SHAH ALAM: You’ve heard of Teh Tarik, a Malaysian favourite enjoyed at all hours of the day – but how about Krem Tarik?
It’s the first ever Malaysian brand of stretchy ice cream, a chilled and sweet dessert unlike any other in the market.
Almost chewy and akin to eating a marshmallow, this stretchy ice cream is something that must be tried to be properly explained.
But what’s also interesting are the brilliant minds behind this successful home-based start-up – Azareil Akasha, 20, and Elmira Nabilah, 17.
Despite this being their first entrepreneurial venture, the duo, neighbours living across from each other, have already found financial success, raking in over RM27,000 since launching the product on Aug 28.
At one point, they made a tidy profit of RM1,000 in a single day – and it was only their first week in business.
Given that most people their age could only dream of earning such an income, this financial achievement is nothing short of impressive.
So, how did they come up with the idea of a stretchy ice cream?
Speaking to FMT, Azareil says he was inspired by Turkish ice cream, called dondurma, a dessert he fell head over heels in-love with while on his travels overseas.
He is quick to assert however, that Krem Tarik’s products are distinct from dondurma and are their own thing, complete with its own secret formula that makes it so heavenly to eat.
So, where did his entrepreneurial spirit come from?
Azareil, who used to sell ballpoint pens to fellow college students, says he has always wanted to create something Malaysia has yet to produce.
So, when it became clear that Krem Tarik had the potential to be a Malaysian “first”, Azareil took a leap of faith.
But anticipating how risky this business venture could be, he felt safer taking it on with a trusted friend and partner. And that is pretty much how Elmira entered the picture.
“At first, when he told me his idea, I was like, ‘Okay…That’s interesting…’ But when he started making the ice cream, I saw he needed help and so I went along to help him,” she says.
Working hands-on with the stretchy ice cream helped grow her interest, and eventually, she decided to throw her lot in with the idea behind Krem Tarik.
But the million-dollar question is, what gives this ice cream its unusual, stretchy texture? It’s apparently a closely guarded secret and the duo’s lips remain sealed.
Turkish ice cream is made with sahlep, derived from orchid roots, and mastic, a plant resin from the mastic tree. However, both ingredients are not available in Malaysia and cannot be imported as the export of sahlep is banned by the Turkish government.
The hunt began for alternatives, and for a while, the duo ran into a brick wall.
The R&D phase was tough, Azareil admits, explaining that the repeated failures even caused a former partner to throw in the towel.
Elmira adds, “There were a lot of times when we were like, ‘This is the reason why no one has made this before…’ But we pressed on.”
A solution came about in the most unlikely way though as Azareil had a dream that revealed to him a suitable ingredient.
Elmira recalls the moment Azareil shared his dream with her. “At first, I was like, ‘You’re lying.’”
With nothing much to lose at this point, the duo experimented with the ingredient and it turned out to be the very thing they were looking for the entire time.
Since then, they have churned out nine different flavours – vanilla, strawberry, chocolate, mocha, chocolate chip, coffee, pistachio, milk and cereal, and their bestseller Blue Comet.
The latter, which gets its blue hue from the butterfly pea flower, contains chunks of Oreo cookies, marshmallows and well…, that’s another secret.
Since launching the brand, tales of a “stretchy ice cream” spread like wildfire among local dessert connoisseurs.
Pints and cups of Krem Tarik’s ice cream have since made their way to customers across the Klang Valley. They even have one distributor in Brunei.
Many high-end restaurants have also sought the duo out, proposing collaborations, with a few companies offering to buy the secret formula.
For now, Azareil is open to any opportunity that the future may hold for the fledgling enterprise.
Elmira, a university student, says Krem Tarik’s success is proof that one’s studies is no obstacle to entrepreneurship, provided one has a good sense of time management.
Azareil, on his part, has this to say, “In life, you may not always come across something you like doing. So, start off by doing something that matters first. Your love for your work will build along the way.”
Hungry? Check out Krem Tarik’s Instagram page here or order a pint for yourself by sending a WhatsApp to 010-9267630.