New Recipe: Licky Chan: not your typical ice cream parlour

The founders of Licky Chan. (Licky Chan pic)

From the team that brought us Chocha Foodstore and Joloko, Rick Joore, Kit Yin Chan, Shin Chang and Penny Ng have teamed up to reanimate the childhood memory of visiting an ice cream parlour.

Their latest venture is all in the details, from the interior, music and play of colour down to even the texture of the bench, everything is designed to bring you the ultimate experience.

“It was just something for all of us to look forward to doing, in terms of creativity during the pandemic. It was quite nice to have an opportunity to work on something again together.

“It was also thinking about a nice concept that could cheer people up at a time like this.”

In this article, Kit (Marketing Director) and Shin (architect, co-founder of MentahMatter Designs) share about their latest venture and how Licky Chan is not your typical ice cream place.

The drool-worthy ice creams at Licky Chan are impossible to resist. (Licky Chan pic)

What is the story behind Licky Chan?

This project is quite dear to me and to all of us – Rick, Shin, Penny, our chefs and the operations team.

Initially, we had a completely different concept in mind for the space because of the pandemic. Chef Brian brought the idea to us about opening a tattoo studio and we had a lightbulb moment where we thought, “Hell yeah, tattoos and ice cream!”

And the name. So, my partner’s name is Rick, my surname is Chan. It’s been a running joke that he will take my family name and my parents call him Ricky Chan.

A friend of ours was teaching him how to write his name in Chinese and you know how the Chinese pronounce Rick as “Lick”, that’s how it came about!

What about the idea and concept?

We want to break the conventions of a typical visit to an ice cream parlour. At Licky Chan, you can get your ice cream, a glass of wine if you want, and get a tattoo by-the-way.

We want everyone to get excited to explore the space, very much the same joy as you would experience as a child.

Who are the suppliers and partners?

Nomad Farm in Pahang for their milk and skyr, one of the few in Malaysia who rear grass-fed cows. Milk is squeezed fresh and sent straight to Licky Chan’s kitchen.

Fictionist Studio for conceptualising the design and brand identity of Licky Chan.

What is the experience you want guests to have when they step inside?

We want them to re-imagine a visit to the ice cream parlour. The vision for this space is playing with geometry and bold colours. Inspired by renowned Mexican architect, Luis Barragán, his work emphasises colour, light, shadow, geometric form and texture.

This space plays with geometry and bold colours. (Licky Chan pic)

Step inside and experience the old shophouse’s original structure which we maintained, and constructed different playground-like spaces – like the bench area where anyone can draw on, the colourful ball pit, and the outdoor brick area that is all about playing with elevation with a playground element.

The music is a tribute to the late 80s and 90s specially curated for the babies born of the same year (we are) with a modern element injected into it.

What have you learned about the ice cream business?

This concept is completely new for all of us. None of us has experience making or selling ice cream. We found out we were lactose-intolerant, which is why we made a lot of vegan and lactose-free options.

The most challenging recipe was the Pina Colada with Bacardi soft serve because a lot of the ingredients that we use are fresh daily.

In the beginning, the mixture kept going wrong, the coconut tasted off. Kavee, who used to be our head bartender at Joloko, worked it out by himself after several weeks on it.

Licky Chan offers 18 tantalising ice cream flavours. (Licky Chan pic)

We have 18 rotating flavours to date. We realised that a couple of flavours, through trial and error, change when you store it at different temperatures especially when you use fresh ingredients.

It was really interesting, the R&D process. Minor things that you don’t think about completely shifts the flavour profile. Like curry leaves and avocado.

The desserts at Licky Chan are to die-for. (Licky Chan pic)

Our cones and fortune cookies are hand-rolled here every day and boy, are they hot!

We wanted to create an interesting cone, with poppy seeds and it tasted toasty too. It’s vegan-friendly, does not contain nuts, and celiac-friendly as well.

Our ice creams are nicknamed ‘cone-tails’ to represent the way we dreamt up flavours from a bartender’s perspective.

What operational challenges are there running a restaurant in an old building?

The power isn’t so great here, very much like any other old shophouse. We had a power trip once, so we had to close.

The very first day we opened for business, the chiller door fell open (it was from a previous ice cream shop that closed down and we managed to get their equipment from them), very much like how an F&B business runs, there were just a lot of things that we didn’t anticipate until we started operations. And now, things are getting better.

What is your favourite thing about Licky Chan?

Shin: Eating ice cream! And how people interact with the space.

Kit: Eating ice cream and being able to drink wine at the same time. We are extremely happy with the work everyone’s put into it and just seeing it come to life. Everyone having a good time is good for us!

Licky Chan
24, Jalan Yap Ah Shak
Chow Kit
50300 Kuala Lumpur

Tel: 03-2694 1100

Business hours:
Tuesday-Sunday: Midday to midnight
Monday: Closed

Public Holidays: Always open

This article first appeared on Set the Tables.

Set the Tables is positioned to inspire and educate those already in the industry as much as the aspiring reader who dreams of a future in the food business, and maybe even the merely curious tantalised by the vast and irresistible universe of food and drink.

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