Step aside, vanilla. To kick off National Ice Cream Month and celebrate the Fourth of July, our readers share the most unusual flavors they’ve ever had the pleasure (or pain) of tasting while traveling.
So, cup or cone, take a deep breath and give one of these flavors a try the next time you need a cool treat to beat the heat.
What better way to get a taste of a country’s local fruit than to have it in your ice cream? Nicky recommends star gooseberry-flavored ice cream in Chiang Mai, Thailand, while Nico says “you will love” Southeast Asia’s cempedak flavor.
Durian was a popular flavor among our storied travelers, sampled by readers while visiting Phnom Penh, Bangkok, and Singapore.
Though apples may rank lower on the exotic scale (at least for Americans), apple ice cream is “delicious!” according to Stan, who got a taste of it in Krakow. “Why isn’t that more popular around the world?” he asks. Good question.
Avocado, bitter melon, and chamoy also received mentions.
KJ was surprised by how much he liked the smoked salmon ice cream he tried in Valencia.
On the other hand, Laura’s experience with bacalao, or dried salt cod fish, was “not awful, but one taste was sufficient.” Try it for yourself (if you dare) along with other unusual flavors at Heladeria Lares in Lares, Puerto Rico.
Bizarre flavors readers came across in Asia include squid ink, sardine, and lobster.
Many of our readers reported trying garlic ice cream (including Traveler Associate Editor Amy Alipio!), though not all of them relished the experience. “I didn’t want to eat it but I had more daring friends,” one reader says. Try it at the Gilroy Garlic Festival near San Jose later this month (July 26-28) and at the Stinking Rose restaurant in San Francisco any time of year.
Other adventurous gourmands tried nutmeg, ginger, and even jalapeno and were rewarded for their daring.
“You haven’t lived until you’ve tried the nutmeg ice cream on our beautiful island of spice,” said the fine folks at Grenada Seafaris Powerboat Adventure.
If one spice doesn’t do it for you, try the all-encompassing masala ice cream, two readers recommend. “It tasted like chai.” says Melany, who encountered the flavor in Cape Town.
- Nat Geo Expeditions
Looking for a buzz without the hangover? Try Red Bull ice cream. (Although, fair warning: One reader thought it was “blargh.”) Otherwise, give the green tea flavor a try in China.
But for the mother of all strange ice cream offerings, travel to Heladeria Coromoto in Mérida, Venezuela, known for offering up a Guinness World Record-setting 860 flavors — including mushrooms and wine.
The shop has made ice cream out of “everything edible you can think of,” says Silvia, who tried their black beans and shrimp flavors. “I was reluctant at first, and I thought I was going to lose my cookies just thinking about it, but it was delicious!”
For Laura, who tried the bacalao ice cream at Coromoto, the establishment turned out to be more than just a parlor with an endless selection. Determined to sample the unique shop’s fare, she found that the clerk spoke only Spanish.
“It was a tasty way to learn a bit of Spanish,” she said.
What’s your favorite unusual ice cream flavor and where can we try it? Let us know by leaving a comment.