I SEE I SEE: CANDICE YUNG
Causeway Bay is usually associated with navigating busy streets packed with shoppers, but it is also a dessert haven, with various popular dessert stores popping up. Away from the frenzied main area is I See I See, which serves up ice popsicles from their store on Leighton Road.
The open storefront gives passersby a glimpse of I See I See’s spectrum of colourful popsicles, inviting them to come in. At the time of our visit, the front stools are occupied by a row of excited school children. Bossa nova versions of pop hits stream out from the speakers while some girls pose with their popsicles in front of a calligraphy mural that says “Happiness is eating your icy pop before it melts.”
Founder Candice Yung smiles at the growing crowd. “We don’t just sell ice pops, we also sell happiness,” she tells me as she passes me an I See I See bestseller, Hokkaido milk with strawberries.
Yung was born in Hong Kong but grew up in New Zealand and then New Jersey. She studied in Melbourne and returned to her hometown around six years ago. After completing her law degree, she practiced law but suddenly fell ill, which led to her decision to leave the industry. “I just wanted to do something completely different,” says the 30-year-old. “I went to New York and Korea two years ago and saw how much people loved ice popsicles, and I thought it was time to bring that to Hong Kong.”
I See I See launched in May this year and collaborated with car service, Uber, for their annual ice cream day in July. “I don’t have any experience in F&B, so I’m still surprised at how well the turnout is,” she laughs. Yung comes up with all the flavours herself: “It was trial and error at first. It took me nine months to develop 40 flavours. I use a popsicle machine for a creamier ice pop, due to the smaller crystal structure, and I love using a lot of fruits as well.” She has a central kitchen that delivers to her mainstay store, as well as the pop-ups around town such as on the Peak and LCX in Harbour City, and buys premium imported fruit to ensure she can sell her signature flavours, like the strawberry Hokkaido milk ice pop, year-round.
It’s no shocker that children from St. Paul’s Convent School right next door are pulling their mothers in for an after-school treat. “The location was a total accident, I didn’t realise there was a school next door!” Yung says. The display showcases flavours like Earl Grey tea with pistachio, star fruit, raspberry cheesecake and kiwi, with specials like durian and caramel corn. In summertime, ice popsicles are the perfect remedy to the humidity, but winter is coming. Yung isn’t worried: “I’ve come up with some new flavours, like creme brulee, where I burn the popsicles slightly. We’re also going to introduce drinks soon, as a combination with the ice pops.”
It’s not all about the popsicles though. “After a long day at work in a place like Hong Kong it’s so easy to become stressed and negative. I See I See is a place where people can forget their worries,” says Yung. Popsicles are served in vibrant ‘mood cups’ with slogans like ‘What’s life without a little bit of sweetness?’ and the famous line from the film Frozen, ‘You’re worth melting for’. “It’s all about the little things here. I want to bring happiness to people when they need it the most,” smiles Yung.
I See I See, G/F, Haven Court, 138 Leighton Road, Causeway Bay; tel: 2337 3361. Follow @iseeiseehk