Breaking News
More () »

Traditional South Asian ice pop shop opens in North Portland

The new ice pop shop on North Williams Avenue serves kulfi, a traditional Indian frozen dairy dessert.

PORTLAND, Ore. — A new shop in North Portland is serving up handcrafted ice cream you won't find anywhere else in the area.

Gagan Aulakh and Kiran Cheema are the owners of Kulfi, a South Asian ice pop shop. Kulfi is a traditional Indian frozen dairy dessert.

The inspiration for their shop came after Cheema noticed that she couldn't find any kulfi around the Portland metro area. She started to experiment with recipes. The people around her ended up loving the treats and she eventually turned it into a business.

In 2019, the couple began selling their customizable ice pops at farmers markets before opening a small walk-up window off Alberta Street in 2021. Their brick-and-mortar spot opened last month on North Williams Avenue near Northeast Beech Street.

"It's a really cool thing, that you can come in and you can literally create your own dessert. Take your pops and dip it in whatever it is you want," Aulakh said.

Credit: Kulfi
Kulfi serves a variety of ice pop flavors, from mango and pistachio to Oreo and smores, plus a vegan option made with coconut and dark chocolate.

The ice pops are a fusion of flavors that meld the couple's heritage and how they grew up.

"There's some that have saffron, pistachios. Some have cardamom in it, rosewater, kind of like the flavor of India for us," Aulakh said.

The owners have also combined treats from their childhood with more classic flavors.

"My personal favorite is smores," Aulakh said. "I'll take an Oreo, dip it in dark chocolate, take the marshmallow fluff, toast it, throw some graham crackers on it. It's so good." 

But the shop's bestseller is a nod to the couple's Indian background.

"Number one is mango lassi, no matter what. People always go for that one. It's more mangos and yogurt," Aulakh said.

Credit: Kulfi
Gagan Aulakh and Kiran Cheema combine traditional flavors found in Indian desserts with treats from their childhood.

Their shop is more than just creating dessert. For them, it's also about spreading joy and creating connections with people in the community.

"Our motto is happiness. We just want people to be happy," Aulakh said. "You got to have more fun in this world and if we can help with that, that's awsome."

As part of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, KGW has been highlighting Asian-owned businesses and events in the Portland area.

Before You Leave, Check This Out