ice cream

Distinctive Japanese Häagen-Dazs lids proving unusually versatile

Ice cream manufacturer Häagen-Dazs is pretty popular in Japan. The company has a large enough market share to run near-constant ads inside subway and above-ground train cars; usually a pretty good indicator of market success since ads on JR trains cost, approximately, all the dollars that ever were or ever will be.

One reason for the brand’s popularity in Japan – other than, you know, it tastes good – is the fancy, sturdy packaging used for individually-portioned cups. Now, most people just like them because it contributes to the brand’s premium mystique, but it turns out a lot of Japanese Twitter users are finding recently that the sturdy, distinctive plastic lids have a huge variety of neat, bonus utility and decorative uses even after all the ice cream inside is gone.

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Lotte answers all the ice cream questions you always wanted to know but never knew who to ask

Summer is here! Finally, we can eat gallons of ice cream without looking like weirdos again! We might be sweating and smellier than a gym sock in Tokyo, but at least we have ice cream and that makes it all worth it.

But how much do you really know about your ice cream? We recently discovered that Lotte, a producer of numerous delicious treats in Japan, has a FAQ purporting to answer all your burning (melting?) ice cream questions. See if yours is on the list below!

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

People in Japan love parfait. From massive concoctions topped with an entire slice of cake to more inventive creations designed to represent Japanese bonsai, we’ve always been keen to share the best of our frozen dessert finds with our dear readers, and today is no exception.

Because today we bring you the fish parfait. To be specific, this is a lightly grilled sashimi bonito parfait, which combines the rich, succulent flavours of seared fish and garlic with the sweet taste of ice cream. So what is it that makes this such a successful combination?

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Japan’s 10 weirdest ice cream flavors

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.

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You won’t believe your eyes! Old opthalmologist’s shop in Taiwan is now an ice cream shop

One of the best things about taking a holiday abroad is basking in the glory of all the historical architecture of the area. Another amazing thing about it is eating delicious food and buying tons of yummy goodies to bring home. So if you’re thinking of visiting Taiwan any time soon, you’d be crazy to pass up an opportunity to visit this olde-world opthalmologist’s shop that’s been turned into a swanky ice cream, cake and sweets shop!

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Beautiful “Blue Chocolate of Happiness” turned into ice cream, available by advance order only!

So, chocolate and ice cream —  a delightful combination any way you look at it, right? And nowhere in the world can you expect the combination to be appreciated more than in Japan, the land of the Valentines’ Day chocolate craze and unbelievable ice cream flavors.

As a matter of fact, the Japanese love both foods so much that we couldn’t be satisfied with just regular chocolate ice cream. We had to create an extra-special version of the combination, and you only have to take one look at the picture of the ice cream to see how unique it is. Available only by advance order, it’s ice cream made from the Quernon d’Ardoise chocolate from France … and it comes in a bright, eye-popping blue!

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The world’s most matcha-intense ice cream experience is waiting for you in Shizuoka

Even though Japan has been widely enjoying green tea for centuries and Western-style desserts for decades, it’s really only in the past 10 or 15 years that green tea sweets have really exploded in popularity. Out of the many varieties of green tea, matcha is considered to be the most luxuriously gourmet, with a richly deep aroma, flavor, and color.

The problem, though, it that matcha can be strongly bitter, which is why it’s usually served with Japanese confectionaries to take a little of its edge off. As such, a lot of sweets are billed as matcha fumi, or “green tea-taste” to show that while they’ve got a hint of matcha flavor, they’re not so heavily loaded with the stuff.

But if you want to unleash the full, unbridled force of matcha on your palate while you satisfy your craving for dessert, this shop in Shizuoka Prefecture boasts it has the most matcha-intense ice cream in the world.

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We try some chicken ramen-flavored ice cream at Chikira-House in Osaka

Alongside Kit Kat bars, carbonated beverages, and potato chips, ice cream is one food Japanese flavor engineers love to monkey with. In the past we’ve seen frozen desserts flavored with great tastes such as scallops, vegetables, and pork.

This time we caught word of a little shop in Shin-Osaka Station offering travelers the cold and creamy taste of chicken ramen-flavored ice cream. So we hopped a train over to check it out and grab a self-heating chiki-bento while we were at it.

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New “peach and berry tart” Crispy Sandwich from Häagen-dazs makes spring debut

The weather is finally getting warmer and the cherry blossoms are starting to peek out here in Tokyo. So naturally, we’ve started planning all the snacks we’re going to much on during our cherry-blossom viewing parties and picnics.

We’ve already staked out some room in our tummies for Magnolia Bakery’s cherry blossom cupcakes, but we have to consider our ice-cream needs, too. For portable snacking, Häagen-Dazs‘ range of Crispy Sandwich ice cream treats are always a great option. And, as luck would have it, they’re rolling out a special new flavour for spring: Peach and Berry Tart!

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Avocados and ice cream: the newest gross food trend hitting Twitter in Japan

A while back we reported that Japan’s Twitter users couldn’t stop eating peaches with mozzarella cheese. We were creeped out at first, but the flavour combo even made its way into the legitimate snack companies’ repertoire, so there must have been something in it. This time, however, it seems the crazy tastebud thrillseekers out there have gone a step further by combining vanilla ice cream with avocado (and occasionally, even soy sauce).

But why would any sane person do this, and what does it taste like?

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Black Mont Blanc: The most loved ice cream in Japan you can only buy in Kyushu

Usually when people talk about “culture shock,” we think of moving to another country–but it doesn’t have to be limited to that. It can be anything from moving from one prefecture to another or even just moving into the city from the country or vice versa.

Of course, you can’t get much more “city” than Tokyo, so, of course, many Japanese people moving here from more rural areas might experience a bit of culture shock. And today we’ll be looking at one such example for one of our Japanese writers who came to the metropolis from Kyushu! Hint: it involves delicious ice cream.

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Häagen-Dazs releases new mochi ice cream, and it’s amazing! 【Taste test】

There are a ton of different ways to eat mochi, with roasting it or dropping it into soup or hot pots being some of the more common. Outside of Japan, though, many people’s first encounter with mochi is in the form of ice cream-filled mochi spheres sold at specialty grocers.

But while they make a tasty treat, what would happen if you reversed the process, and instead of putting ice cream in mochi, put mochi into ice cream? That’s the question posed by Häagen-Dazs new kinako kuromitsu mochi ice cream, and we’re here with the answer.

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Frozen marshmallow cream: Just two ingredients, at least as good as ice cream 【RocketKitchen】

Every now and again, we stumble across a dessert recipe that’s so simple and tasty, it almost feels like we’ve discovered some sort of hidden secret that man wasn’t meant to know. Last year, we found out that instead of making pancakes one at a time, we could just make one huge one in a rice cooker, sprinkle in some green tea powder, and have a dessert that looks and tastes great with no fuss at all.

But what if you prefer chilled desserts to hotcakes? No problem. We recently tried a recipe for a frozen marshmallow dessert that may or may not technically be ice cream, but amazingly creates something that tastes even better from just two ingredients, and takes almost as few steps to make.

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What horrifying faces can be found in smiling ice cream? Let us show you!

Michelangelo once said he sees “in every block of marble, a statue as plain as though it stood before him.” He speaks the truth; sometimes you can’t help but see a masterful work of art begging to be exposed from everyday objects. Especially when the item has already been anthropomorphized with a smiley face!

The eternal artist doesn’t allow such a great opportunity to pass them by. A Japanese ice cream called “Panapp” provides an excellent chance to sculpt a face in your dessert. It’s the snack that smiles right back, until you scream your face off!

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Melon topped with ice cream: two great Hokkaido tastes in one crazily delicious package

Japan sure loves its parfaits, and while they all come with tasty toppings, the most highly regarded come crowned with fruit. But what if you turned the concept on its head, and instead took a piece of premium produce, then added a cone’s worth of ice cream on top?

You’d have our newest dessert infatuation: the fresh melon soft serve.

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A little sweet with your spicy? Tokyo restaurant serves curry with strawberries and ice cream

One of the great things about curry is how versatile it is. The standard way to eat the spicy dish in Japan is with carrots, potatoes, onions, and pork, but you can also toss in chicken, shrimp, beef, or tuna. Things are wide open when it comes to vegetables, too, with some people opting for eggplant, spinach, or tomatoes.

But why limit yourself to just meats and veggies? One curry restaurant in Tokyo feels its menu should be inclusive of the entire food pyramid, and will fix you a plate of curry rice that represents the fruit and dairy groups in the forms of curry with strawberries and even ice cream.

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Baskin Robbins’ new year lucky bags are Snoopy-tastic! (Also, free ice cream!)

We’ve been bringing you all the the details on the year’s best fukubukuro – or “lucky bags” – today, but no roundup of these wonderful New Year’s goodie bags would be complete without a visit to ice cream purveyor Baskin Robbins Japan. Let’s find out what frozen delights were hidden in their bag!

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The double-cheese-mayonnaise-melon-bread is a mouthful in more ways than one

When the humbly named “World’s Second-Most Delicious Ice Cream Melon Bread” bakery in Kanazawa blessed the world with its ice cream-filled melon bread this past year, it was a massive hit. The creamy fusion was so popular that its makers opened up another shop in Shibuya in July so that even more people could fall in love with the creamy lumps of guilty goodness.

If you thought the bakery was satisfied with giving customers just one new way to enjoy melon bread, though, think again. They’ve recently put out a new, more mysterious item dubbed the double-cheese-mayonnaise-melon-bread.

What on earth could it possibly taste like? And what does its absurdly long name even mean? We went to find out for ourselves.

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Love banana bread? Love ice cream? You can have both with this Banana Bread Ice Cream Sandwich!

We certainly seem to have an affinity for bananas here in Japan. We love bananas so much, in fact, that we’ve even seen them made into sushi on occasion. So we guess it’s not unreasonable to expect banana bread to also be popular in Japan, which is apparently what the folks at Japanese confection maker Morinaga are counting on with their newly released ice cream product. Yes, their new Banana Bread Ice Cream Sandwich lets you have both banana bread and ice cream at the same time!

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Sheep-flavored ice cream from Baskin Robbins Japan tastes like dreams

In celebration of 2015, Baskin Robbins Japan has created a special flavor inspired by sheep, this year’s animal according to the Chinese zodiac. And while it may not actually taste like lamb, it has enough imagery inspired by the woolen animal to make you say, “BAA!”

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