Tongue-burning dessert: Japanese village challenges tourists with habanero-laced ice cream - GulfToday

Tongue-burning dessert: Japanese village challenges tourists with habanero-laced ice cream

A habanero-laced ice cream is offered to a tourist in Hirata, Japan.

Gulf Today Report

Hirata, a small village in Japan's Fukushima Prefecture, is famous for challenging tourists to try spicy ice cream topped with habanero (a variety of hot peppers).

The ice cream is sprinkled with varying amounts of pepper powder, depending on the person's tolerance for that particular ice cream.

Customers are required to sign a waiver that absolves the seller of liability before trying it.

The famous "Hirata" ice cream story dates back to the Fukushima disaster in 2011, before the tsunami struck the area and fears of radioactive repercussions, and the village did not face any problems in selling vegetables, which are the village's livelihood.

A staffer prepares a habanero-laced ice cream.

But then it all started to fall apart, and the locals started looking for new ways to earn a living.

The idea of growing habanero pepper attracted three farmers without thinking much about the fact that it was too hot for most Japanese consumers, but they couldn't find a market for their produce, and adding the pepper to the miso and curry wasn't good either.

A staffer shows the habanero-laced ice cream.

In 2015, farmers came up with the idea of using hot vegetables as a soft ingredient for ice cream, and the idea spread, and this type of ice cream became an essential part of the village's marketing efforts.

And making the spicy ice cream is not the easiest job in the world. Workers wear gloves, masks and goggles as they spray tongue-burning chili powder.

Those brave enough to try this ice cream can choose different degrees of temperature, and the spicy ice cream retails for 500 yen ($3.80) and is offered free if the competitor manages to finish one.

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