Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Staying Cool in Summer (With Ice Cream)

It's been so hot and humid here in Tokyo lately.  It never ceases to amaze me that a place that can be so humid in the summer can be so dry in the winter (and on an island no less!)  Coming from North Carolina it's not like John and I aren't used to heat and humidity, but it's a different experience without central air and cars.  Of course there are lots of coping mechanisms (that I'll blog about later), but the best one is probably ice cream.  I've been trying out some interesting flavors, so here are my thoughts so far.

Melona Bars

These are without a doubt my new favorite popsicles!  They have a wonderful honeydew flavor, and in such a small size they're only 65 calories each.  I've also had melon popsicles that are icy, but these are a wonderful creamy texture - sort of like a creamsicle (without the vanilla middle).  I believe they're originally Korean, and not always easy to find.  But if you do, they are the BEST!

My mouth is watering

Salt and Litchi Popsicles

There's a popular drink that's salt and lychee flavored.  I thought it was a strange combination, but it actually tastes really nice.  I'm a sucker for anything lychee, and this reminds me a little of a gatorade.  The salt flavor isn't overpowering, and it reminds me of my grandfather putting salt on his watermelon when I was a kid.  It's probably good for rehydrating when you're sweating a lot in summer.

Last week I found a popsicle version of the drink, so of course I had to try it.

The bar is a typical icy popsicle texture on the outside, and then the inside has a crunchy texture, more like a granita.  I've experienced this in other popsicles, so I think it must be a popular popsicle style.  It was good, but not something I would crave on a regular basis.

Ghana Ice Cream Bars

Raku has been on a hunt for ice cream sandwiches, but we can't find them anywhere!  The closest we've gotten is this bizarre hybrid that makes me laugh every time I see it.

Yes, it's exactly what it looks like.  They basically took a bar of vanilla ice cream and dipped two thirds of it in chocolate and nuts, like you might with a regular ice cream bar.  But then they made the last third into an ice cream sandwich.  You have to use the sandwich part as the handle and eat the bar part first or else I guess you could try and hold it inside the wrapper.  It tastes good, but it's a really strange concept.

Seriously, who thought of this?

Super Cups

Regular ice cream is almost exclusively sold in individual cups.  Haagen Dazs makes a ton of flavors, but those are almost $3 per cup (usually about 284 yen).  Super Cups are a more budget friendly option (about 120 yen each), but the flavors are much more limited.  Vanilla is always available, and I believe Matcha is also (not that I want to eat green tea ice cream ever).  But I think there is also always one seasonal flavor.  Right now it's  Mint Chocolate Chip, which is fantastic!  A friend tells me they also have cookies and cream, and cheesecake flavor at different times throughout the year, but she recommends the mint chocolate chip most highly.

Suica and Melon Bars

These are the icy texture melon popsicles I mentioned earlier.  They are incredibly cute, but I don't think the flavor is as good as the Melona.  They each have little rice krispie sort of things to look like seeds.  In the melon bar they are coated in white chocolate and in the suica (watermelon) bar they are coated in milk chocolate.  I think I might have liked them more without the "seeds," but they do add a lot to the appearance.  I've seen combination boxes in the grocery stores, and individual suica bars (but not the green melon ones) in convenience stores.

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