#59 Monthsary: Ice Kacang Girl

“We’re colourful like the ice kacang.”
Yan Tan
“You can’t buy happiness… But you can buy ice cream ice kacang and that is pretty much the same thing.”
“You make me melt like ice kacang.”
Celeste Koh


Some time last month, just before I left for my trip to Penang on my birthday week, I had a 3-day ad-hoc job working at an engineering company to update software for about 1000+ pieces of their microSD cards manually one by one from 9am to 6pm each day. It was a pretty brainless, mundane, repetitive kind of task. On the third day, while getting the hang of the process and my hands became more automatic, my mind wandered off and I started thinking about what to do for my next monthsary artwork.

That was when this ice kacang idea came to my mind. Ice kacang is our local Singaporean shaved ice dessert with ingredients like red beans and grass jelly hidden at the bottom of the hill of shaved ice showered with colourful syrups and evaporated milk. I remember my family used to have ice kacang often for dessert when I was a kid to beat the hot weather in Singapore. We seldom have it now ever since the even fancier Korean version of a similar shaved ice dessert called Bingsu became more popular here. But you can still find dessert stalls at food courts selling our very own ice kacang at a very cheap price. You may read this post that talks about how ice kacang evolved from what used to be ice balls in the 1950s and 60s. 🍧

In 2011, when SNSD came to Singapore to hold their very own concert here for the first time, Yuri mentioned at the press conference that they had tried ice kacang during their stay here. Her answer came as a surprise to me. I found it really interesting because it was my first time hearing a foreign artiste talk about ice kacang as our local delicacy. (The more common answers from kpop artistes are usually pepper crabs, chilli crabs 😂)

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On one of the recent nights, when I was on the bed about to fall asleep, I heard a voice say "Ice Kachang". I was then reminded of many years ago, when SNSD was at the press conference during the second day of their very first concert in Singapore in 2011, they mentioned that they had actually tried Ice Kachang and said it was very similar to the Patbingsu in Korea! 🤩 Haha but it was slightly regrettable that they hadn't tried chilli crab yet at the time of the press conference though (you could tell that they didn't have the chance to try much local food yet although it was already their 2nd day here). But as we all SG sones know, ever since then, almost everytime they came back to Singapore, they would definitely have chilli crabs and pepper crabs! Hahaha. But the fact that they had Ice Kachang was really unique! Unlike the usual chilli crabs and pepper crabs that we always hear. Didn't expect Ice Kachang to actually be one of the first local food they got to try back then! ㅋㅋ 😁🍨 . 📽 original video by ssfcedge2 #snsd #girlsgeneration #소녀시대 #少女时代 #taeyeon #jessica #sunny #tiffany #hyoyeon #yuri #sooyoung #yoona #seohyun #태연 #제시카 #써니 #티파니 #효연 #유리 #수영 #윤아 #서현 #singapore #2011girlsgenerationtour #pressconference #singaporeanfood #icekachang

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Watch the full video of the 2011 press conference below.

Since 2 months ago, I began doing a series of food and drinks themed monthsary artworks for Taenggu. On our 57th monthsary, I did one about our local kopi (see #57 MONTHSARY: KOPI SIEW DAI 半烧 GIRL); On the following 58th, I did one about the Taiwanese brown sugar bubble tea (see #58 MONTHSARY: BROWN SUGAR BUBBLE TEA GIRL). This current 59th, the reason why I chose ice kacang is because the winter season has just started. I imagined Taenggu wearing a thick fur coat popping her head out of her ice kacang igloo home on a snowy winter day. Hahaha. A land of snow and ice – ice kacang seems to be perfect for this freezing cold season! ☃️❄️🏂

To prep myself for this artwork, I specially ordered a bowl of ice kacang for dessert for just $2 during lunch at Malaysia Boleh! food court at Northpoint City with my parents recently to rekindle my love for ice kacang.

The $2 ice kacang from Malaysia Boleh! food court at Northpoint City
How it looks like after you eat most of the shaved ice on top, revealing the hidden ingredients at the bottom of the bowl.

Also recently last month, during a visit to Artbox night market with my sis and Tofu, I came across a stall that sells Japanese shaved ice dessert called Kakigori that looks very similar to our ice kacang! It opened my eyes to know that not only there’s Singaporean ice kacang and Korean bingsu, there’s also a Japanese kakigori! Haha regardless of country, we all love to eat shaved ice desserts! 🍧

A Japanese kakigori stall I came across at Artbox selling the shaved ice dessert that looks very similar to our colourful ice kacang!

I was very lucky just before I was about to start working on this artwork, I came across this set of what they call snowflake painting art materials at a booth in Causeway Point with pearl/foam clays in various colours included. I originally planned to use coloured sands which are very fine-grained to make the ice kacang, but I realised these foam clays are even more perfect and suitable for the texture of shaved ice!

So very excitedly, I quickly got started on this artwork without further ado!

Put an art paper with a background that looks like a Peranakan pattern in a frame.
An old picture of Taenggu in a thick fur coat taken from her instagram and the separate components of papers that will be used to form the bowl of ice kacang.
First, I glued Taenggu’s picture at the bottom centre of the white paper which is used as a backing for the shaved ice mountain.
These are the foam clay colours I will be using to make the colourful syrups on the shaved ice.
First, I used white foam clay for some outlines.
Next, green foam clay to fill up one-third of the shaved ice mountain as the green syrup.
Orange foam clay for the center part as the orange syrup.
Pink foam clay to fill up the remaining one-third of the shaved ice mountain as the pink syrup.
Next, I pieced all the separate components into place on my framed board. Orange paper represents the spoon, blue paper acts as the bowl.
Next, I wrote out the words “Ice Kacang Girl” in a fancy icy font on a piece of white paper with a pencil.
Outlined over it with a black marker pen and erased all the pencil marks away.
Then I coloured each letter with a variation of 3 colours – pink, green and orange, which are also the colours of the syrups on my ice kacang.
Cut out the words in 3 separate pieces and glued them on my framed board.
Signed off with my name and the artwork is done!!

Now feeding you with spoonfuls of my ice cold “Ice Kacang Girl” artwork photos of the details! 📸

To complement my artwork, I also got Taenggu a ice kacang miniature that I found on Carousell! IT’S SO CUTE!! 😍

As I wanted to make this ice kacang miniature a little more “useful”, I attempted to transform it into a keychain or strap with the help of the jewellery tools that I have! Hehe you can now hang it on anywhere you like as an accessory!

Do you know ice kacang in chinese is called “红豆冰 (hóng dòu bīng)”, which literally means red bean ice? Coincidentally, Korea also has the same thing known as “Patbingsu”!

How Korea’s Patbingsu (red bean shaved ice) looks like!

This reminds me of years ago when Taenggu filmed herself cutely singing a korean song named “Patbingsu” by Yoon Jong Shin.

OMG, doesn’t she sound and look like a small innocent baby singing it? 👶🏻😂

* Dear 탱구야 the Ice Kacang Girl,
* Can I always hear you sing Patbingsu everytime you eat Ice Kacang? Kekekeke.
* Your Girlfriend,
* Celeste Koh

Theme song this monthsary: “팥빙수 (Patbingsu)” by 윤종신 Yoon Jong Shin