Eating food is one of the highlights of travelling in Japan with so many delicious and fun things to eat, one of which is the weird Japanese ice cream flavors.
Some of the Japanese ice cream flavours seriously leave you scratching your head with questions of “why”, “no seriously why”, “wtf are they thinking”.
Well you got to be adventurous with new food right?
Most Japanese ice cream flavors are generally not that exciting and these flavors are definitely novelty ones. You can find a lot of them in touristy areas.
The Japanese eat a lot of seafood and not surprisingly a lot of the Japanese ice cream flavors are also seafood based.
If you’re a vegetarian you are going to hate some of these. Even if you’re not you will. Some are just flavored though and don’t contain any actual meat.
So if you’re going to Japan or are just curious about what weird ice creams can be eaten, then these are 10 that will give you an idea.
Be warned: some have chunky bits!
Weird Japanese Ice Cream Flavors
1. Squid Ink (Ikasumi)
Squid ink is one of the first flavors of Japanese ice cream I tried in Tokyo.
To be honest it’s not as bad as it sounds. No I’m lying it was (to my taste buds) horrible. It’s definitely not a flavor I expected when first arriving.
It has a mild fish taste to it and as it’s squid ink it has a black colour.
Wasabi is great to go with sushi but as an ice cream flavor is a bit over the top, although it’s certainly not the most weird one on this list.
Wasabi is basically a horseradish and is spicy. The ice cream flavor is not so different. Spicy ice cream? You decide on that one.
3. Fermented Soy Beans (Natto)
Natto is kind of a breakfast dish in Japan and is fermented soy beans that looks nasty and gooey (kind of like snot).
As an ice cream flavor you would not want to consider it for breakfast that’s for sure, but it’s not so bad being a sticky ice cream, although the smell and flavor can be strong and put you off.
If you don’t like octopus in real life (do you?) then you definitely won’t appreciate this one.
I’ll just say that it’s f*cking disgusting. Thankfully there are no live suckers to get past.
5. Chicken Wing
Imagine vanilla (mmmm) mixed with chicken wing.
Both taste awesome on their own, but mix them together and yeah not so much. But hey, if you love chicken wings who cares right?
A speciality of the Nagoya area.
6. Raw Horse Meat
Oh. My. God. Why!
I have tried horse meat a few times (especially in Kyrgyzstan) and am not a huge fan of it, never mind in ice cream.
Plus the fact that it sometimes actually has chunky bits of meat inside. This is a big no for me. It was my least favourite.
If you’re a vegetarian skip this.
Did you know Japanese also eat raw horse meat as a snack in bars?
Back to the sea again.
Compared with some others this is not so bad. Although it does have a certain “ocean” breeze about it, so to speak.
Just imagine a seaweed salad and you’ll be good to go. Just don’t imagine slimy seaweed.
Miso soup is a favourite little side dish with many meals in Japan. Kind of not too surprising to find it their ice cream as well then.
It’s a very briny ice cream from what I could tell. In the “western world” people have mixed caramel and honey in it which sounds great.
But miso on its own not so good.
Snakes freak me out in real life so why did they have to destroy one of my favourite things in life (ice cream) with it.
Ever tried snake before? Yeah same, same.
Thankfully there’s no fangs to get past, just the nasty flavor.
10. Beef Tongue
Apparently this is one of the most popular flavors of ice cream in Japan.
If you want to eat an ice cream made from beef tongue then go ahead. No surprise it tastes of beef.
I hated cow tongue as a meat and I certainly hated this ice cream as well.
Why do we put ourselves through these food nightmares again?
11. Green Tea
Absolutely nothing weird or wrong with this one at all. It is one of the most delicious ice creams in Japan and the whole world.
I just couldn’t let you leave feeling disgusted with the other flavors, and had to put some happy sweet thoughts in your mind.
Another great “normal” Japanese ice cream is black sesame. In fact combining green tea ice cream and black sesame together is quite common in Japanese restaurants, particularly outside Japan.
Weird Japanese Ice Cream Flavors
So there you have it, 10 seriously weird Japanese ice cream flavors to try.
Would you have any of these?
Some places even stack seven flavors onto one cone. Raw horse meat and octopus at the same time? Pass! I mean, why, just why? 😛
Check out some more Japanese food with 10 Japanese foods you should try. These are some of the best foods in Japan and sushi in particular is a personal favourite. Find out what the others are.
One of my favourite little ice cream places in Japan is in Otaru in Hokkaido. It has some “standard” tasting ice cream which is very tasty and you can also try some stranger ones like sea urchin (vomit). The name of the shop in Japanese is: 北のアイスクリーム屋さん.
But you will find in all different parts of Japan plenty of weird ice cream flavors to try!
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