Turkish restaurants can be found here and there around Japan and if you’re lucky you might come across one that sells dondurma. This Turkish take on ice cream is usually offered out of the store front and not only provides a delicious treat but an entertaining spectacle as well.

Vendors can be seen stretching their ice cream to lengths of around a meter before serving and will often perform a little psych-out by pulling it back out of your hands with their big stick before finally handing it over.

Aside from the fun, dondurma is deadly delicious as well. Of course there’s the taste which puts it in league with other ice creams, but it has a unique texture that elevates it among the best. So, when Japanese convenience store chain Family Mart released a limited edition Turkish Style Ice Cream on 4 November we wanted in on the action. Apparently so did everyone else though, as supplies were nearly out only a few days after release.

Going fast

Hitting the streets for a cup of Toruko Fu Aisu (Turkish Style Ice Cream) didn’t seem like it would be a challenging assignment. However, the first Family Mart I came across had nothing but an empty basket in the freezer case.

Luckily Family Mart has been steadily spreading across the convenience store landscape in Osaka to the point that there seems to be one every block or so. Still, store after store greeted me with the same empty basket which read “Toruko Fu Aisu 120 yen (US$1).”

Granted I was tardy and went on 6 November, two days after Family Mart had begun to sell it, but it looks as if the public at large had jumped all over this product like a swarm of ice cream sharks. It’s no surprise either. Dondurma isn’t readily available in Japanese supermarkets and convenience stores, so this was a special treat.

Finally, after about seven Family Marts, I found one that had about five packs sitting at the bottom of their freezer. I hurriedly picked one up and got the lights of my food porn studio ready for action!


Opening the cup revealed what looked like a regular pack of vanilla ice cream.

However, dondurma uses special ingredients which are said to make it both chewier and more resistant to melting. First I wanted to try and make it all stretchy like the Turkish restaurant guys do.

Sadly, I couldn’t get much…

I figured the trick was to work it more with the spoon to make it stretch out far. Some people on Twitter seemed to have got it stretching well.

https://twitter.com/much_the_same/status/529497898988236800 https://twitter.com/pikapikachu245/status/529292745521651712 https://twitter.com/H729246342/status/529509159419392000

I wanted to try some more but I was afraid it would all melt away in the process. It was already starting to get mushy and by the looks of things I wouldn’t get another chance with Toruko Fu Aisu so it was time to dig in.

The flavor of the ice cream was a nicely rich vanilla. The flavor was a little stronger than other ice creams but not too overpowering. The real charm was in the texture though. It had a slightly gummy consistency that was just enough to provide firmness to the bite before yielding into the creamy goodness that you’d expect from some soft-serve.

Overall, it was a pure pleasure to eat, but one that may never return. I wanted to try to stretch it out again so went back to Family Mart the next morning, but it was all gone. If you can get your hands on some, Toruko Fu Aisu is a really good ice cream for a reasonable price. However, it’s looking more and more like only three days after launch Family Marts all over Japan have been picked clean of this limited edition snack.

Source: Naver Matome
Ice Cream Vendor Image: Wikipedia – Chris Gladis
All other images (c)  RocketNews24