Inside Scoop On S’pore’s OG Local Ice Cream Parlour

Most Singaporeans have fond memories of Island Creamery.

Many hours were spent in the chain’s former Serene Center store after school, where students from nearby educational institutes congregated.

When Island Creamery announced it was moving its Serene Center store in 2018, it sparked an uproar, with many netizens calling it the “end of an era.”

The ice cream maker also called on customers to collect their photos from the store’s famous photo wall.

The “thousands of photos” hanging on the wall had served as testimony to the number of people who had walked through its doors and enjoyed its ice cream.

The man behind the ice

The self-proclaimed “ice cream maker” behind the brand is Stanley Kwok, who founded the chain in 2003, almost 18 years ago.

In an interview with Vulcan Post, he shared that he attended college in California and always enjoyed his visits to the local glacier.

The entrepreneur has diverse experience in various industries and has specialized in shipping, consumer goods and industrial equipment to name a few.

He has also been involved with a number of startups, so starting his own business “came naturally” to him. During a work stoppage, he had the idea of ​​creating his own ice cream shop in Singapore.

“There weren’t any premium, artisanal ice cream makers back then that featured local flavors,” he explained.

Stanley now runs Island Creamery with his son and COO David Kwok, who represents the second generation of the family business.

While David manages the operational side of the café, Stanley takes care of the ice cream production.

Pioneering artisanal ice cream with unique Singaporean flavors

ice cream shop on the island
Image Credit: Daniel Food Diary

Stanley’s goal for Island Creamery is “to establish a brand with local flavors”, and therefore the team’s effort has always been geared towards incorporating Singaporean flavors into their ice cream.

“We’re very lucky here in Singapore where the variety of local desserts is very diverse, from Chinese to Malay to Indian and some fusion too,” Stanley said.

In another interview with The Urban Wire, Stanley said some Island Creamery customers were “surprised by the proximity [the local ice cream flavours] tasted compared to the original ”.

Indeed, the glacier has made a name for itself as a producer of unique and locally inspired ice cream flavors, and some of the brand’s flavors have become rather iconic.

Its characteristic flavors include Teh Tarik, a version of the ‘shredded’ milk tea drink found throughout Singapore, and Pulut Hitam, a traditional sticky rice dessert.

Other notable flavors such as Tiger Sorbet, Pineapple Tart, and Horlicks, all of which make for a very typical Singaporean experience.

In fact, Island Creamery owns the “Teh Tarik” and “Singapore Sling” brands in the frozen dessert category.

Every morning, Island Creamery produces its own freshly made ice cream on its premises, using quality ingredients and ancestral methods.

Some of the ice cream ingredients are also prepared on site. For example, to reproduce the flavor of Teh TarikIsland Creamery is not based on tea powder.

Instead, the tea is personally steeped to extract the rich flavors.

mudpie creamery island
Island Creamery Mudpie / Image Credit: Miss Tam Chiak

Along with its signature ice cream, Island Creamery also serves a delectable selection of other sweet treats.

These include the indulgent Mudpie, Baked Alaska, and classics like brownies and apple pie.

Evolve over time

island creamery holland village closed
Former Holland Village outlet of Island Creamery (now closed) / Image credit: Daniel Food Diary

Despite its success, Island Creamery has been inevitably affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The brand had to adapt quickly to the changing business environment and closed some of its stores.

According to HungryGoWhere, the chain previously had at least eight outlets across the island, ranging from more central locations like Great World City to Katong in the east.

There are now two stores left in Singapore: a flagship store in King’s Arcade and a store in ION Orchard.

According to Stanley, Island Creamery also had a multi-store franchise operation in Indonesia for “a number of years,” which unfortunately closed due to the pandemic.

Despite these developments, the father and son duo are still optimistic about the future of the brand.

“Covid-19 has allowed us to turn to new ways of doing business, such as online deliveries and sales,” Stanley said.

As the family business gradually moves into its second generation, fans of the brand can expect a greater emphasis on online presence and distribution.

Despite stiff competition from other trendy ice cream shops popping up across the island, Island Creamery has managed to build up a fan base over the past two decades.

“We have established a legacy brand that is well recognized,” Stanley said.

Featured Image Credit: Island Creamery and SilverKris

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Jothi Venkat

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