The WACKIER World of Japanese Ice Cream
By Ryann Connell
Japanese Cool doesn't get any cooler than ice cream! And, perhaps we should all be thankful for that.
Manga, anime, karaoke, fashion, movies ... Japanese cultural exports have become hot property all over the world, giving a softer edge to a country renowned for its cars, electronics and, er, a love of nature reflected by concreted rivers?
Sushi, sashimi and sukiyaki originated in Japan and now tantalize taste buds across the globe.
But, where there have been hits, there have also been misses. It's hard to imagine pizza connoisseurs outside of this country adding local favorites corn and mayonnaise to their list of top toppings.
Japanese ice cream, too, is unlikely to achieve the same giddy heights as raw fish -- even though it's one of the flavors it comes in.
Judging by the tastes on offer at Ice Cream City in Namco Nanja Town in the Sunshine 60 building in Tokyo's Toshima-ku, ice cream seems to be one aspect of Japanese Cool likely to be lost in translation.
Raw Horseflesh Ice Cream
We're not horsing around with this one. There mere thought of putting raw horseflesh into ice cream may be enough to produce plenty of neigh ... er, naysayers. And, rightfully so. You can get it straight from the horse's mouth, this would have to vie for the vilest ice cream ever created.
The chunks of meat inside it offer ample proof of why horseflesh is usually used in dog food. Not wanting to be a nag, this flavor needs a definite gee-up. The only saving grace is perhaps that tonight's dessert could well have been last week's odds-on favorite.
Other flavors of Japanese ice cream:
Eel Ice Cream (Unagi Aisu)
Eel is a summer delicacy in Japan, which probably explains why Futaba decided to use it to flavor an ice cream. Surprisingly, the smooth taste is quite palatable, even if the thought of what's being eaten is not quite as tasty.
Chicken Wing Ice Cream (Nagoya Tebasaki)
Nagoya is famous for its poultry, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that the taste of this ice cream is best described as foul. It actually tastes like a fried chicken wing, which is fine if that's what you're eating, but not if you're tucking into some ice cream.
Ox Tongue Ice Cream (Gyutan Aisu)
What better to tickle the taste buds than tongues? Though Ox Tongue Ice Cream may not be the first delicacy to come to mind, its taste is nothing to beef about.
Squid Ice Cream (Ika Aisu)
Not wanting to give octopus ice cream a leg-up, Kimura Shoten used the extra legs available to step forward with Squid Ice Cream. And that's no squidding.
Octopus Ice Cream (Taco Aisu)
Want to tantalize the taste buds with a tentacle? If so, Octopus Ice Cream is the go. Japanese have been able to come up with an amazing variety of uses for octopus, ranging from delicacy to porno movie prop. Little wonder that octopus has found its way into ice cream, then.
Fish Ice Cream (Sanma Aisu)
Something must smell fishy about ice cream flavored with saury, a saltwater fish popular in Japan...But there's no worries about that with this offering from Kimura Shoten as the fishy fumes have been drowned out by liberal doses of brandy. Not the greatest tasting ice cream on earth, though.
Anybody dumb enough to eat sushi will try it.
For the record, I love sushi, and I wouldn't touch it with a 10' pole.