You know Japan can seriously bring the weird, and their take on dessert is no exception. Whether it’s unthinkable ingredients, inventive execution or just downright audaciousness, here are our votes on Japan’s weirdest parfaits.
- Natto Parfait
Have you ever thought to yourself: what this delicious ice cream needs is some fermented legumes? Then you may want to try a natto parfait!
Natto, which is fermented soy beans, is one of those Japanese foods that foreigners always get asked to try because of its funky appearance and moldy gym sock aroma, but even if you are one of the few non-Japanese that likes to put this sticky, stinky goo on your morning rice, would you be brave enough to try it on your ice cream?
- Dessert Spaghetti
We normally love to see inventive fusion foods, but a spaghetti-based dessert crosses some kind of line. The photo below is from a tea house in Nagoya that decided to try making noodles with green tea powder mixed into the dough. Rather than top it with tomato sauce, they opted for whipped cream. Certainly an interesting approach and it has attracted a lot of attention, but as one reviewer on a popular restaurant reviewing site said, “It starts out OK, but then HEARTBURN!!”
- Gyoza Parfait
Gyoza, sometimes called potstickers, are delicious Chinese-style stuffed dumplings usually served up crispy with a spicy soy-sauce-based dipping sauce. Or, you know, you could throw a few on top of an ice cream sundae, I guess. <shudder>
- Fried Chicken (or Fish) Parfait
We can sort of see the combination of fried food and ice cream working, at least for people who like a savory and sweet mix, but the addition of meat or seafood queers the deal. That’s just not kosher. Literally.
- Raw Tuna Parfait
This one doesn’t even have the slight appeal of fried food, it’s raw fish! This author happens to love this particular type of tuna, called katsuo in Japan, but it isn’t really a dessert food. The restaurant serves it on top of some citrus sorbet, to which a reviewer says “it doesn’t NOT go with the tuna, I guess.” Faint praise, indeed.
- Jumbo Size Parfait
There are some really giant sundaes in Japan. Usually, they are meant for four or five people to share and cost about 10,000 yen (US$100), but the photo below blows those puny things out off the menu! This ginormous creation from restaurant Yuzu-an in Kochi Prefecture used 165 liters of ice cream, served 300 people and cost a whopping 120,000 yen ($1,200). Just look at this craziness!
Still, at least none of them involves kimchi…
What’s the weirdest parfait concoction you’ve come across in your travels?