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20 weird ice cream flavours that will TERRIFY your taste buds

“What’s your favourite ice cream flavour?” is probably one of the most popular ice-breakers in conversations right after star signs. If you know a thing or two about frozen desserts, you probably assume that chocolate lovers tend to be flirtatious, vanilla enthusiasts, idealists and those who prefer mint chocolate chip, argumentative—while strawberry is linked to having an introverted personality trait. But what if someone with an iron stomach walked up to you one fine day and admitted that their favourite ice cream flavour is ‘squid ink’?

Apart from red flags, this claim is bound to raise eyebrows. Does squid ink-flavoured ice cream actually exist? Who even likes this crazy flavour? Well, buckle up fellow humans. Here are 20 ice cream flavours that will make you kiss your tastebuds goodbye forever.

Spoiler alert: some of these even require you to sign a waiver before purchasing them!

1. Pet bird-flavoured ice cream

Japan seems like a good place to start for bizarre food trends. In 2013, Torimi Cafe—a peculiar place where customers can enjoy meals while being surrounded by birds—hatched a new recipe: pet bird-flavoured ice cream. Dubbed ‘Cockatiel’, ‘Java Sparrow’ and ‘Parakeet’, the three flavours are made with all-natural ingredients which merely imitate a bird’s flavour. No fowl play here, folks.

But in case you’re wondering what pet-bird flavours taste like, the cafe has got you covered. For ‘Java Sparrow’, imagine “the feeling of pressing the breast of a java sparrow into your mouth,” while ‘Cockatiel’ tastes like the moment “when you’re sleeping with your mouth open and your cockatiel runs over your face and gets its leg in your mouth.” Thanks for the mental image, Torimi Cafe.

20 weird ice cream flavours that will TERRIFY your taste buds

2. Cactus

If you ever find yourself stranded in a desert with nothing to eat but a cactus, you know what to do. At Fenocchio in Nice, France, this dessert from the desert actually sells. One of the reviews left on Tripadvisor for the ice cream parlour reads: “For years we have seen that they serve a cactus flavour… this trip we went for a single scoop. Unusual gingery taste to it. We won’t be having cactus ice cream again but we’ll definitely be back.”

Meanwhile, cactus-flavoured ice cream can also be found across Japan—with many claiming that it tastes like “drawing water from a cactus after being parched in a desert for days.” Now, that sounds tempting.

20 weird ice cream flavours that will TERRIFY your taste buds

3. Corn

It looks like corn. It tastes like corn. Behold, the majestic corn-flavoured ice cream! Available at places including the Sweet Rose Creamery in California and the Korean Lotte Confectionery in South Korea, the flavour in question combines the sweet taste of corn and the creamy relish of ice cream. But according to food blogger Daniel Gray, it tastes more like “soggy popcorn that fell on a pile of yellow snow.” Yikes!

20 weird ice cream flavours that will TERRIFY your taste buds

4. Beef tongue

You know what they say: when in Tokyo, eat beef tongue ice cream! At the Yokohama Ice Cream Expo held in Japan, the flavour in question was, in fact, the bestseller—attracting thousands of fans back in 2008. “We have ice cream from all over Japan—from Hokkaido in the north to Okinawa in the south—but beef tongue has been the one that people keep coming back for,” organiser Manabu Matsumoto once admitted in an interview. If you’re wondering what it tastes like, imagine tiny chunks of a cow’s tongue folded into a base vanilla flavour. Maybe visualising a tub of frozen milky beef stew will help too.

20 weird ice cream flavours that will TERRIFY your taste buds

5. Grass

If you’ve always wanted to taste a freshly-mowed lawn with a creamy texture, this is it. Available in places including Max and Mina’s in New York City and Chin Chin Ice Cream in North London, the ingredients of grass-flavoured ice cream include parsley, violet, lavender, lime leaves and lemongrass. At Chin Chin Ice Cream, you can even get your hands on ‘Chin Chin Freshly Cut Green Grass’ at a steal of £4.45 ($5.85) for a 200 ml serving.

6. Squid Ink

Okay, who woke up and thought it’d be a good idea to infuse a dessert with something from the depths of the ocean? Those who have tasted squid ink-flavoured ice cream describe the odd combination as “sweet, salty, fishy and metallic” all at once. And if those claims failed to raise your eyebrows, note that the one available at the Soft Ice Cream Shop in Japan apparently leaves your tongue black after consumption.

20 weird ice cream flavours that will TERRIFY your taste buds

7. Roasted garlic

Sorry, we’re still digesting the fact that garlic-flavoured ice cream exists on this planet. ‘Nuff said really.

8. Bagel

Forget the black and blue dress, a major debate polarising the internet for the past year is Jeni’s bagel-flavoured ice cream. To date, there have been threats to call the police, offers to trade their first-born child and reactions from “pretty damn good” and “not at all gross” to “the worst thing I have seen in my life” for this one. And guess what? Including sesame, poppy seed, onion and garlic streusel, the cream cheese ice cream in question is re-releasing on 21 March 2022.

9. Jellyfish

What if the creature that we scream at and run away from on beaches could be turned into a frozen delicacy? Well, that’s exactly what Charlie Harry Francis, award-winning inventor and owner of the company Lick Me I’m Delicious, thought while inventing jellyfish-flavoured dessert. While the protein extracted from the sea animal is its main ingredient, Harry Francis additionally worked with a scientist to synthesise the luminance of jellyfishes.

Simply put, the ice cream glows in the dark when you lick it. But to witness this neon green glow, you’ll have to invest £152 ($200) for a single scoop. So, here’s an image of the creation instead:

10. Beer

I scream, you scream, it’s craft beer ice cream! Carefully crafted to maximise the potential of a brew and bring out its best attributes, beer ice cream is available in flavours including ‘Honey IPA’ and ‘Brown Ale Chip’ at Atlanta-based ice creamery Frozen Pints. “We were having a barbecue, and a friend of mine happened to bring over an ice cream maker,” founder Ari Fleischer said in an interview. “One thing led to another, and my buddy actually spilled his beer right next to the ice cream maker. I saw it happen, and it just kind of clicked—why not pour it in and see how it turns out?” Well, thanks to Fleischer and his friend, you can now eat your beer.

11. Sweet potato

American fast food chain McDonald’s is not far behind in crazy ice cream adventures. In 2018, some McDonald’s locations in Hong Kong started offering sweet potato ice cream—served in Oreo waffle cones. While the lilac soft serves packed quite an aesthetic punch contrasted by dark cones, those who tried the flavour have described it as “a mellow, gentle sweet taste” which was anything but bland.

“The taste requires a bit more time to settle on your palette, and requires a little more searching and identifying on your taste buds, but the effort is worth it, as the taste is incredible,” a food blogger wrote while sampling sweet potato-flavoured ice cream in Kamakura, Japan.

12. Cicada (yes, the sound-producing insects)

You might want to grab onto your churning stomachs for this one. In 2011, Sparky’s Homemade Ice Cream in Columbia, Missouri, triggered health officials when it whipped up an ice-cream infused with cicadas. Literally. To prepare the batch, employees collected the insects from their backyards. After removing most of their wings and legs (some of which were used to garnish the top layer), the bugs were boiled and coated in brown sugar and milk chocolate. They were then mixed with a base ice cream flavour and sold to customers—who reportedly loved it and compared the zest to the taste of peanuts. Turns out anything can be an ice cream flavour if you add milk, cream and sugar to it, huh?

13. Coriander

If you still believe pizza-flavoured ice cream is a sin, McDonald’s China is here to rewrite that narrative once and for all. Last month, the fast food chain took the internet by storm with the debut of a limited-edition McFlurry sundae—with vanilla ice cream (so far, so good), coriander sauce and a topping of crispy coriander flakes. Say what now? Costing ¥6.60 (roughly £1), the bizarre creation was immediately branded as a “crime against humanity.”

14. Deep Fried Oyster

In Japan, the locals call this savoury-sweet flavour a combination of “milk from the land” and “milk from the sea.” Available for ¥300 (roughly £2), the Mickey Mouse-looking dessert consists of two deep-fried breaded oysters embedded into a soft serve on either side with salty oyster sauce. Many enthusiasts who have tried this flavour admit that it sounds terrible but is surprisingly delicious. I guess you’ll have to find out for yourself.

15. Lobster

Another questionable dessert invented by mankind is lobster-infused ice cream. Created in 1988 by Ben & Bill’s Chocolate Emporium in Bar Harbor, Maine, the flavour includes real chunks of local lobster folded into each bite of vanilla ice cream. While many patrons have left positive reviews of the combination—by stating that the creamy vanilla matches the buttery lobster pretty well—there’s just something about mixing seafood with dairy that makes our stomachs churn.

16. Broccoli

Well well well, if it isn’t the food crime of the century!

17. Mamushi snake

Erm… maybe broccoli doesn’t actually sound like a bad idea after all. Bet hey, what doesn’t kill you makes a great ice cream flavour, right? At least that must be the motto behind Tokyo’s mamushi ice cream. For the uninitiated, mamushi is one of the most venomous snakes in Japan and is the main ingredient of the ice cream infused with the animal. An iron-stomached enthusiast who tried the flavour described their experience as: “My taste buds were fully aware of three parts—garlic, a bit of almond, but the third standout, well, I’ve never had viper before in any form (solid and liquid included) so that must’ve been it.” You’ve hit the jackpot, my friend!

18. Thanksgiving dinner

Have you ever sat down for a Thanksgiving dinner and wanted to gobble up the entire table at once? Enter The Ice Cream Store in Delaware, known for its ‘Thanksgiving Dinner’ flavour made of mashed potatoes, green beans and tomatoes with vanilla ice cream.

19. Breast milk

In 2011, Matt O’Connor, founder of Fathers 4 Justice and author of The Icecreamists, gained notoriety for making ‘Baby Gaga’ ice cream from donated breast milk. At the time, the flavour was launched with the help of Victoria Hiley, a breastfeeding mother and advocate who answered an advertisement asking for breast milk on Mumsnet. According to reports, Hiley donated 850 ml of breast milk which helped make the first 50 servings of the ice cream. It was then relaunched as ‘Royal Baby Gaga’ in 2015—following the birth of Princess Charlotte and to remind the Duchess of Cambridge and mothers around the UK of the benefits of breastfeeding.

As for the flavour, in this case, breast milk is apparently blended with Madagascan vanilla pods and lemon zest.

20. And lastly… crocodile eggs

It’s another normal day at the Sweet Spot Ice Cream in the Philippines, where employees make dessert with nothing but milk, cream, sugar and… crocodile eggs. Yes, you read that right. Claiming that they’re healthier than chicken eggs, the flavour combines crocodile eggs with sweet Durian fruits. At least the ice cream won’t bite back, I guess?

10 of the weirdest New Year’s traditions from around the world

Don’t let 2020 put you off feeling the usual lust for life for the new year, it still is a new year after all. New years don’t really mean more than simply ticking another day off a calendar, but some of us need an extra push to remind ourselves that goals are there to be reached. We like the idea of a fresh plate—so sue us!. Whatever way you look at a new year, it’s a holiday nonetheless. Here are some of the weirdest traditions that take place around the world to reign in the ‘next chapter’.

Italy: toss furniture out the window

In some parts of Italy such as Naples (or Napoli), Italians really take the ‘new year new me’ approach very seriously. Following the motto of ‘out with the old’ to the letter, the tradition is to throw away old or unwanted furniture from balconies to symbolise a fresh start for the year ahead. A word of caution: let’s hope the locals stick to smaller, lighter objects.

Scotland: first-foot

Scotland has the tradition of something called a first-footing (‘quaaltagh’ or ‘qualtagh’), which stands for the luck of the first foot (person) that crosses the threshold of a household after midnight on New Year’s Eve. In many areas, the first foot should bring a symbolic gift such as coal, coins or whisky. Generally, the tradition requires the first-foot to be a tall dark-haired male who is not already in the house when midnight strikes. Wouldn’t object to a tall dark-haired man walking through my front door, that’s for sure.

Germany: pocketed carp scales

A carp is a fish, just to get that out there. People in Germany traditionally enjoy a meal of Silvesterkarpfen, translated in english as ‘New Year’s carp’. The fish can be cooked in any preference; steamed, fried or smoked, you get the gist. The carp fish is quite expensive and hard to find, and because of this it has become a superstitious tradition to pluck a scale from the fish and keep it in your wallet for the entire year, with the hopes of it bringing abundance and money. Stanky, if you ask me.

Philippines: round things

In the Philippines, the new year is all about the money, honey. With, like the Germans, hopes to bring prosperity and wealth for the year to come, Filipinos believe that by surrounding themselves with round things (derived from the shape of coins), they will entice more money into their lives! Expect a lot of polka dot clothing, actual coins and whichever  round things you can think of to be dotted about.

Japan: rings

With a less round context in mind, Japanese new year (or ‘Oshogatsu’) is welcomed at midnight with 108 bells being rung in Buddhist Temples all over Japan to banish the 108 worldly desires that all humans have. The bells (called ‘Joya no Kane’) that are rung are believed to cleanse humans of their sins from the previous year. The final 108th strike carries the meaning of letting go of those worries being thought of in the 107 bells prior. What’s that saying, the truth always rings through? Anyway, I wish them well, and possibly some ear muffs.

Latin America: colourful underwear

In Latin American countries, especially Mexico, Bolivia and Brazil, your year ahead is determined by the colour of your undergarments. Among a few of the colour codes are red, which will bring love, yellow for wealth and white for peace. What will you desire? I personally want it all, does it still count if I layer up?

Ecuador: burning scarecrows

Scarecrows built to resemble people, like pop stars, politicians or other notable figures are bonfired up at midnight of New Year’s Eve in Ecuador. They are stuffed with newspaper or sawdust and adorned with a mask, and hold a symbolic cleansing from any ill-fortune that has happened in the previous year. This tradition, called ‘año viejo’ (old year) can hold extra cleansing credit for those that jump the flames that their scarecrows burn in 12 times, representing each month of the year.

Denmark: it’s all about plates

The Danes see the tradition of smashing plates against the doors of neighbours to wish them good luck for the next year, as well as friends and family. Love someone? Hurl a plate at their home entrances as hard as you can! Makes sense, right? All year round, unused plates are saved for the 31 December, and it is believed that the bigger the pile of broken plates, the more friends and good luck they’ll have in the coming year. All I’m thinking about is the people that live in the suburbs, poor souls might not have a neighbour for miles!

Spain: eat grapes

Eat 12 grapes (‘Las doce uvas de la suerte’ or the twelve grapes of luck) at every strike starting 12 seconds before midnight, and you will be lucky and prosperous for the whole of the year to come—if you finish them in time, that is. The taste of the grape, sweet or sour, also determines the prosperity to come. Sounds easy enough, but I can assure you that it is absolutely not. You can wish a romantic New Year’s Eve snog goodbye too. I’m talking drool, everywhere.

Finland: cast tin

In Finland, New Year’s Eve also takes part in fortune telling. It is tradition to be given a small piece of tin that is shaped like a horseshoe (the symbol of good luck in many places of the world). The miniature horseshoe is then melted to liquid and quickly tossed into a bucket of cold water, which immediately hardens it into a more or less irregular shape as you can imagine, but the shapes are then examined and interpreted to predict the events to come in the next year. If the cast breaks down to pieces, well… I don’t need to tell you what that means.

Whatever you’re doing for this new year, which is bound to be a contrast to what we have known the event to be in the past, why not try one or two out for the sake of it?