Aji WOW: glow-in-the-dark ice cream
Aji WOW is my series of unusual Japanese food/drink reviews. 'Aji' (味) means 'flavour', and the name's also a pun on 'ajiwau' (味わう) - 'to enjoy the taste of'.
This time: Baskin-Robbins' 'Neon Monster' glow-in-the-dark ice cream.
BR is known better over here in Japan as '31 ice cream'. In keeping with the brand's original 31 flavours on offer. (Heaven knows just how many there are now.) They put the number in the middle of the logo and everything.
Neon Monster is a limited-edition creation for Halloween. Strangely, it's only on sale until the 30th - the day before Halloween proper.
You might be wondering why anyone would eat ice cream in late October. Well, on the 20th it hit 27 degrees outside. It's still very VERY much ice cream weather here.
I did tell a bit of a fib - this is apparently sorbet. And nothing like the photo.
In my line of work, you come to understand the difference between advertising and reality. This, however, is taking the piss. There's almost none of the yellow ice cream. Where purple only seems to highlight the scoop in the promo, it seems to fill most of my cup. And that's definitely not green. That is blue. Electric blue.
The mix of colours really reminded me of a Zap lolly. Remember those?
That strong memory conditioned my brain to immediately expect toffee/custard flavour. And that's not what I got. The purple is melon, the 'green' (looks way more blue, I tell you) is grape, and the yellow is soda. Designed to confuse your taste buds as well as your brain. As you can sort of see, the yellow also has that 'hi-viz jacket' tinge.
Seeing as BR isn't in the habit of selling in the dark, I was under the impression they had blacklight boxes on the counter. So you can see your scoop glow.
There was no box at the branch I visited.
In fact, apart from one photo (which I've already used) there was barely any indication that the ice gream should glow at all.
For longer than a rational person should, I debated using my handbag. It's super dark in there, bound to work. No sooner had I lowered the ice cream into the bag, someone started staring at me. I took the cup back out of my handbag.
Nothing for it but to just finish the sorbet. They were all quite strong, grape especially. I wasn't expecting realistic fruit flavours... and I didn't get them, so there you go. Having a soda flavour mixed in did create some fizz too.
Verdict: 7/10. The spookiest thing about it is that they're not promoting the novelty factor nearly enough.