table talk

Turn a cheap ice cream into a luxury dessert with bonito fish flakes

By Oona McGee, SoraNews24

Just last week, one of our Japanese-language reporters was watching "Gatten!", a TV program on national broadcaster NHK, when one of their segments immediately caught her attention.

Discussing ways to use up leftover katsuobushi (bonito fish flakes), a staple in Japanese households, the presenters had some clever suggestions for viewers, with ideas like katsuobushi-infused oil, katsuobushi-infused butter, and even katsuobushi-infused alcohol drawing “oohs” and “ahhs” from the audience.

However, out of all these inventive recipe ideas, there was one that really stood out from all the others: katsuobushi ice cream. While fish-flavored ice cream might not sound that appealing, the presenters were adamant that mixing fish flakes with ice cream actually transforms it into a more luxurious dessert. Sachi, our Japanese-language reporter, was keen to try out the recipe to see how much truth there really was to this odd-sounding claim.

For those keen to walk on the wild side of vanilla ice cream, here’s NHK’s recipe:


– 200 milliliters of vanilla ice cream

– 2 grams of dried bonito fish flakes

– Pinch of salt


1: Rub the bonito flakes in the packet to loosen

2: Add the bonito flakes and salt into the ice cream and mix well


Sachi chose to use a tub of Meiji Essel Super Cup Ultra Vanilla — one of the cheapest and best-loved ice cream varieties on the market — for this experiment, and was incredibly impressed with the ease of it all.

It took less than a couple of minutes to add the fine pieces of fish flakes to the ice cream, and when she tasted it, she couldn’t deny that there was a new depth of flavour created by the addition of bonito.


However, it was at this moment that she realised she’d forgotten to add salt to the mix. Sachi grabbed a pinch and mixed it in and it was at this point that she was totally won over by the unusual combination. The plain vanilla ice cream was even more delicious than ever.

The flavor was so well-rounded and had such a rich depth to it that it tasted entirely different to the plain vanilla ice cream she was used to. The addition of salt and fish flakes brought the texture and flavor up to a whole new level, giving it a luxurious taste that made her feel like she was eating a much more expensive brand of ice cream.

While she couldn’t explain exactly why the ice cream tasted so high-class, she guessed that it had something to do with the umami from the smoked bonito fish. Since there was little fish aroma emanating from the dish, her cat was curious enough to come over and take a sniff as well.


Totally satisfied with the upmarket ice cream she’d just created, Sachi was tempted to keep some for afterwards, but according to the presenters on the TV show, the mix tends to taste a bit more salty after it’s frozen, so it’s best to eat it after the mix is freshly made.

Sachi says this is one of the easiest and best ice cream recipes she’s ever come across, and she wholeheartedly recommends trying it.

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- New Häagen-Dazs ice cream: Salty Vanilla and Caramel and Japonais Black Syrup Kinako Red Bean

-- Japanese diners are raving about “fish parfait” made with grilled bonito and ginger

-- We made bread out of ice cream and it’s delicious! Super simple 3 ingredient recipe

© SoraNews24

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Just saying but the ice-cream in the photo does not actually qualify as "ice-cream". It is a top seller in Japan but is made with "vegetable fat", which sources online say is actually palm oil.

Every ice dessert in Japan is ranked by milk solids and milk fat. The highest is アイスクリーム, next comes アイスミルク and last is ラクトアイス like Super Cup. It will be written in large characters somewhere on the package. I would rather pay 40 yen extra and have my kids eat something made with milk than (more) processed fake food.

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Fish-flavored "ice cream"? Really?

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Just saying but the ice-cream in the photo does not actually qualify as "ice-cream". It is a top seller in Japan but is made with "vegetable fat", which sources online say is actually palm oil.

No wonder that stuff didn't taste like ice cream. Tried making a chocolate shake with it once.

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As others have said, it isn't ice cream and even if it was, putting dried fish on it does not make it a dessert, luxury or otherwise.

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Gross!!! agreed all you need know is a splash of soy sauce to finish it off. whats next nato on ice cream, heres and idea just buy some better ice cream

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kohakuebisu wrote: ラクトアイス = "vegetable fat"

Thank you for pointing this out. Super Cup used to be my favorite until I read your post. So, basically, I was eating frozen, sweetened mayo. What a scam.

In light of the fact that it's frozen mayo, maybe the bonito flakes on top is not too gross. :)

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Good grief...

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