Childhood frozen treats get a groovy makeover

Two of our favourite childhood iced treats have been given a stylish makeover by these cool local brands.

1. The Sng Bao Society
1. The Sng Bao Society
08 Jun 2015

1. The Sng Bao Society

FOR ORDERS, CALL 9855-8970 OR E-MAIL THENEUESOCIETY@GMAIL.COM. WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/THESNGBAOSOCIETY

Remember the humble 10-cent plastic-covered flavoured ice stick that you break in half to share with your childhood friend after playing catching? The Sng Bao Society (sng bao means ‘ice packs’ in Hokkien) is the grown-up version, complete with a hipster name and logo.

1. The Sng Bao Society
1. The Sng Bao Society
08 Jun 2015

1. The Sng Bao Society

The brand was set up last year by a pair of friends, Pang Chew Ting (left in pic) and Kaylie See Toh, both 26. “We were from neighbourhood schools and used to buy sng baos from the market,” says Kaylie. “Now we want to [sell them to] adults by amp-ing them up with alcohol. It’s a conversation starter!”.

By day, Chew Ting is an agency development manager for an insurance company while Kaylie is a pharmaceutical sales rep. The girls make the sng baos themselves after work in various commercial kitchens. The sticks — made to order — are then frozen and stored in a specially-ordered freezer in Chew Ting’s home. They each invested “about $1,000” into buying the freezer and ingredients.

The sng baos are currently sold via their Facebook page and pop-up markets. While they have no plans for a physical store, they are currently in discussion with clubs and cafes to stock the ice sticks. There are 10 flavours in all; five alcoholic ($5 each) and five non-alcoholic ($3 each). Each stick is about 18cm-long.
 

The 'Sng Baos'
The 'Sng Baos'
08 Jun 2015

The 'Sng Baos'

1. Watermelon Soju $5
If you’re a fan of Chicken Up’s soju-filled watermelon, this should appeal to you. Each alcoholic sng bao contains a shot glass-full of booze, and this one’s loaded with blended fresh watermelon and Korean soju “from the supermarket”. Refreshing, though this recipe could benefit from more sugar… and a bit more soju. The packets are tied with black rubber hair ties (none of those cheap red wet market bands) which we struggled to open thanks to slippery condensation. Just cut it open. But the plastic used is of good quality, which makes the icy sng baos easy to chow down.

2. Baileys Green Tea $5
This unusual combo came about when Chew Ting “went to a club and the bartender suggested it”. Sweet Pokka green tea is mixed with Baileys Irish Cream. The milky concoction was rich and yum, but we couldn’t taste the green tea in this. Best enjoyed when it has melted off slightly — then you can pour some of the tasty liquid down your gob like a shot.

3. Lim-O-Gini $5
We sucked on this after a cycling trip on a hot day, and the zesty lime cordial lightly spiked with Bombay Sapphire gin was wonderful on our parched throats. No, we didn’t feel woozy after one.

4. Thai Milk Tea $3
The owners, who frequent Bangkok “for work and holidays”, often lug back Thai tea from the city, which they mix with condensed milk for this flavour. Pretty robust, and works well as an ice lolly. Great after a spicy meal.

BOTTOM LINE: We love the nostalgia of crunching on these tasty ice pops, especially in this hot weather, though we wish the slightly pricey alcoholic ones were more generously spiked.

2. Neh Neh Pop
2. Neh Neh Pop
08 Jun 2015

2. Neh Neh Pop

161 MIDDLE RD, S188978. TEL: 6336-6949.
OPEN DAILY EXCEPT MON. WEEKDAYS 3PM-10.30PM; SAT 11.30AM-3PM & 6.30PM-10.30PM; SUN 11.30AM-3PM. LAST ORDERS AT CLOSING. NEH NEH POP's FACEBOOK

“I wanted it to have a dirty name,” cackles Bjorn Shen, 32. The animated owner of popular mod Middle-Eastern restaurant Artichoke is of course referring to Neh Neh Pop, his fortnight-old ice creamsicle (a popsicle containing cream) brand with a punny moniker that sounds like Hokkien slang for breasts. 

2. Neh Neh Pop
2. Neh Neh Pop
08 Jun 2015

2. Neh Neh Pop

Named for its rich milkiness, this “fat kid food” is “a cross between Magnum bars and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream”. They are sold from a retro stand beside Artichoke’s entrance, formerly occupied by the restaurant’s now-defunct sister bakery, Overdoughs. “To be honest, Overdoughs wasn’t enjoying astronomical success, and I wanted to give my other brands a chance,” Bjorn shares.

Neh Neh Pop was created out of his desire to “make food that makes people happy and serve them something refreshing while they wait for a table at Artichoke”. While customers can enjoy their creamsicles in the restaurant, the pops are not on the menu. “I want people to stand up and choose their own ice cream from the stand,” laughs Bjorn.

The creamsicles are currently handmade in small batches of “about 100 daily” by Artichoke’s former sous chef and pastry chef, both of whom Bjorn roped in to helm the brand. By the time you read this, Bjorn would have gotten his hands on a $14,000 “ice cream machine from Italy, which will make [the creamsicles] even smoother”. It will also ramp up Neh Neh Pop’s production, though Bjorn has no plans to “grow this to factory level”.

During our visit, four flavours were available, with two more ready at press time. Other than Artichoke, the creamsicles are available at Bjorn’s pop-up Thai stall, Bird Bird, which will get its own standalone shop at the end of this year. He’s also “in talks with restaurants to create customised flavours for them”. 

The Creamsicles
The Creamsicles
08 Jun 2015

The Creamsicles

Sneekers $8 (Left in picture)
Bjorn’s ice cream version of a Snickers (which also offers ice cream) bar. We adore the salty crunch of the pretzel and toasted marshmallow bits dotting the dark chocolate coat. Beneath that: house-made peanut butter and caramel ice cream hug a strip of caramel. Not bad. Let this defrost a little before eating, as it can be a tad hard straight from the freezer.

Mango Sticky Rice $7 (Right in picture)
Thai glutinous rice is mixed with coconut milk and fresh mango chunks and churned into ice cream, before being dipped in white chocolate. It’s then sprinkled with fragrant toasted coconut flakes and rice crispies for fabulous texture. The rice and mango flavours weren’t apparent when our colleague tried it (instead, it tasted overwhelmingly of coconut milk), but fared better when we had it.

The Creamsicles
The Creamsicles
08 Jun 2015

The Creamsicles

Strawberry Pockie $7 (Left in picture)
Silky vanilla mousse ice cream within a white chocolate shell liberally showered with crushed Strawberry Pocky. Go for this if you have a very sweet tooth.

Baklava $7 (Right in picture)
For folks who prefer something less sugary, pick this sophisticated bar. Orange blossom ice cream with a citrusy hint is loaded with house-made baklava chunks from Overdoughs’ best-selling recipe, before being slathered in dark chocolate and nut dukka.

BOTTOM LINE: Fun, creative, decadent treats. As Bjorn puts it, “My food has never been restrained!” We expect the texture of the creamsicles to be even better now that he has invested in a fancy ice cream machine.

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