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I scream, you scream, we all scream for…snake-flavored ice cream?

While every man and woman working for RocketNews24 can boast a way with words, thirst for adventure, and pleasant smell, none of us can really match Mr. Sato when it comes to absorbing and emanating sheer craziness. So while I was pretty proud of the courage I showed last year in eating ramen ice cream, it was only a matter of time until Mr. Sato made his way to the same ice cream stand and ate something even stranger.

Well, actually he ate two things that’re stranger than ramen ice cream, but I’m getting ahead of myself. First, let’s set the stage by travelling once again to the city of Iwakuni in Yamaguchi Prefecture, and crossing over the scenic Nishikigawa River by walking across the beautiful Kintai Bridge.

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Once there, tucked between the road that parallels the river and the buildings of the historic samurai quarter, you’ll find an enclave of eateries. Among them is Musashi, an ice cream shop that’s often billed in magazine’s and travel programs as having more than 100 flavors.

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▼ Just a portion of Musashi’s massive menu

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But even with Musashi’s list of flavors being as long as it is, its owners are always trying to add more, and on the day Mr. Sato stopped by there were 165 options on offer.

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Some of these are intriguing combinations like strawberry cocoa, banana coffee, and matcha kinako. One section of Musashi’s menu, though, is reserved for novelty flavors. Mr. Sato decided to follow in my footsteps by ordering a cone of ramen ice cream for 350 yen (US$3.20), and also managed to neatly one-up my feat of culinary daring by also asking for a cone of Musashi’s ayu ice cream (priced at 500 yen).

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Rather than long strings of boiled noodles, the ramen ice cream has small segments of crispy fried ramen sprinkled across it. It’s neither as weird-looking or tasting as you’d expect from the name “ramen ice cream,” and actually provides a pleasingly salty crunch.

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On the other hand, the ayu ice cream is every bit as shocking in appearance as you’d imagine, given that ayu is a type of freshwater fish.

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The ayu used in Musashi’s ice cream is locally caught, grilled with salt, and then ground up and mixed with vanilla ice cream, with the tail section left intact and stuck into the swirl. At first glance, it looks like it would stink something fierce, but Mr. Sato claims it has no detectable odor. What’s more, the saltiness of the ayu actually helps draw out the sweetness of the ice cream, which maybe shouldn’t be too shocking considering that salty vanilla is a popular and not so uncommon ice cream flavor in Japan.

With two ice cream cones now in his stomach, Mr. Sato was just about ready to call it a day, but he noticed an even more unusual item on Musashi’s menu: soft-shelled turtle and viper ice cream. Emboldened by the unexpected tastiness of ayu ice cream, he figured this premium 700-yen flavor must be even more delicious, and so he walked up to the counter again and ordered his third cone.

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The turtle and snake ice cream turned out to be the most plain-looking of the trio of unusual desserts. As a matter of fact, just looking at it, you’d be hard-pressed to tell it apart from ordinary vanilla.

It’s a very different story once you take a bite, though. In Mr. Sato’s words, the soft-shelled turtle and viper ice cream tastes like iron.

Well, having never actually eaten a piece of iron, he couldn’t be 100-percent sure, but there was definitely a metallic tang, or perhaps aroma, to his third variety of ice cream. Not that it tasted bad, per se, it just tasted like…

▼ “Iron.”

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Mr. Sato isn’t sure he’d go back for seconds on any of these flavors, but I can tell you from experience that Musashi also does a fine job of producing perfectly pedestrian yet definitely delicious ice cream too, and with 165 flavors to choose from, there’s bound to be one that’s a perfect match for your cravings for sweets and/or adventure .

Restaurant information
Musashi / むさし
Address: Yamaguchi-ken, Iwakuni-shi, Yokoyama 2-1-23
Open 9 a.m.-6 p.m. (9 a.m.-8 p.m. in summer)
Website (Tabelog)

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