If there is one dessert that people living in SG turn to regardless if the weather’s rainy or sunshine-y, it’s ice cream. In a cone, cup or tub, or stuffed between bread slices or atop waffles, this delectable icey is an everyday treat for everybody (save those who have some kind of milk, nut or any other allergy, sensitive teeth, or who just don’t like or choose to eat such treats). And, with a ton of choices out there, it’s no wonder we end up giddy with both delight and choice.
Instead of settling for plain old vanilla in a paper cup, why not expand your dessert palette by going local by trying a homegrown brand for some super interesting and yummy ice cream flavours? For part 1 of our specially curated list of homegrown ice cream parlours, it’s all about the birds and bees, cows and, err, labs (name-wise for the stores that is) and the sweet nom-noms that they serve. (Also, look out for part 2 where we spotlight some of the OGs in the SG ice cream scene.)
Important update: With the current COVID-19 restrictions in place from 16 May 2021 onwards, do check ahead with each ice cream outlet for their opening hours, product availability and takeaway options (best to buy your desserts in cups, pints or tubs). Or, try the brands’ respective websites to order your faves so you can Netflix and chill with a pint, in the comfort of your home.
Birds of Paradise
This is the hipster’s icey treat of choice, and it’s easy to see why. Founded by former civil engineer Edwin Lim, this gelato boutique (FYI, gelato is basically ice cream that’s made with less fat) crafts its goodies from scratch with natural and botanical ingredients such as spices, herbs, fruits, flowers and pods, taking flavour inspo from the South East Asian region, infusing its creations with homely herbs like basil and blue ginger. So, it’s the sweet taste of Mother Nature blended in Italian-style desserts served up at minimalist parlours (of which one is housed within an actual fashion boutique, In Good Company). As we said, hipster’s choice.
Choose any of its bestsellers: the floral White Chrysanthemum (it comes with raw cacao nibs), chocolate-y Midnight Gianduja (dark and nutty), or Lychee Raspberry (sweet and fruity). Or, pick the more intriguing herbaceous and spiced ones such as Strawberry Basil or Spiced Pear (flavoured with star anise and cloves). Whatever your poison (from $5 a scoop and $17 a pint), order them in a waffle-cone – it’s housemade and scented with thyme.
Birds of Paradise, 63 East Coast Road, #01-05, 428776, and 78 Airport Boulevard, Jewel Changi Airport (within In Good Company boutique), #01-214/215/216, 819666; birdsofparadise.sg; www.facebook.com/bopgelato; www.instagram.com/bopgelato
No, it’s not a place where bees and beehives are kept to provide honey, but it’s definitely one where you can find ice cream that is just as sweet as nectar. Started by Travis Goh and Brian Lee (the former’s the magic maker, the latter sorts out the biz), Apiary makes rich and creamy confections with no artificial flavours or colourings, with all its dairy products pasteurised on site in its kitchens. In fact, Apiary’s become so popular that it has opened another outlet in Ang Mo Kio in March (their flagship store’s at Neil Road).
Ferrero Rocher, well, because it’s inspired by this SG-beloved brand of hazelnut chocolate balls; Blue Milk that’s a smooth delight made of milk, blue pea flower and salt; and its eponymous signature, Apiary, a honey ice cream that comes with different ingredients of the day such as cocoa nibs and bee pollen (from $4.20 a scoop and up, depending on the flavour). And if you are at the Ang Mo Kio outpost (note: the outlet sits two only, so it’s best to buy takeaway), get your ice cream served in – neither a cone nor cup – but a fluffy, warm brioche bun from local bakery Oishi Pan (add $3 for one). It’s an exclusive!
Udders Ice Cream
For anyone who’s been into Singapore-made ice cream since 2007, would know of Udders. Started by hubby & wifey duo David Yim and Wong Peck Lin, both of whom knew nada about making ice cream – they experimented with flavours using a dewar of liquid nitrogen in the middle of their living room (yikes!) – it is now a super-success story that should inspire all foodie-preneurs, what with 6 outlets spread across the island (its latest being a Royal Durian X Udders concept store at Jurong East that opened just this month), and its pre-packed cups and tubs found in many reputable marts, even those at Esso, Shell and Caltex service stations.
When talking about an OG food business, one, but of course, must recommend its OG signatures. Rum Rum Raisin, Orange Choc Bitters and Baileys & Bourbon are what Udders made its name on. These, plus its “always eaten, never beaten” Mao Shan Wang. For “non-alcoholics” and non-durian lovers, the classic Awesomely Chocolate or double branded-chocs-in-one Snickers Mars Honeycomb Vanilla should put you on a choco-high (all from $4.40 a scoop to $5.40 a scoop, depending on the flavour).
If you are really ga-ga over gelato, especially those that are more artisanal and experimental, then Gelato Labo is your go-to. It started as an off-the-beaten track, hole-in-the-wall corner unit store in Jalan Besar pre-Circuit Breaker, but has done well enough to expand to three outlets, with the other two being at Faber Drive and Mohamed Sultan (this one’s a shared concept space with GLASS Roasters, Brick and P. is for pizza). What it’s known for: creative small batch concoctions using fresh fruits with ingredients sourced locally and organically where possible.
There enough novel flavours to satisfy the open-minded. You can peruse through the ones on its site since its fresh stock is updated daily at 11 a.m., with the ones that are popularly sold in pints (from $18) being Piemonte Roasted Hazelnut & Milk Shavings, Yamanashi Peach & Lemongrass, Bronte Pistachio & Himalayan Pink Salt and Columbian Cold Brew & Cookie Butter Bits. If you are buying straight from the shop, you might want to try the Sakura Smoke, Artichoke & Pear Compote (nutty with a smoky after taste), Navel Orange & White Chrysanthemum Flower (subtly sweet with a hint of zest) and Watermelon, Mint & Chia Seeds (refreshing and minty), with a scoop going for $5 and up (depending on the flavour). And, if these are available for takeaway, pay just a tad more to have them either in a Jumbo Lavender Cone that comes with actual lavender petal bits embedded, or served atop crispy and chewy Fresh Tokyo Mochi Waffles – both are totes worth it.
Featured image: Apiary Facebook