A Honk Kong entrepreneur has come up with an ingenious way of keeping the semi-autonomous city’s recent protests for democracy alive in people’s memories – by introducing a pungent, throat irritating ice-cream flavor reminiscent of tear gas.
The shop owner, who preferred to remain anonymous, told reporters that he created the new “tear gas” ice cream flavor as 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”. After trying several ingredients and combinations, including wasabi or mustard, the owner settled on black pepper, both because of its pungent smell and the way it can irritate the throat, just like actual tear gas.
We would like to make a flavor that reminds people that they still have to persist in the protest movement and don’t lose their passion,” the man said. “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.”
Priced at a spicy $5 a scoop, the tear gas ice cream has been a hit, with the shop selling 20-30 scoops per day, before the social distancing measures were introduced. Some of those who have tried it said that the frozen treat actually reminded them of the sensation of inhaling tear gas during last year’s protests against Hong Kong’s China-backed government.
“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,” one customer who also attended the protests said. “I think it’s a flashback that reminds me of how painful I felt in the movement, and that I shouldn’t forget.”
Protests have died down in Hong Kong since the Covid-19 pandemic hit the island city, but people are unlikely to forget why they took to the streets anytime soon.