Even before I began writing about this, I was scratching my head, especially after I visited the place.
Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?
In the States, everything must be catalogued and defined. Hence, we have things like soft serve, ice cream, frozen yogurt, gelato…and now we have another one, frozen custard. Despite its name, it’s not custard but rather, a clasification. The difference is in its makeup and serving. I’ll spare you the boring details: frozen custard is slotted, by the US Food and Drug Administration, between ice cream and soft serve. However, just like a black hole, frozen custard is infinitely more dense than ice cream, gelato or frozen yogurt because there’s no air or ice mixed inside. As a result, it’s thicker, creamier and smoother than anything.
Where it gets confusing, is its origin story.
It’s said that in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA, the Kohr brothers found that adding egg yolks to ice cream helped it ‘stay longer’.
Yet at Density, the frozen custard (SGD 4 per scoop, SGD 9 for 2 scoops, 2 toppings and 1 sauce) begins melting almost instantaneously. Darren engaged what must be the owner in conversation – quite an odd conversation it was, I might add. We learn that due to the nature of cold desserts, they require some form of stabilisers or else they’d melt pretty fast. The folks at Density also attemped to convince us that not only were egg yolks a natural ingredient, but that frozen custard is somehow fresher as it’s made on site.
After a bit of research, here’s what I found:
Frozen custard is more popular than you think. While American-based brands and companies that do business in America are subject to US FDA regulations, the rest of the world isn’t. They are in fact, known as French ice cream globally, and these are well received for their ironically, “custardy” texture. And while some places promote their French roots, such as the Vietnamese French ice cream parlor, Fanny at East Coast Road, the rest are a bit more unclear.
Being made fresh on-site has absolutely no effect on how healthy a dessert is. The truth is, frozen custard is higher in fat content and calories than frozen yogurt, sortbet, sherbet and gelato. If they try to convince you otherwise, then by US FDA regulations, they are not a frozen custard parlor.
Density Frozen Custard is located beside the famous Rochor Beancurd along Short Street. Compared to its local neighbor, it has an industrial chic vibe that’s great for hangouts and gatherings. When we were there, there were 3 flavors available: vanilla, red velvet and dark chocolate. It’s a thing…frozen custard shops in US also sell 3 flavors at any one time, apparently. I got myself the sundae, and tried to make it as close as possible to the classic American dessert that’s served on all American Airlines’ international First Class flights.
To be honest, this melted wayyy too fast for me. I get the “freshness” gimmick, but the thing is, when it comes to dessert, you want to take it nice and easy…spoon by spoon at your own leisure. No, here, the dessert was demanding to be completed ASAP. Sure, the frozen custard was ‘denser’, smoother and creamier, much like Swensen’s ice cream or those Magnum bars, but no, I don’t like the commitment to eat it as fast as I can.