Sugar, spice and everything nice? I try Swensen's new Mala 'Fried Chicken' ice cream

Sugar, spice and everything nice? I try Swensen's new Mala 'Fried Chicken' ice cream
PHOTO: AsiaOne/Amierul Rashid

When it comes to providing a variety of ice cream flavours, Swensen's has got your back.

Just have a look at its brand-new international buffet at Changi Airport Terminal 2, which offers 48 flavours at any one time.

One thing I can assure you is that they were not serving mala-inspired ice cream there.

On Thursday (March 28), Swensen's will release a sweet treat that isn't made for the faint of heart—Mala Fried Chicken Ice Cream.

Fans of the brand may be aware that coming up with funky desserts isn't new to the restaurant chain.

In September 2021, they created the Fried Chicken Ice Cream, and the Nugget Ice Cream arrived not long after.

The question now is: How would Swensen's blend together the spicy-sweet elements of their latest dessert?

Fried chicken for dessert

At first glance, you could fool almost anyone that this was an actual fried chicken drumstick.

Swensen's uses cornflakes to resemble the crispy chicken skin, which encases the vanilla ice cream inside.

Mala-spiced powder is then sprinkled onto the "drumstick", in order to recreate that mala-numbing sensation so many of us crave.

This fried chicken drumstick even has an edible bone centre, in the form of a cookie.

According to Swensen's, this cookie is the "perfect contrast" that'll help us with the spiciness from the mala coating.

You'll get two pieces of Mala Fried Chicken Ice Cream in a pint for $12.90, while a box of eight will cost $47.

Lip-numbing experience

As I opened the box of "fried chicken drumsticks", I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.

"There's no way this is a dessert," I thought to myself.

Because it really did look like an actual order of fried chicken drumsticks.

So appearance-wise, it's a clear win for Swensen's. But as I took my first bite, that's when things began to spiral downhill.

Before you throw your pitchforks at me, let me mention that I am a massive fan of mala and ice cream—separately.

But today, I found out that having them as a flavour combination takes some getting used to.

What hits you first is the mala seasoning.

There's no denying that the numbing sensation was present, but thankfully, the spice level wasn't particularly intolerable.

As my lips began to get used to the mala tingle, it came into contact with the vanilla ice cream.

On its own, Swensen's vanilla ice cream tastes great—sweet, smooth and creamy. No issues there.

But when paired with the mala-spiced powder, I couldn't quite get myself to fully enjoy the dessert.

This was a classic sweet-salty combo, and we've seen it work before.

Just think dark chocolate with a dash of sea salt, sweet and salty popcorn at the movies, the list goes on.

I couldn't understand why mala and vanilla ice cream didn't work for me as a flavour-duo so I headed around the office for a second opinion.

Maybe it's just preference

"Yeah, nope." 

That was the simple one-sentence review from a colleague who clearly did not enjoy his single bite of this new dessert.

Phew, so it wasn't just me who didn't quite fancy it.

To my surprise, there were others in the office who tried it for themselves and felt that it actually "isn't too bad", likening it to prawn rolls, often served during festive seasons, or cereal prawn.

Some were nodding away as they enjoyed a few bites of the dessert.

Maybe it's just a matter of food preferences.

While I admit that I'm not the biggest fan of the Mala Fried Chicken Ice Cream, I can understand that it makes for a unique flavour combination and others might love it.

The item isn't exorbitantly priced either, so if you're curious to find out and up for a bit of fun, why not?

You could discover a brand-new dessert that's to your liking.

And if you're not vibing with the mala flavours, there's some quality "chicken flesh" waiting for you after you get past all that "chicken skin".

Swensen's Mala Fried Chicken Ice Cream is available for purchase for a limited time only, from Swensen's and Earle Swensen's stores island-wide and for delivery.

ALSO READ: I tried KFC's first-ever halal chicken bak kwa, and here's my honest review

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