. “When I first started Island Creamery in 2003, I realised that there were no local ice cream stores that produced local dessert flavors,” he adds.

Kwok also explains how his customers were “surprised by how close [the local ice cream flavors] tasted compared to the original”. Not contented with five local flavours, he intends to continue creating brand new flavors to add to his already extensive list.

Tom’s Palette is another local ice cream shop well known for its wacky, homely flavors. Customers’ favorite is the Salted Egg Yolk flavoured ice cream.

“We called it a ‘mystery flavor’, because we believed that no one would be willing to try it if we called it Salted Egg Yolk,” says Chronos Chan, co-founder of Tom’s Palette.

“Eventually people started trying out this ‘mystery flavor’ and when they started coming back for it, we knew that they were willing to accept a new and wacky flavor like this one,” he adds.

Besides the Salted Egg Yolk ice cream, another of Tom’s Palette’s interesting creations is its Dou Jiang You Tiao flavored ice cream, which is based on the Chinese breakfast favourite of soya bean milk and crispy, fried crullers.

With creative entrepreneurs injecting the Singaporean flavor into this Western dessert, ice cream has certainly evolved into a happy, surprising encounter.



Do the various local flavours appeal to you? Which is your favorite and why? Let us know in the comments!

Photos courtesy of Pepita Wauran
Gif animation and infographic courtesy of Bryan Chua