Ais-krim Potong or ‘cut’ ice-cream (potong means cut in Malay) is a dessert unique to Malaysia and Singapore. As early as the 60s, they were a popular and inexpensive treat – usually made with local flavours such as red bean, durian, sweet corn and yam.
The name is derived from the technique used to make it. Before high-tech machines came, small businesses would make these by laying them out on a flat tray, pushing wooden sticks into the mix and then cutting them up – hence the square shape.
Today, the potong is still popular and has a lot of sentimental value, especially for people my age and those who grew up with it. Tapping on to this, Nestle has launched two new flavours to reflect our Malaysian heritage: the Sirap Bandung and Coconut Gula Melaka, to complement its existing Red Bean flavour. Just in time to get into the Raya mood!
They gave it a modern twist with a roundish shape, as it is easier to eat. Got to try the Coconut Gula Melaka one during the launch…and it was good! Some potong ice-creams tend to have a higher ice-to-flavour ratio, but this was rich and creamy, infused with a strong taste of sweet, caramel-ly palm sugar and coconut. Could easily pop a few in one go.
The launch was held at Kompleks Kraf in KL. True to its ‘traditional’ theme, the event space had been transformed into a village-like setting, with booths where guests could play games like Congkak, Batu Seremban and have their caricatures done.
Adding to the feel was staff members and business associates, who came dressed in traditional wear.
Guests playing Congkak. In the Philippines, they call it Sungka. They pretty much share the same rules – get the most marbles (or stones, or whatever small items available) into your ‘homebase’ (the two big holes at the ends) as possible. To do this, one has to plan and strategise. Players pass by each hole by putting one marble in it, so one has to play smart in order to beat the opponent.
Other guests reliving their Batu Seremban game days. Batu Seremban or ‘five stones’ is a traditional Malay game that hones deft hands: you have to throw them into the air and catch them before they fall onto the table, or pick them up while still holding other ‘stones’. The game gets progressively harder, and is good for honing hand-eye coordination. The stones are usually small bean bags with rice in them. Back when we were kids, my mum would help me sew them using cloth scraps.
They also invited artist Vivian Lees, who is famous for her coffee art, to do caricatures for guests.
H and I got our caricatures done… I think they look pretty accurate! :)
Bumped into Kel at the event. The last time around I also bumped into her at the launching of Nestle’s Caffe Caramel. As she puts it: “I seem to keep bumping into you at ice-cream events!” Credits to CH for the great photo!
The Tradisi Potong is available at hypermarkets and stores nationwide, retailing at RM7.90 for 8 sticks in three flavours – Red Bean, Coconut Gula Melaka and Sirap Bandung.