The beverage scene in Malaysia is quite vibrant, with a wide array of local and international brands selling different drinks, with the bulk of them being coffee or tea-based.
But hidden amongst these beverage giants is YODmilk Shop, a homegrown brand allowing customers to “Taste the ‘70s”. How? Through its handcrafted ice cream and fruity fresh milk.
Evoking a sense of nostalgia
Speaking to Vulcan Post, Gary explained, “The statement ‘Taste the ’70s’ in our caption is a playful way of expressing that our products evoke a sense of nostalgia, reminiscent of the flavours popularised in the 1970s.”
Now, I’m personally too young to realistically vet that. But having tried some of its fruity fresh milk like the Mango (RM12.80) and Sakura (RM10.80) flavoured ones that come in 300ml bottles, it does make me feel a little wistful of the past.
And I can imagine people like my parents having this in their youths, before bubble tea and third-wave coffee had made their way to Malaysian shores.
The reason being that to me, drinking milk on its own (as opposed to being an ingredient in another drink) seems uncommon. It’s more of a beverage we have at home to either dip our cookies in or to fill our stomachs before heading to school.
So while I can’t attest to how true his “Taste the ‘70s” statement is, I will agree that it tastes homey. Which is what I believe Gary was trying to achieve when he concocted his drinks.
Made fresh with fresh fruits
The name YODmilk Shop was inspired by the Cantonese phrase, “飲好啲”, which can be translated as “drink good or well”.
In this spirit, the founder wanted the brand to stand out, just like the distinctive taste experience they offer. “The combination of ‘YOD’ with ‘milk’ reflects our commitment to providing high-quality, fresh milk products,” he said.
All of its fruit milk products are crafted with fresh fruits, which is why you can find quite short expiration labels on each bottle. For example, the Mango Fresh Milk can last for five days from the date of purchase in its sealed condition.
To maintain their quality and prevent oxidation, he explained that the brand employs advanced preservation techniques and uses air-tight packaging.
For fruits that tend to oxidise faster (like avocados and bananas), the brand had to conduct rigorous experimentation to find the right balance of ingredients. This ensures a pleasant taste while still preserving the natural essence of the fruits.
Trying some of the drinks ourselves, the milk was rich and creamy, and the fruity flavours definitely tasted quite natural and not too sweet. The Mango Fresh Milk retained some tanginess from the real fruit, and the dark chocolate had a deep and rich flavour.
A frozen treat for everyone
Alongside YODmilk Shop’s signature fresh milk line, they also offer handmade ice cream. The motivation stems from Gary’s commitment to provide a diverse range of options.
“The idea is to create a well-rounded menu that caters to various preferences,” he said. “Ice cream, with its timeless appeal, serves as a complementary indulgence.”
On that same note, with Malaysia being a tropical country, ice cream is a more familiar treat to reach for. It also caters to a wider group of audience, as children might find fruity frozen desserts more appealing than fruit milk.
Sticking to their natural flavours approach, you’ll find options like Strawberry, Avocado, Mango, Cempedak, Sakura, and Passion Fruit available. The ice cream comes in a cup of 100ml and ranges from RM8.80 to RM12.80 depending on the flavour.
The strawberry ice cream we had was on the much sweeter side with frozen strawberries for texture, and had a more flakey, icy consistency compared to gelato.
Growing the brand in more ways
Aside from that, there are bagels with various savoury and sweet fillings, such as Smoked Chicken Ham Cream Cheese and Matcha Spread. YODmilk Shop also cooks up freshly made-upon-order Eggettes.
If you’re not into the fruit milks, there’s a small selection of coffees available. Namely, latte, mocha, americano, and espresso that come in hot or cold.
This is quite a deviation from when the brand first started. Initially an online business, its first physical store was opened in SS19, Subang Jaya late last year.
“After three years of successful online operations, we recognised the growing demand for a tangible space where people could not only enjoy our products but also engage with the brand in a physical setting,” he said.
So not long afterwards, Gary expanded the menu. While this and the move involved higher capital investments, he’s confident that the value it adds to the brand is worth it in the long run.
A new spot to grow the crowd
About a week ago, though, YODmilk Shop relocated to USJ10, Subang Jaya. The reason for this is to enhance the customer experience.
Gary explained that this new location allows them to create a more spacious and inviting environment. Taking up half a shop lot near Taipan’s Maybank branch, the store is decorated in a Japanese style, with noren curtains and vintage posters.
There are also a few seats and tables tucked on the side where customers can dine in and enjoy the retro-like atmosphere.
With Taipan being a hotspot for locals, businesses, and foodies, it makes sense why Gary chose to move the shop here. Their opening hours of 7AM to 4PM also caters to workers who could easily grab a quick drink or bite on their way to the office.
The shop can be a little harder to miss if you’re not looking in the right area though, so the easiest way to find it would be to navigate to the Nippon Paint store in Taipan first. YODmilk Shop is right next door, and there’s a large ice cream statue displayed at the storefront.
Offer something exceptional and memorable
All that said, fruit milk itself isn’t a novel idea. Brands like Dutch Lady have boxed ones and CITY MILK from Taiwan offers what looks like similar products.
However, Gary shared that YODmilk Shop stands out as its fruity fresh milk is crafted in small batches. They’re made and sold on a daily basis, so if a specific flavour runs out, that’s it for the day.
“It offers a taste and freshness that mass-produced brands simply cannot match,” he said.
On the day we visited, quite a lot of the flavours had already been sold out, so it’s clear that there is a curious crowd for his offerings.
While still a relatively small business, Gary is hopeful about expanding their reach soon to bring fruity milk to more Malaysians.
Featured Image Credit: YODmilk Shop