Hong Kong shop offers ‘tear gas’ flavour ice cream

HONG KONG (AP) — Tear gas is among the new flavours at a Hong Kong ice cream shop.

The main ingredient is black peppercorns, a reminder of the pungent, peppery rounds fired by police on the streets of the semi-autonomous Chinese city during months of demonstrations last year. “It tastes like tear gas. It feels difficult to breathe at first, and it’s really pungent and irritating. It makes me want to drink a lot of water immediately,” said customer Anita Wong.

The shop’s owner tried different ingredients, including wasabi and mustard, in an effort to replicate the taste of tear gas. Black pepper, he said, came closest to tear gas with its throat-irritating effects.

“We roast and then grind whole black peppercorns and make them into gelato, the Italian style. It’s a bit hot, but we emphasise its aftertaste, which is a sensation of irritation in the throat. It just feels like breathing in tear gas,” the 31-year-old owner said.

At about USD5 a serving, tear gas ice cream has been a hit. Prior to social distancing regulations over the coronavirus outbreak, the shop’s owner said he was selling 20-30 scoops per day.

A scoop of tear gas flavour ice cream, in Hong Kong. A Hong Kong ice cream shop has created this flavour using pepper. PHOTO: AP