The main ingredient of “Tear Gas” Ice-cream is black peppercorns, a reminder of more than 16,000 pungent, peppery tear gas fired by police on the streets, some even densely populated districts in Hong Kong 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, who experienced tear gas at a protest. “I think it’s a flashback that reminds me of how painful I felt in the movement, and that I shouldn’t forget.”
The flavour is a sign of support for the pro-democracy movement, which is seeking to regain its momentum during the coronavirus pandemic, the shop’s owner said.
“We would like to make a flavour that reminds people that they still have to persist in the protest movement and don’t lose their passion, ” he said.
One of the Twitter user uploaded pictures of the ice-cream shop and of course tried the ice-cream, with a feedback ” It’s terrible but I love it! ” For him, it taste more like pepper spray than tear gas, it simultaneously cools and burns the throat. It’s evil and Highly recommended!
I’m eating Sogno Gelato’s infamous “tear gas” flavour ice-cream. It’s terrible, I love it.
The secret ingredient is black pepper, and honestly it’s more like pepper spray (duh) than tear gas, but it simultaneously cools and burns the throat. It’s evil. Highly recommended. pic.twitter.com/PDsb9ZNKIA
— Hong Kong Hermit (@HongKongHermit) January 14, 2020
He 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 emphasize 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.
The ice cream shop also provides a space for people to express their views about the movement, including the use of sticky notes that featured in the “Lennon walls” that appeared throughout the territory at the height of the demonstrations.
At about $5 per 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.
The demonstration have mostly died away as the city fights the coronavirus, but there are widespread expectations that larger actions may emerge during the summer.