NYP team showcases ice cream for diabetics at international contest

Diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 10, Miss Hong Kar Yiu, 22, had long forgotten the taste of ice-cream.

But she finally had the chance to taste it again for her final-year project as a Food Science and Nutrition student at Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP).

Last year, she decided to create an ice-cream that would be suitable for diabetics.

Her pumpkin-flavoured ice-cream, together with other flavours created by her coursemate, Mr Tommy Leung, and a team of staff members from the school of Chemical and Life Sciences, took part in World Dairy Innovation Awards in Istanbul, Turkey, this year.


The awards saw close to 160 entries from 30 countries in 17 categories, and NYP was the only education institution alongside a pool of international F&B giants such as Meiji and PepsiCo.

Miss Hong chose pumpkin, which is suitable for diabetics, and Mr Leung, 21, choose beetroot, a vegetable also known for its health benefits.

He said he wanted to create something not available in the market and added that the root has a host of health benefits such as being rich in anti-oxidants.

The third flavour is healthy, but just as eyebrow-raising: bittergourd.

The three flavours, with colours modelled after the colours of traffic lights, were packaged as the "Traffic Jam Ice Cream"

It was a finalist in the Best Ice Cream category. This is the fifth year that NYP is participating in the competition.

Ms Lina Tan, senior lecturer of Food Science and Nutrition course at NYP, was part of the team that created the bittergourd flavoured ice-cream.

She said: "At the first trial, the taste of the bittergourd ice-cream was terrible. It was bitter, tart and the colour was too pale. It was really not appetising."

All three ice-cream flavours have since been served at several school events and at the school's restaurant, L'Rez.

Mr Richard Khaw, assistant director of Food and Pharmaceutical Sciences at NYP, said: "Most people are sceptical at first. But they are always surprised after they taste them."

Reporter's taste test

I usually avoid these exotic veggies at all cost and I did this taste test with the mindset of a Fear Factor contestant. Here is my verdict:


I could be fooled into thinking it is raspberry ice-cream because of its colour and texture. It has a strong, earthy flavour and is an acquired taste.


It is the most popular flavour among the three, probably because pumpkin pastries are common. There were nuts added, which was a nice touch to the slightly cloying combination of pumpkin and milk.


Most people would be resistant to the flavour but it's my favourite. The milk masks the harsh taste of the gourd and the bitter tang was a delightful surprise.


This article was first published on July 23, 2014.
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