Temperatures are shooting up all around the archipelago and that means soft serve season has come to Japan. For some baffling reason, vanilla remains far and away the most popular flavor for Japanese, but that doesn’t mean they don’t get creative with their frozen treats too. Flavors like green tea and ume plum are easy to find (and delicious), but don’t stop there if you want to try some really out there local flavors.
Here are our choices for the 10 weirdest soft serve flavors Japan has to offer.
Love it or hate it, this horseradishy kick is a big part of Japanese cuisine. Now you can try it in creamy, frozen form too. Better than a cup of coffee or a slap across the face at waking you up.
You wouldn’t even think of making a cup of miso soup without this tasty, vitamin-packed sea veggie, but would you consider trying it in a cone?
I’ve heard of chilled udon before, but this takes it a step further. In Kagawa Prefecture, you can get their famous kamatama udon noodles on ice cream, complete with chopped green onions.
Behind rice, it’s probably the most essential Japanese food, so you know they had to turn it into ice cream.
I’m told that eating jellyfish is both healthy and eco-friendly, but the weird chewy-crunchy texture is a high culinary hurdle for me, so maybe soft-serve jellies are the way to go.
You may not be familiar with this tiny fish, but it’s popular food in Japan, often mixed with a bit of soy sauce and mirin and served on a bed of rice. Not sure about the combo of fish and dairy myself, but having seen this flavor at multiple shops, it seems to be catching on with Japanese people.
Wakame’s lesser known cousin, mozuka seaweed is the gloopy, gelatinous brown strings you’ve probably been served as a starter if you’ve been to an Okinawan restaurant. It’s good fried, dried, boiled, fresh, and now in soft serve form.
You may associate squid ink with Mediterranean food, but it’s very popular in Japan as well. Try some squid ink pasta and then top it off with some squid ink ice cream, but check your teeth before you flash a smile!
Oysters, or kaki in Japanese, are extremely popular around Japan. You’ll find them in all kinds of dishes depending on regional tastes, but fried oysters are available everywhere, including atop your ice cream. And that’s not chocolate sauce; it’s soy sauce.
Stinky, sticky fermented soy beans. Trying them for the amusement of your Japanese hosts is a ritual of passing for every Japanese visitor, so why not take the edge off with some ice cream?
Well, there you are, boys and girls, the 10 weirdest soft serve flavors we could rustle up.
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