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.

(For those with tamer taste buds, however, vanilla ice cream made in accordance with Founding Father Thomas Jefferson’s very own recipe will be served through the summer at Mount Rushmore.)

Fruits

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.

Seafood

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.

Spices

Mango sago with green tea ice cream in Hong Kong (Photograph by Eugene Wei, Flickr)

Mango sago with green tea ice cream in Hong Kong (Photograph by Eugene Wei, Flickr)

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.

A serving of mushroom ice cream (Photograph by Stu_spivack, Flickr)

A serving of mushroom ice cream (Photograph by Stu_spivack, Flickr)

Drinks

Trade shots for scoops with tequila ice cream in Morelia, Mexico or the Jameson whiskey flavor in Dingle, Ireland. “Yummy, yummy,” says Ashley of the latter. Sample your own at Murphys Ice Cream.

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.

Everything Else

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.

Comments

  1. abbsadoodle
    barrow-in-furness library
    January 13, 11:23 am

    has anyone tried benn and jerry’s ice-cream it the best i’ve ever eaten!!!!!!!

  2. MCB FERRIS
    FLORIDA
    September 22, 2013, 3:13 pm

    EVER TRY GRAPE JUICE ICE CREAM

  3. Ryan
    USA
    August 8, 2013, 4:08 pm

    In Sedona Arizona, I had fantastic Prickly Pear Fruit ice cream. I can’t remember the name of the shop, but it’s right downtown next to a fudgery, and another great restaurant where I had prickly pear fries and a wild antelope burger. Highly recommend all of the above!!!

  4. Jenn
    July 24, 2013, 9:41 pm

    I love love love mango ice cream (usually found at Indian and occasionally Pakistani restaurants here in the US), but I’ve recently found green tea ice cream to be quite tasty. :9 Mmm… I also recommend gelato to ice cream lovers–the good stuff, served in Italy at gelato stands. The fruit flavors are fruity, the chocolate is like European hot chocolate, and the vanilla is creamy smooth!

  5. KahPei
    Malaysia
    July 23, 2013, 1:24 pm

    I’ve tried Wasabi ice cream when I was travelling in Hokkaido, Japan. It taste good and definitely a good choice for Wasabi lovers. It’s not only the ice that could numb your tongue but also the Wasabi flavour. I love it, especially during the freezing winter in Japan!

  6. Zoe
    Australia
    July 22, 2013, 3:22 am

    I have personally tried green tea and black sesame flovours of ice-cream, and they aren’t actually all that unusual to me! They taste quite good, and I will often enjoy black sesame flavour as a treat at our local Japanese restaurant. Black sesame is great served with a small dollop of cream and strawberries.
    Cheers!

  7. James Keefer
    San Francisco, California
    July 20, 2013, 4:45 pm

    Many of the flavors mentioned have been served for 60 years at Mitchell;s Ice Cream, especially the tropical fruit flavors.

  8. Drishti Prasad
    India
    July 20, 2013, 2:14 am

    an ice cream parlour in gujarat , india has got this chili flavoured ice cream .

  9. Ella
    Australia
    July 20, 2013, 12:24 am

    Liquorice ice cream is my favourite exotic flavour. I first tasted it at a little country shop in Kangaroo Valley, in New South Wales. You can make it, though by using normal ice cream, but adding black colouring and chopped- up bits of liquorice. Its great!

  10. Emily
    long island ny usa
    July 19, 2013, 9:00 pm

    ewe these flavors r gross id rather have strawberry vanilla or chocolate

  11. Milica
    Serbia
    July 19, 2013, 8:00 am

    There is a café in Prague, called Angelato, they make fantastic elderflower and poppy seeds ice cream, definitely worth visiting and trying out!

  12. Ingrid
    Guatemala
    July 18, 2013, 10:28 pm

    “La tienda de doña Gavy” in La Antigua Guatemala offers corn ice cream; also, avocado, sour lemon (they use de lemon peel, too), and more.
    This link has information about this store: http://antiguadailyphoto.com/2007/09/07/la-tienda-de-dona-gavi-sign/#.UeijYNI9-Hg

  13. Cara
    July 18, 2013, 3:35 pm

    I tried Green Tea ice cream at a sushi shop and loved it. I have also tried Rose Water ice cream and one made with saffran. I loved them both.

  14. Marlette
    Middleton, WI
    July 18, 2013, 2:15 pm

    Mustard ice cream – only available during Mustard Day at the National Mustard Museum in Middleton, Wisconsin, the first Saturday in August. Coming up soon! Surprisingly good if you like mustard!

  15. Anon
    UK
    July 18, 2013, 1:53 pm

    My friend once had deep-fried ice cream – in Egypt I think.

  16. Mike
    July 18, 2013, 11:13 am

    Interesting! All of these ice creams sound interesting!

  17. Fred Pepple
    Jeni's Ice Cream, Columbus, Ohio
    July 18, 2013, 11:04 am

    Jeni’s Ice Cream in Columbus, Ohio, makes the best Lime Cardamom Lingonberry flavor! Along with her lavendar and other exotic flavors, you should visit if you are in Ohio. Really good.

  18. Elena
    Novosibirsk, Russia
    July 18, 2013, 10:08 am

    Carrot ice-cream, Nevskiy prospect, St. Petersburg, Russia.

  19. Carlo
    UK
    July 18, 2013, 9:24 am

    One tasty flavour is the red onion ice cream you can have in Tropea, Calabria, Italy. But the most wonderful ice cream I ever tasted was made out wines (prosecco, merlot, pinot). You can go and try some in Ragusa, Sicily, Italy.

  20. Joanna
    UK
    July 18, 2013, 9:14 am

    Not a super strange one but my favourite ice-cream flavour in the whole world is Van Leeuwen’s Earl Grey, but they do do many original flavours like Sweet Sticky Black Rice, Vegan Mint chip, made with organic housemade cashew nut milk, but earl grey is simple and best, every single time.

  21. Emily
    July 16, 2013, 9:05 am

    Loved the cheese ice cream I could always get at the grocery store when I lived in Manila. It didn’t say what sort of cheese but it was a bit crumbly, a drier texture, and on the salty side, a bit like Parmesan, I suppose. Great tangy salty flavour against the sweetness and cream!

  22. Simon
    UK
    July 15, 2013, 3:45 pm

    I became addicted to Salt liquorice and Tar flavoured ice creams!

  23. Ekaterina
    Russia
    July 14, 2013, 4:03 am

    There is a great place to try exotic flavors of ice cream in New York http://chinatownicecreamfactory.com/ Black sesame was a good one.

  24. sreya
    memphis
    July 13, 2013, 6:43 am

    In kolkata India they have rollicks which has a bunch of interesting flavours like green coconut, beetleleaf, jaggery and lychee. All taste amazing.

  25. Theresa
    Saint Simons Island, Georgia
    July 12, 2013, 9:20 pm

    Candied bacon ice cream from Moo Cow on Saint Simons Island, Georgia is fabulous!

  26. Bredge
    Saskatoon, Canada
    July 12, 2013, 8:54 pm

    I noticed the mention of the World Record for flavour numbers being in Venezuela, and it brought back memories of another place in that country in the city of Valencia: the establishment I believe was called Heladeria 4D (quatro D). I remember having the best peach (durazno) flavoured ice cream that I ever ate in my life. Nothing so exotic, but really tasty.

  27. ieva
    latvia
    July 12, 2013, 8:52 pm

    there is blue cheese ice cream in riga ;)

  28. Alexandre
    Belo Horizonte, Brazil
    July 12, 2013, 8:49 pm

    In Belo Horizonte, Brazil, you can find basil ice cream at Sorveteria São Domingos. That’s not as exotic as the ones mentioned on this article though. But it’s absolutely delicious.

  29. Lara
    Texas, USA
    July 12, 2013, 8:37 pm

    Tried Ginger flavor ice-cream in Syria…its an ok taste but i’d still stick to vanilla flavor.

  30. Jean
    Hong Kong
    July 10, 2013, 3:07 am

    If you ever travel to Hong Kong, do try the mango sago and green tea ice cream dessert listed above, from Honeymoon Dessert, THE most famous dessert shop in Hong Kong. It’s absolutely worth it. Besides, try mixing black sesame ice cream and tofu ice cream, widely sold in supermarkets—you won’t believe how good it tastes.

  31. Milly
    Tokyo, Japan
    July 10, 2013, 2:54 am

    In May I visited a rest stop on the west coast of Japan (I’ve forgotten the exact stop’s name) but there was a booth selling gorgonzolla, whole wheat, and mozzarella flavoured gelato – they were surprisingly popular!

  32. Rania
    Jakarta, Indonesia
    July 10, 2013, 12:20 am

    I tried this really good jackfruit+avocado ice cream, one may find it in Indonesia. They also have this coconut ice cream, pretty good too.

  33. Paula
    Denver
    July 9, 2013, 11:33 pm

    When I lived in Japan, I tried wasabi (horseradish) ice cream. It was…..interesting.

  34. Judi
    Bay Area, California
    July 9, 2013, 11:07 am

    Cerveza (beer) in Antigua, Guatemala. There is a great little shop there where the owner makes all her own ice creams. She has several selections each day, including avocado, which is very good.

  35. jane
    philippines
    July 9, 2013, 9:45 am

    absolutely weird,i cant emagine the taste of seafoods ice cream im thinking that its a kiind of….an awfull flavor but some people like it then we have to respect them..

  36. Rachel
    United States
    July 9, 2013, 9:34 am

    It’s not incredibly unusual, but in New Orleans a couple of months ago I had a very complicated ice cream order. At Hansen’s Sno-Blitz I ordered a nectar hot rod with condensed milk. Basically what that translates to is a nectar flavored snow ball (kind of like a bubble gum taste) with vanilla ice cream in the center and warm milk drizzled over the top.

  37. Wayne Bernhardson
    July 8, 2013, 9:16 pm

    Try the wine-flavored sorbets at Heladería Miranda in Cafayate, Argentina. Also the exceptional local fruit flavors, like calafate berry with sheep’s milk at http://www.heladosjauja.com, in Buenos Aires and the Patagonian hamlet of El Bolsón.

  38. Amelia
    Jasper, Alberta
    July 8, 2013, 6:52 pm

    My favourite unusual flavour is definitely jasmine ice cream, the flower, not the tea. Closely followed by lavender and rose, all tried at the famous Fenocchio ice creamery in Nice, France