Special Treats: Sweet Sandwiches

By Christopher Tan

Published on March 19, 2011

Some of the tastiest sandwiches are sweet

Singapore, circa 1980. The recess bell rings, and the surge of classmates carries me out the door, down the stairs, and around the corner to the school canteen, where the wave of ravenous pupils breaks with a roar against the crowded snack counter. We throw down our money for ice cream loti, a cooling panacea for brains sore from learning: fluffy bread ("loti" being a colloquial mispronunciation of "roti," the word for bread in Malay) sandwiching scoops of sweet, milky ice cream. The soft slices, tinted circus-bright pink, yellow, and green, gently swaddle my choice of raspberry ripple, vanilla, chocolate, durian…or perhaps, for a few cents more, a thick slab of Neapolitan ice cream, its gaudy tricolor hue clashing irresistibly with the bread's pastel swirls. I chase crumbs and drips, sink my teeth into cushiony and creamy layers—the shock of this cold, sweet ice cream sandwich never gets old, never loses its simple, delicious appeal. Three decades later, as an adult living in Singapore, I am cued by the bells of ice cream carts—no longer the jingle of the school bell. But the treat, and my sheer enjoyment of it, remain exactly the same. —Christopher Tan, food writer and cookbook author


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