The Japanese have a fascination with different flavours of ice cream, and we are not talking chocolate or strawberry, there are some weird and awful flavours on offer. There’s quite a few which are a bit out there like pumpkin, Japanese tea, cream cheese or even cherry blossom petals.
But there are some others which westerners might be a scared of, like potato and butter, rice cake or wasabi. Then there are the others, how does a nice crab or a sea urchin ice cream sound? Or, perhaps squid flavoured ice cream. Then there’s the alcohol flavoured ones, like wine, sake and of course beer flavoured ice cream.
It is quite popular to see ice cream vending machines around the streets, where 100 to 200 yen will buy a beautifully wrapped ice cream. Most of the flavours are quite sweet and chocolate coated. Although there are squid and crab or even eel ice creams around, they are not everywhere. One word of advice, unless you want to eat raw horse meat ice cream, don’t order the Basashi Aisu, it’s not too tasty even chocolate dipped and with a cherry on top.
The green tea ice cream, on the other hand, can be recommended as it is much tastier than it sounds. It is quite a popular dish served in many restaurants in Japan. The tea flavour comes from the Maccha tea powder that is used in many tea ceremonies.
Ice Cream City in Tokyo’s Sunshine City complex is home to an amazing assortment of weird ice cream flavours. There selection varies between seasons but some of their popular flavours include Whale, Ox Tongue, Oyster and Garlic or for the vegetarians lettuce and potato. There’s also a chicken flavour and a mouth watering octopus variety to try.
You might think that it’s easy to make some of this exotic ice cream, but in fact, there is a lot of science being used. Many of the seafood varieties freeze at different temperatures than ice cream and then there’s the smell and the after taste. Food engineers have spent many hours researching and experimenting to ensure that these flavours keep well, sell well and are delicious.