5 nostalgic childhood treats from around the world


  • Food News
  • Saturday, 12 Nov 2016

Milo is the undisputed beverage of choice among Singaporean children, but Milo Dinosaur takes it up a notch. Photo: The Integer Club at FlickrCC

Online shop ShopAlike made a project of finding out what are children’s favourite treats around the world. Here are five stories shared by their international team in 27 countries.

There’s nothing like an ice cream sandwich

Roti aiskrim, Malaysia

“It was not love at first sight. I’d always wondered what was so amazing about having scoops of ice-cream served between a bun. One weekend, however, my family and I took a day trip to a waterfall and up drove a ‘motorcycle ice-cream man’. After years of skepticism about this snack, I finally gave it a go. Turns out I’d been wrong about it all this while! Under the hot Malaysian sun, melted ice cream on a soggy bun brought a much-needed respite. Since then, I’ve made up for my years of ignorance by having it every time a ‘motorcycle ice cream man’ passes by.” – Johana

In housing estates, ice-cream vendors zoom around on a motorcycle with a bell that he rings to call out to children. Attached to his motorcycle is a big tin that stores the ice- cream. Strangely enough, the tin manages to keep the ice-cream well even in the tropical climate.

It’s raining chocolate!

Hagelslag, Netherlands

Dutch children love to pile their bread with hagelslag (chocolate sprinkles). Photo: Troy Tolley at FlickrCC
Dutch children love to pile their bread with hagelslag (chocolate sprinkles). Photo: Troy Tolley at FlickrCC

“Hagelslag (chocolate sprinkles) are probably the most evil thing for Dutch parents. Every day, my brother and I would beg for them on our bread, which we got, but not before being forced to eat at least one slice with a ‘boring’ savoury topping. This often resulted in drama at home, of course. The producer of hagelslag then added Funnies (little white chocolate shapes) to the sprinkles and the goal was to have as many of them as possible on your bread. We ended up eating our bread with a mountain of sprinkles, which annoyed my mum so she put the entire package in a Tupperware and gave us only one Funnie for each slice. Breakfast wasn’t the same after...” – Megan

Over 750,000 slices of buttered bread topped with chocolate sprinkles are eaten in the Netherlands daily. Venz, the country’s first producer of chocolate hagelslag, introduced Funnies in 1997 and they have appeared twice a year in their boxes since then.

An epic treat of t-rex proportions

Milo Dinosaur, Singapore

Milo is the undisputed beverage of choice among Singaporean children, but Milo Dinosaur takes it up a notch. Photo: The Integer Club at FlickrCC
Milo is the undisputed beverage of choice among Singaporean children, but Milo Dinosaur takes it up a notch. Photo: The Integer Club at FlickrCC

“Milo is the undisputed beverage of choice among Singaporean kids, but this one takes it up a notch with a heap of undissolved Milo powder sitting on top. Sweaty afternoons playing outdoors typically ended with a race to a drinks stall for a dose of this cold, sweet treat. We often wound up sipping too hard through the straw, which tickled our throats as the powder went down.” – Pin-Ji

Milo Dinosaur is featured in the Singaporean edition of the popular card game Taboo, alluding to its popularity in the local pop culture. If this drink already sounds decadent to you, wait till you hear about Milo Godzilla, which is Milo Dinosaur with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

Simply egg-cellent

Egg cakes, Taiwan

You can choose to have these Taiwanese egg cakes with chocolate or peanut fillings, though most locals believe that the plain ones are best. Photo: Tzuhsun Hsu at FlickrCC
You can choose to have these Taiwanese egg cakes with chocolate or peanut fillings, though most locals believe that the plain ones are best. Photo: Tzuhsun Hsu at FlickrCC

“My family and I used to live right across the street from a small vegetable market, which had a street food stall which sold egg cakes. As a three year old, this treat was one of the first food experiences outside of home that I had. More than its taste, it was the process of making egg cakes that got me excited to visit the market with mum. I really enjoyed watching it all – from melting the butter on a hot iron skillet to the formation of a dark, crispy crust on what had simply been cake batter a few minutes ago.” – Veela

Wander the night markets of Taiwan and you’ll find yourself drawn to the fragrance of these animal- or egg-shaped waffles wafting in the air. With eggs, flour and sugar as its main ingredients, they contain no meat by-products and are therefore vegetarian-friendly. You can choose to have them with chocolate or peanut fillings, though most locals believe that the plain ones are best. – ShopAlike

If mum only knew...

Screwball ice-cream, Britain

Part of the fun of eating Screwball is not knowing what flavour the bubblegum balls inside were, until one reached the bottom of the cone. Photo: ShopAlike
Part of the fun of eating Screwball is not knowing what flavour the bubblegum balls inside were, until one reached the bottom of the cone. Photo: ShopAlike

“My mum was firmly against me and my siblings eating gum, so we would look sadly upon the little packets at the corner shop, knowing they could never be ours. However, there was one cunning way to get around this very unreasonable family law: Screwballs! This was raspberry ripple ice cream in a plastic cone, with two spherical bubblegum balls at the bottom. Take that, mum! Uncovering them was always a little disappointing, though. The gum would be frozen solid enough to break a tooth, and by the time it had thawed out a bit, its bubble-blowing capacity was reduced to zero. Nevertheless, the humble Screwball was my route to rebellion, aged seven.” – Ros

Screwballs first appeared in the 70s and part of the fun of eating them was in not knowing what flavour the bubblegum balls were, until one had reached the bottom of the cone. Getting there involved digging out the ice cream from the plastic cones with tiny plastic or wooden spoons.

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