Singapore – ice cream wafer

In Singapore, ice cream sellers are strategically positioned to take advantage of foot traffic – next to MRT (train) stations, outside temples and schools, on street corners, touristy spots like Chinatown, Clarke Quay and Orchard Road.

The mobile carts are usually run by weather-beaten, elderly ice cream uncles who rarely crack a smile. The ice cream comes in blocks that are sliced to order, thick-cut single portions served between two wafers or a slice of soft rainbow bread (multi-coloured, over-sized bread) – ice cream sandwiches. Some sellers sold ice cream cups and cones but the wafers were by far the most popular. Our first taste was bought from an ice cream stall next to Bugis MRT Station on Victoria Street, near our hotel. We shared a sweet corn ice cream in rainbow bread, but after we tried the ice cream wafers we never went back to bread.

For me, an ice cream wafer was a welcome remedy after walking around in the heat and humidity, my sweat-soaked t-shirt clinging to my back. A glimpse of an ice cream stall’s colourful umbrella was like the joyful first sighting of a palm tree rising from a desert oasis.

We tried several flavours during our stay: coffee, sweet corn, coconut, raspberry ripple, and of course, durian. If you’ve experienced this simple pleasure, what’s your favourite flavour?

An ice cream wafer in Singapore costs around SG$1 (approximately 85-90 Australian cents, depending on current exchange rate).

Singapore blog series

Jac and I were in Singapore for 8 nights in July 2014. Before this, the last time I visited Singapore was with my family when I was around 2 years old. We paid for this trip ourselves and our Singaporean friend Mandy was our local guide and makan kaki* .

*A Malay phrase. ‘Makan’ means ‘eat’. ‘Kaki’s original meaning is ‘leg’ but in this context means ‘friend’ or ‘buddy’. ‘Makan kaki’ is your ‘eating buddy’.

The flavours may vary from cart to cart, but this is a typical example The flavours may vary from cart to cart, depending on the ice cream brand (we ate Walls, Evergreen, Magnolia) but this is a typical example

Sweetcorn ice cream rainbow bread Our very first taste – sweet corn ice cream rainbow bread. Keep it folded and eat it like a hotdog.
The bread will get soggy, so eat quickly!

Raspberry ripple and durian wafers Raspberry ripple and durian wafers

At the park opposite Pearls Centre, Eu Tong Sen Street, near Outram Park MRT Station

DSCF5433Outside Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, Chinatown

DSCF6453At Pagoda Street, Chinatown. There are cold drinks in the ice box, but we only had eyes for ice cream wafers.
As pictured here, the ice cream uncles wear plastic gloves when handling the ice cream

Coffee wafer Coffee wafer

DSCF6464

DSCF7401Albert Mall, Bugis. I grabbed a durian ice cream wafer after a breakfast of wantan mee at Albert Centre food court

DSCF7437Because the ice cream is cut from a larger block, some people call this ‘potong’ ice cream, ‘potong’ being Malay for ‘cut’. Potong ice cream more commonly refers to ice cream which is served on a wooden stick popsicle-style

Thick-cut ice creamI love sinking my teeth into a thick block of ice cream like this

Coconut ice cream wafer Coconut ice cream wafer

Durian wafer - again! Durian wafer – again! My favourite flavour – what’s yours?

Writing this post reminded me of the time I was in primary school in Malaysia in the mid-1980s. I’d spend my pocket money on a durian ice cream cone for twenty cents after school from the ice cream cart that regularly parked outside the school gates. I’d eat it as I walked, all the evidence gone by the time I arrived home, ready to tuck into the hot meal my grandma had waiting for me. Nothing tasted as good as my secret ice cream cone.

New blog design

I guess you’ve noticed the blog’s new look! I have left Servved and have a new web host now too. We (my web developer and I) are still ironing out some bugs and trying to get all the old comments back where they should be. It’s a work in progress made more challenging because this blog is 9+ years old – that’s a lot of posts, images and comments to migrate to new hosting.

I’ll leave you to discover the changes for yourself, but one cool feature I’d like to point out is the ‘Like’ icon (in the shape of a heart) that you can click if you’ve enjoyed a post but don’t wish to leave a comment.

If you have any major dramas e.g. something’s broken or not working, please let me know.

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  • You really should try the ice-cream scoops from them. As for, “Mix.” It’s a nice mix of homemade ice-cream in a bin (you can request to look into it at their cart). Interesting flavours like durian, atap chee (fruit of nipah palm) and sometimes peanut (with bits of crushed peanuts) or mango (you can taste so mango bits). He will scoop everything together so a single lick/bite will have you tasting different flavours. VERY shiok!

    • Sounds great! We are planning another trip to Singapore so I’ll add that to my list.

  • Cindy M

    I really (highly, very much!) doubt I’d like the red bean ice cream. :-( I’d be curious to try durian! And definitely vanilla. And then I’d be running for their Chinatown Street Market. Such nice photos; all the activity, bustle, colours. A married couple I’ve known now reside in Singapore; he’s white and about 6 feet 8 inches tall. Must REALLY **stand** out (pardon the pun). He’s not in any of these photos. ;-p (Yes, I know Singapore is a huge sprawling city…chances are he’s not in any photo of yours).

    p.s. – your childhood secret ice cream cone; yep, that’s the best memory of all!

    • Cindy,
      Wow, 6 feet 8 inches, yes, he must tower over 99.9% people in Singapore! I don’t remember seeing anyone that tall while walking around. :) Red bean is actually quite nice – I reckon most people would like it over durian, actually, because durian has that strong, stinky smell – even in ice cream form. We spent some time in Chinatown – more photos to come in a future post.

      • Cindy M

        Can’t wait to see those Chinatown photos. :-) Husband and I would like to visit San Francisco’s Chinatown next year. I’ve been to Chicago’s Chinatown twice (1987 and 1990). Actually I’d like to visit Hangzhou, China…but the cost, etc. Likely not doable.

        • I have Singapore Chinatown AND San Francisco Chinatown photos still to come! I was in San Francisco in late July. Loved it.

          • Cindy M

            Oh how beautiful!! :-) I’ve seen some photos via Google, but prefer yours – “upclose and personal.” Well now I really cannot wait! Thanks for posting that photo for me.

        • Here’s one I instagrammed while in San Francisco! :) http://instagram.com/p/rCnNmNNPDm

  • I’ve never encountered these guys in the single day I spent in Singapore on a layover two years ago…I was trying to figure out why, and then I realised that it was probably because I spent all my time in airconditioned malls! I found the humidity so oppressive I really didn’t venture out onto the street, which is why I didn’t see these old ice-cream uncles. I’ll definitely have to brave the heat next time!

    • Amanda, haha yep. We preferred to be out wandering the streets rather than spending a lot of time at the big malls, which were awfully packed and made Jac feel quite claustrophobic after a while. I was thrilled to eat an ice cream to cool down; Jac would eat an ice cream and then jump into the pool when we got back to our hotel.