Tourists Love This Ice Cream Potong So Much, They're Buying Boxes Of Them Back Home!
Good ol' ice cream potong!
Malaysia is popular for its mind-blowing cuisine, and that includes all our dessert selections.
Be it a bowl of creamy cendol or sweet, cold ice kacang, you're sure to find one that you'll love.
Among this, there is one form of Malaysian "dessert" that most of us would remember from our childhood days - the ice cream potong.
It comes in all the flavours you could possibly think of - from yam, red bean, cempedak to even durian!
This version of Malaysian lollies are highly popular among locals and are usually sold in kedai runcit (sundry shops) for around RM1 to RM3 per stick.
They were all the rage back in 90s, especially among kids and the best part is that it still is! It's cheap but that doesn't compromise it's authentic Malaysian flavours, making it the best post lunch or dinner "dessert".
Despite that, with the emergence of soft serves and other fancy gelatos, ice cream potong is slowly becoming a thing of the past.
However, Sabah is quickly changing that by reintroducing the Malaysian lollies to not just locals but also tourists!
The Malay Mail Online reported yesterday, 13 November that our ice cream potong has been making its way to South East Asian countries like Taiwan, China, Hong Kong and Brunei.
According to the English daily, this started about 10 years ago. Speaking to Philip Wong, who specialises in the Chinese-speaking market, Malay Mail said that ice cream potong served as a replacement of seasonal fresh fruits for tourists looking to sample the local fruits.
"After having seafood, and some local specialties, they would ask for local fruits. But local fruits wasn’t always available... depending on the season, so they would go for the next best alternative," explained Philip, as reported Malay Mail.
Guess which flavour has the highest demand?
Wanting to try out the seasonal fruits of Malaysia like jackfruit and mango, the tourists would usually go for very localised ice cream flavours, with durian being the crowd favourite.
"Gradually, word spread... through word of mouth, on social media sites and through the tourism industry and now, almost everyone will try it when visiting Sabah."
"They like the durian flavour best. They say it tastes a lot like the actual fruit, but without the pungency. It also has bits of the real fruit in it," added Wong.
These ice cream potongs are produced by Sabah most popular confectionery company, Taluwang Sdn. Bhd.
Ice cream potong in Sabah has become so popular to the point that tourists are buying back boxes of it as souvenir
Wong said that most of the tourists that buy the ice cream potong to be brought back home are people from China and Taiwan.
"Most tourists will buy two to three boxes (of 12 pieces each) but I’ve encountered tourists who buy up to eight cartons to bring home for their friends and co-workers," said Wong.
It was also mentioned that Taluwang produces eight flavours of ice cream potong, including durian, cempedak, mango, avocado, yam, cendol, red bean and sweet corn. They are sold in styrofoam boxes which has a dozen sticks that can last for up to three hours without melting. The company also sells them in specially packed cartons that come in various sizes which can last up to seven hours.
The ice cream comes in the traditional ice cream potong colourful packaging with the added figures of people in traditional Kadazan costume dancing the Sumazau dance and the proboscis monkey which is native to Borneo.
Taluwang's general manager, Fiona Soo explained that their durian flavoured ice cream potong are so popular to the point that it accounts to 50% of their total sales
"People love it because it’s got a 20% actual fruit filling so they can taste the flavour of local durian all year round," added Soo.
Ice cream potong is usually made out of coconut milk which helps to keep the production cost low.
Meanwhile, Taluwang's kiosk manager at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport, Sebastian Chin, said to Malay Mail that they sell an average of 150 boxes (1,800 sticks) per day at the airport alone.
"The figure doubles during peak season when we sell up to 300 boxes per day. I think the food culture for Chinese and Taiwanese is a big factor also. They love to snack, and buy food for their family and friends. The ice cream potong is something different and the durian flavour is novel for them," he said.
"It’s a good souvenir for them, an alternative to local handicrafts, Sabah Tea, or other snacks," said the exclusive by Malay Mail.