METRO MANILA / FOOD / Dessert / Ice Cream
Founders: Bryan and Maxine Kong
1. What got you started with this brand? What was your inspiration? What is the idea/concept behind it?
We are the same people behind the (almost) 10-year-old Japanese chain of restaurants Crazy Katsu and Crazy Ramen. Having close to a decade of experience in Japanese cuisine, my wife Maxine and I decided to follow through with turning our ice cream dream into a reality. Besides being the favorite dessert of my wife, ice cream has been a great outlet for culinary creativity for me. After months of experimenting, the Kurīmu recipe was formed.
Kurīmu actually comes from the Japanese word Aisukurīmu, which directly translates to “ice cream” in English. Come to think of it… it sounds exactly how the Japanese would pronounce ice cream in their own accent. The concept of our ice cream is centred around minimalism, attention to detail, and focus. The aim was to showcase natural flavors, with texture and mouthfeel being the centrepiece of Kurīmu ice cream. Today, those who have tried Kurīmu have particularly noted its creaminess, silkiness, and how each kind is true to its authentic flavor.
2. What is your best-selling product?
It’s been a close competition between Black Sesame and Shoyu Caramel. But a lot of our customers who have tried our Matcha have also said it’s the perfect balance of bitter and sweet, and it’s the closest it gets to real Japanese Matcha ice cream.
- Black Sesame 黒ゴマ is a roasted nutty flavor with deep earthy undertones. Made with toasted, hand pounded black sesame seeds.
- Shoyu Carmael 醤油 is rich, savory, sweet flavor with complex caramel notes and a hint of umami.
- Matcha 抹茶 is a creamy, rich, aromatic flavor with a fluffy mouth feel. Made with premium grade Uji matcha.
- Kinako Chocolate and Kinako Vanilla
Since we wanted to stick with the Japanese cuisine, we went with the classic Matcha and Black Sesame flavors to introduce our brand to the local market. A lot of people are more familiar with those flavors and associate them with memories from their trips to Japan. We also wanted to do a spin on our flavors, which was why we came up with Shoyu Caramel—classic salted caramel with a twist. Soy sauce gave us a sodium alternative, and it brought depth and complexity to our ice cream. This has definitely been getting a lot of hype lately!
3. What do you want people to experience with your brand/product(s)?
Bold Japanese flavors, and the creamiest ice cream in Manila.
4. What tips and advice can you give to entrepreneurs who are just starting out or are planning to start their own brand?
Being an entrepreneur is a 24/7 job. Be ready to live and breathe your brand day in and day out. That’s the only way for progress. We’re all in uncharted waters now, which makes things both scary and exciting at the same time, so take it one day at a time and focus on building your community and your brand equity more than anything.
5. What’s next for your brand?
Stay tuned! We have 3 new and exciting flavors in the pipeline. These are flavors that don’t exist yet in the local ice cream market. All 3 are scheduled to launch from October to December of 2020. This series is slightly reminiscent of roasted peanuts, Kinako brings a warm, toasted and nutty aroma to complement a rich, dark chocolate ice cream base and a classic ice cream base like Vanilla. Also, these are gluten-free and nut-free!
6. What other additional information and details would you like to share?
We have temporarily set up our commissary and kitchen to be in our home in Mandaluyong where everything from production to dispatching happens. We are offering limited batches of pints up for grabs daily via our website as we are focusing on growing our presence online for the time being. Customers may also get in touch with us on Facebook / Instagram or on Viber 09178710915 for inquiries and reservations.