Yay or nay? Sebastian's adds chicken skin to ice cream 2
Sebastian’s Ice Cream's Ian Carandang with this year's Matinong Girlfriend special ice cream flavor. Jeeves de Veyra
Food & Drink

Yay or nay? Sebastian's adds chicken skin to ice cream

Sebastian’s Ice Cream's Matinong Girlfriend is basically buffalo chicken wings reimagined as ice cream. Here's the origin story of the ice cream brand's annual Valentine tradition.
Jeeves de Veyra | Feb 13 2024

“People are either gonna love it or hate it,” says sorbetero Ian Carandang with a mischievous grin about Sebastian’s Ice Cream's Matinong Girlfriend special flavor for Valentine’s 2024.

What is it? It’s basically buffalo chicken wings reimagined as ice cream -- blue cheese ice cream from dressed up with buffalo sauce sprinkled liberally with bits of chicken skin.

The Matinong Girlfriend flavor has a curious origin story. Carandang humbly admits that he can’t take full credit for this creation, citing a frequent customer who was a fan of Once in A Blue Moon (blue cheese ice cream topped with honey and walnuts). This customer suggested that since he served blue cheese ice cream, why not make a buffalo wings ice cream? He just filed it away and started experimenting by making his own buffalo sauce and trying out different chicken skins until he was satisfied with the results.

So how was it?

I may be biased (I love buffalo chicken wings) but as the ice cream melted and I was able to mix the sweet, the buttery spicy, and the crunchy together, it worked for me.

I initially thought that it was the spiritual successor to his Once in a Blue Moon. While the base flavor may be the same, Carandang lisays it has more similarities to my wife’s favorite, his Green Mango with Nam Prik (Thai chili salt) the way it comes together. He added that the green mango was a surprising crowd favorite and first timers to the shop would often order that to satiate their curiosity.

Sebastian’s Ice Cream's Matinong Girlfriend special ice cream flavor up close. Jeeves de Veyra
Sebastian’s Ice Cream's Matinong Girlfriend special ice cream flavor up close. Jeeves de Veyra

There is a method to Carandang’s Valentine madness. It all started with a quip from Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah creator Carlo Vergara texting him that Sebastian’s next big flavor would be Matinong Boyfriend. So it was that first year when Sebastian’s had a one-day Valentine offering with Matinong Boyfriend and Matinong Girlfriend.

The revelation is that this series is a cheeky bit of counterprogramming on Carandang's part. Where every other ice cream and coffee shop wanted to be where couples went for dates, Sebastian’s was the single’s place to be with the flavors representing what the other would want.

“Find your Matinong Boyfriend or Matinong Girlfriend here!” joked the ice cream maker.

Matinong Girlfriend is for the guys, with what Carandang calls “dude” maximalist flavors that’s salty sweet where he puts in whatever he can with stuff like beer, chicharon, potato chips, and now buffalo sauce and chicken skin. 

On the other hand, Matinong Boyfriend represents balance and harmony with a fruity component flavors like this year’s Calamansi Pili Nut ice cream. 

The next year, just because he wanted to do more with the series, he also added Closure, which was representative of health and well-being. It would always be a clean chunkless tea-based flavor. This year’s version of Closure is made with Number One Hand Brand Thai Red Tea steeped for a day in their dairy base. The result is a creamy cold version of Thai milk tea that’s very balanced and not as sweet as the usual cup of milk tea.

Last but not least, there’s the ampalaya-esque Unresolved Issues which is a permanent fixture in the Valentine series. I thought it was utter genius with how well it translated Unresolved Issues into a flavor. It starts out okay, slightly sweet, then as ice cream lingers in your mouth, the bitterness just shows up and intensifies until it just becomes unbearable.

“The same flavor as last year, and the year before that. No change, no growth, no progress. The same bitterness year after year," says the official description, just like any unresolved issues.

This Valentine ice cream tradition has gone viral and is going strong. And it looks like it’s not stopping anytime soon. All flavors are available by the scoop and handpacked pint at our flagship store in Podium Mall or from their online store at sebastiansicecream.com. Valentines flavors are available all through February.