Ice Cream Uncle Hot
Originally going around neighbourhoods in his motorcar to sell ice cream, the ice cream uncle has evolved today to setting up shop at strategic stationary positions around Singapore. Prices have still remained low at $1 although some uncles have raised their prices to $1.50. The Ice cream is from magnolia and can be eaten with rainbow-colored bread or in a wafer or cup.
Some popular central spots where you can find ice cream uncle:
- Outside Esplanade along the river near the bridge to Merlion Park.
- Clarke Quay - Along the main bridge to Jumbo in the centre of the drinking area
- Clarke Quay 2 - On the bridge outside Asian Civilization Musuem
- Orchard Road - This varies a lot but usually around Takashimaya
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Everyone’s best friend
The ice cream uncle is the highlight of everyone’s childhood - the melodious chimes which announces his arrival attract all children like how fruit flies swarm to feast on a banana. He is part of my adulthood, too. The legacy of the ice cream uncles thrive till today and some places where they can be found are Orchard Road, Bugis Village, Marine Parade and near schools such as Cedar Girls Secondary School.
Flavours offered include the classic Vanilla, Chocolate, Chocolate chip as well as unorthodox flavours such as sweet corn and sweet potato. Ice Cream fanatics also have to choice of waffle, bread or simply having their ice cream in a cup. Ahh, this is definitely uniquely Singapore.
However, while the ice creams are sold at a fixed price of $1 in the past, some uncles located at populous areas such as Orchard Road charge a higher price of $1.50 now. Moreover, with more avant garde ways of eating ice cream today such as Hvala Waffle ice cream, the ice cream uncles may be slowly and dangerously losing their appeal.
Dear Ice Cream Uncle,
What's not to like about the Ice Cream Uncle? He sets up his motorcar under the scorching sun to sell you cheap and delicious ice cream. To me, they are a part of the Singaporean identity and should be highly appreciated. I was glad to notice that they were featured during the SG50 campaign.
You can find them at most of hotspots in Singapore, namely, Orchard Road, Esplanade and Clarke Quay. Most of the ice creams offered are from Magnolia with a variety of flavours. For example, durian, jagung, red bean and many others. You can have them either with wafer or bread. Most people are not aware of the attap chee (palm fruit) flavour which I highly recommend. I was only introduced to it this year. From then, I only order that from the ice cream uncle. It is unlike anything I have ever tasted before (does not taste like attap chee although it has bits of attap chee within the ice cream), however it is extremely refreshing and has a perfect balance of sweetness.
If you see an ice cream uncle, support him! Be a part of Team Ice Cream Uncle.
For the Young and Old
If you offered this to a tourist, they would be absolutely puzzled by this weird combination. A block of ice cream sandwiched between a piece of multi-coloured bread is the perfect treat on a hot day, or any day for that matter. Who doesn't love ice cream? Especially when cost slightly over a buck!
With local flavours like attap chee, durian and your staple chocolate chip, raspberry ripple to choose from, these ice cream delights have become iconic must-try for the young and old in Singapore.
My personal favourite is the sweet corn. I just love the creamy texture coupled with the chunky crunch of corn. There used to be an ice cream uncle stationed right outside my school gate and I'm quite proud to say that I gave him a lot of business during my primary school days!
"The ice-cream with bread...?" I had thought this was only recognized and well-liked by Singaporeans who grew up eating these ice-cream sandwiches, so I was genuinely surprised when foreigners I met overseas mentioned it to me as a Singapore specialty they have heard of and would love to try it someday.
These ice-cream stalls may pale in comparison to pretty cafes, and their limited, never-changing flavors may seem more boring than to that of gelati, but we ALL know how good they are. Mint chocolate chip is my personal favorite, and its mint green color goes so well with the multicolored bread that it makes me happy just by looking at it. No idea how this 'bread + ice-cream' combination came about but who knew something as ordinary as bread would taste this awesome with ice-cream!?
Miss the days when it only costed 80 cents to a dollar for one, but even till today, it's still an irresistible snack to have when walking along Orchard Road on a hot day. Kudos to these ice-cream uncles who work hard to make these old school ice-cream sandwiches available after all these years!
Nostalgia at its best
I LOVE the ice-cream sold by the ice-cream uncles. Even though famous ice-cream parlours like Ben & Jerry's and Cold Stone Creamery boast of quality ice-cream, I still our local version.
I remember buying lots of these ice-cream outside my primary school, and it was such a huge treat for us at that point of time. It was so nostalgic. Nowadays, I still buy ice-cream regularly from the ice-cream uncle near my house. For better deals, you can try to buy more ice-cream at the same time, and the uncle might give you a discount. My favourite flavours are chocolate mint and strawberry, as these flavours are so classic, tasty and so irreplaceable.
The ice-cream uncle is probably an icon unique to Singapore, and I hope it'll stay on for a long time, providing cheap and delicious ice-cream for all of us.
The good ole days...
I still remember the good old days when the ice-cream uncle would stand at the car park, ringing a bell. The bell that would entrance children. They would beg their parents for some money, then run over to the uncle and purchase either a cone, wafer or bread, which was filled with an ice-cream flavour of choice. They would then gobbled up the ice-cream as fast as possible, before it became a sticky gooey mess. I know this because I am one who enjoys such guilty pleasures.
The ice-cream uncle was a rather insignificant part of my childhood. I only remember faint snippets of crunching on the wafer while savouring the cool ice-cream on a hot day. Oh, how good it tasted, never mind that it wasn't Ben & Jerry's or Magnum or any branded ice-cream. Somehow, this did not matter. Childhood was so simple and blissful, when a cone of ice-cream could make one happy.
Oh, how I miss the good ole days!
Treasure them before they are gone
I used to love seeing these ice cream uncles outside my school after the school bell rang. My favorite has always been the durian or mixed with cone. Somehow, buying from these uncles and eating the ice cream with the rainbow bread feels so heart-warming.
Sometimes it’s quite a messy sight with the ice cream melting. Other times, the whole ice cream would even drop down from the cone. But despite all that, I still love buying from these ice cream uncles as it’s so uniquely Singapore. And when the uncles are all so friendly, the taste doesn’t really matter anymore.
Sad to say, these sights are getting rarer with the increasing competition from cafes and other major ice cream retailers. So, do treasure them before they are gone.
Still the best
Don't be deceived by the shady appearance in relation to Cold Stone, Ben and Jerry's, and Seven heaven. This old uncles got really traditional and yummy ice cream that hits home! The operational push carts used to span all across Singapore but now I only see them in Orchard road and Chinatown. Fortunately the prices at town are still kept at $1, so kudos to cheap thrills to counter our sweltering weather.
As for the flavour I would get all Atap seed. Other flavours don't even get a chance for a mix. The atap seed is so good with bits of the fruit inside so it isn't totally creamy. And by far I couldn't find any other stalls carrying them. So go Atap if you happen to see one of those uncles!
Old school never dies
These ice cream uncles are dwindling, but I still love them. They kind of symbolise childhood, and like I said, old school stuff can never die.
My absolute favourite is ice cream in a bread. Honestly, I would have this ice cream over any other highly commercialised ice cream out there. They make me happy, and they make me nostalgic.
My only lament is that it's difficult to find them nowadays. They only appear in crowded places and prices have hiked up considerably as compared to past $1 days. The ice cream uncles that sell in crowded places usually don't serve good quality ice cream as well. It's just different, and it's not as good as before.
That said, I really do hope that the tradition of selling ice cream from bicycle carts will live on forever.
I have always preferred buying ice cream from these ice cream uncles to those packaged ice cream found in supermarkets.
Without fail, the ice cream uncle will definitely ride his motorbike with an ice cream cart besides it to my estate. He uses an old bell and rings it to notify the residents his arrival. I would always get changed and rushed down to get my favorite Chocolate mint ice cream with 2 side waffle biscuits at a rather cheap price, as compared to the coned ones sold in supermarkets.
Apart from the price and my own preference, one of the more important reason that makes me prefer buying from ice cream uncles is the fact that it allows me to relive and recall back those primary school days when every school mate would rush to the back gate and get an ice cream each before they made their way back home.
I hope these ice cream carts will go on. I really wouldn't want to witness the closure of such a convenient and unique operation of selling ice creams in Singapore.