You know what I noticed about ice-cream in Japan? Some of the flavors are REALLY different, just things I wouldn’t have thought of making into ice cream. When I first came to Japan, one of the the things that struck me as interesting was how much smaller the containers of ice cream were in Japan. I walked through JUSCO, my local grocery store, and saw these little, cute 120 ml (almost 1/2 cup exactly) containers of Haagen Daas ice cream in the frozen foods section of the store. In the U.S. I’m used to seeing these huge, honkin’ (big) gallons of ice cream. It’s been a while, but I remember seeing Blue Bell, Edy’s, Ben & Jerry’s, Mayfield, and some of the other popular ice-cream makers. But I never, ever remember seeing containers of ice-cream this small. It’s wonderful if your trying to lose weight, because the serving sizes are so much smaller. But it sucks if you’re trying to go on an ice-cream binge because it’d take about twenty of these containers to pull it off. You know what? They’re expensive, too. This tiny container is …. and cost 247 yen. Even if the yen was at the 2008 exchange rates, that would be 247 yen for …. of ice cream. I remember being able to get nearly a gallon of ice cream for the price of two of these small containers.I LOVE ICE CREAM! There are so many different types, so many flavors, so many different shops to buy from. I must say that my favorite type of ice cream in the U.S. would flip-flop between prailines and cream (a vanilla-based ice cream with streaks of caramel, and candy-coated peanuts) and cookies and cream (‘nuff said). Let me not get started on the Butterfinger Blizzards from Dairy Queen…OH MY GOSH!
But here in Japan, you don’t have all of the same shops/ice-cream makers that you have in the United States. There is no Dairy Queen to speak of, and I haven’t seen Edy’s or Ben & Jerry’s in any of the grocery stores I’ve been to. Haagen Dazs, and …… have been my main sources of ice cream in the the stores. As far as shops, it’s usually Cold Stone Creamery or Baskin Robbins. In Japan, though, saying Baskin Robbins will probably get you a lot of blank stares. It’s endearingly known as 31 (referring to the 31 flavors Baskin Robbins is known for). The ice cream shops are just as good as they are back home, but slightly more expensive.There are flavors of ice cream that you may find in Japan that you don’t really see much of elsewhere. I had never tasted matcha (green tea) ice cream until I cam here. The same with sweet potato. I don’t ever have any intention of trying natto ice cream, but it does exist. There’s wasabe ice cream as well. Do you know what wasabe is? You sometimes see the tiniest dabs of it added to sushi. Just a little is enough to take off your whole face. I remember eating too much wasabe in one go, and it felt like I had found the cure to the common cold or at least cleared my sinuses and tear ducts for the rest of eternity. A former student of mine told me that there’s an ice-cream museum here in Japan, and I need to ask here where it is. I’ve heard they have some odd flavors there, too. One of them being chicken ice cream (with real chicken pieces in it!).
What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?
What’s your favorite ice cream shop?
If you live in Japan, have you tried any flavors that aren’t so common in the U.S.? (Green tea/matcha?, sweet potato?, natto (not kidding)?)
Please let me know in the comments section. I’ll go first…