An icy treat to beat the dry season heat

Lee Ou says coconut is the the best flavour of ice cream.
Lee Ou says coconut is the the best flavour of ice cream. Kimberley McCosker

An icy treat to beat the dry season heat

Fresh, cold and sweet, Mr O Coconut Ice Cream’s speciality makes for a perfect hot season snack. Opened two months ago, the shop serves up the coconut ice cream in bowls carved out of coconuts, still with a delicious layer of young coconut meat inside, accompanied by fresh cups of chilled coconut water.

Owner Lee Ou got the idea from a friend in Thailand who sold coconut ice cream to school students. About seven months ago, Lee started selling his ice cream from a motorbike cart to students, like his friend, but it proved so popular he decided to open Mr O Coconut Ice Cream shop in Street 310 as well.

“I have enjoyed eating ice cream since I was a child, but I found there were no ice cream restaurants in Phnom Penh that served a variety that was healthy, made hygienically and with an acceptable price, so I decided to open my own,” Lee said.

“I’ve tasted many different flavours of ice cream in Cambodia and other countries, and I believe coconut is the best natural ingredient to put in ice cream.”

Mr O Coconut Ice Cream is served up in coconut shell bowls.
Mr O Coconut Ice Cream is served up in coconut shell bowls. Kimberley McCosker

Lee said his ice cream was healthy because it was made without any artificial additives – just fresh coconut water, coconut meat, dairy milk and sometimes a little condensed milk as a sweetener when necessary.

Some of the ingredients are sourced overseas but the coconuts all come from a farm in Takeo and are about 60 days old.

“If the coconuts are younger or older than this time, they won’t have the right flavour,” he said.

The coconut ice cream costs $1.90 in the restaurant and $1.25 on the motorbike cart, which is located at the Night Market and Royal University of Phnom Penh.

Mr O Coconut Ice has a variety of ice cream flavours on offer – including banana, pineapple, watermelon, strawberry, kiwi and more – and also sells some simple Thai food like pad thai and grilled chicken.

However, most customers came for the coconut ice cream, Lee said.

Surprisingly, since the shop opened, most of them have been adults.

“I thought that my customers would be kids, because they like ice cream, but nowadays more adults like ice cream and the kids just like milk tea or coffee,” Lee said.

If the ice cream shop is a success, he said he would like to open other businesses.

“I’ve got many ideas in mind but first I just want to concentrate on the ice cream shop.”

Mr O Coconut Ice Cream is located at #39 Street 173 (corner of Street 310).

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