Episode 13: Budget Brain Freeze! Rediscovering the humble ice scramble!

Ice scramble is back. More popularly known as iskrambol, this humble brain-freezing street dessert once famous in the ‘70s has been revived, reinvented, and is now a favorite item sold in shopping areas, streets, and food courts. Nostalgia much?
Ice scramble (for the uninitiated) is an ice-based treat topped with skimmed milk, and chocolate or strawberry syrup. Back then, ice scramble is sold in small plastic cups from sidecars near schools, complete with ice-crushing apparatuses and ingredients laid out before the customer. It is then eaten by “scrambling” the contents or mixing them, then drinking with a large straw (hence, the name “ice scramble”).

This dessert is cool and smooth, sure you may bite into a solid piece of ice or two, but what’s enjoyable is the taste and texture of the ice, heightened by the sweet flavor of the syrups and the powdered milk. Brain freeze follows (sometimes).

Ice scramble has recently become a profitable business. Franchises now cost as low as P75,000, which consists of the equipment, ingredients, promotional supplies, and the stall itself, among others. Each serving would sell from P7 to P20 or more, depending on the size of the cup and the amount and type of toppings.

A lot of these franchises are popping out all over Metro Manila: in malls, sidewalks, food courts, even food and beverage expos… They attract a lot of customers too. That’s how popular ice scramble and marketable is nowadays.

Admittedly though, I barely remember the taste of ice scramble from when I was a kid. I don’t remember if it’s because my parents said ice scramble is dirty, or if it’s because I spend my snack money on fishball or one-peso arcade games, but I know for sure that ice scramble was not exactly part of my diet.

So when I ended up at Greenhills Theater Mall, staring at that ice scramble stand with the name “Iskrambol” on it, I knew I just had to assuage my curiosity.

In spite of the contemporary touches in this stuff, Iskrambol’s ice scramble tastes just like the traditional one, only smoother, heck, one of the smoothest and sweetest stuff I had so far since falling in love.

They serve different ice shave flavors like chocolate, strawberry, and buko pandan. They also have add-ons such as Oreo bits, rice crispies, marshmallows, graham crackers, chocolate and candy sprinkles to make the experience even sweeter.

This brand name is the brainchild of RPN9 reporters Steph Ongkiko and Roma Agsalud. Theirs is a relatively new franchise that has been taking baby steps in their expansion. So far I’ve heard a lot of good feedback about their ice scramble; some said theirs is simple but delicious, while others compared it to a fastfood chain’s ice dessert.

Iskrambol is one of the many franchises appearing in the market. A lot of business names are popping up nowadays, such as Scramble King, Pinoy Scramble, Manila Scramble, Scramble Mania and Icebreaker. The smoothness of the ice scramble, as well as the toppings, differ from each franchise. (Believe it or not, I’ve tried a lot of ice scramble variants aside from Iskrambol’s, and boy, it’s so difficult to say which is the best of them all.)

Ice scramble is for the young at heart, best shared with friends or enjoyed by yourself on a hot, relaxing afternoon. It’s a cheap but delicious and cool treat for anyone with a sweet tooth and who’s longing for an enjoyable part of their childhood. Your mileage may vary on whatever way you’d like your ice scramble; there’s so much to choose from, not only will you eventually get a painful case of brainfreeze (or toothache), but you’d probably pack pounds just trying to sample everything, toppings and all.

Kero-chan approves of sweet, topping-heavy ice scramble!


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