I’m quite certain I’ve never tasted a milkshake quite as good as the ones from Friesland Milk Bar in East London. As a family, we used to get one almost every time we passed through East London on our way up the coast, and they were always accompanied by stories of my mother’s childhood, or previous visits to Friesland together. I can remember being so taken with the sealed bottles that they come in, and the satisfaction that they would stay cold for so long despite being cradled by warm little hands whilst sipped on slowly. Although I was always baffled by the dingy location and the general stock of the shop, I was pleased by the knowledge that it had been around for so many years. Mostly though, it was a real treat because the milkshakes just tasted so darn good!
Friesland started out as a tiny little dairy in 1924 and in 1948 it began selling ice creams and milkshakes from the corner shop in Tennyson street, where it is still located. The milkshakes are still made with the original secret recipe, which is now kept safely in a bank. I’ve read that people from all over come back to Friesland to remember the milkshakes of their childhood, and many take frozen bottles home with them.
On our way back from Port Edward last week, we dropped in at Friesland to honour our age-old family ritual. The interior has certainly been redone since I was last there, but little else has changed and the milkshakes are just as delicious as I remember them to be. I’m sure that nostalgia has a big role to play in their enjoyment, but it’s most likely that these really are the best milkshakes in the world.