Tear gas-flavored gelato on the menu at Hong Kong store to recognize pro-democracy protests

'It feels difficult to breathe at first, and it’s really pungent and irritating,' one customer said.
Image: A scoop of tear gas flavor ice cream, in Hong Kong. A Hong Kong ice cream shop has created this flavor using pepper, in memory of all the tear gas fired by the Hong Kong police in recent months
A scoop of tear gas flavor ice cream, in Hong Kong. AP

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By Isobel van Hagen

Tear gas has joined chocolate and vanilla among the flavors at a Hong Kong gelato shop to recognize the pro-democracy movement in the semi-autonomous region of China.

Sharp black peppercorns are the main ingredient of the new addition to the menu at the Songo Gelato shop, according to the owner, Chung Yiuwa.

He said that he had tried other ingredients like wasabi and mustard the harsh taste of tear gas, before ultimately deciding that peppercorns replicated it best.

While many people buy the "very spicy" flavor, the shop's most popular choice is champagne-flavored gelato which was inspired by times of celebration during the protests, Chung said.

He added that the flavor was designed to serve as a reminder of the protests which were sparked by a controversial bill that would have allowed residents to be extradited to China.

Although the bill was shelved, the demonstrations transformed into a wider movement against the erosion of civil liberties that were promised after the city was handed over to China in 1997.

Tear gas flavored gelato is sold at a small ice-cream shop in Hong Kong earlier this month. AP

Protesters took to the streets every Sunday for months, although others took place on weekdays too. As they grew increasingly violent, police fired rounds of tear gas to disperse the demonstrators.

More than 16,000 rounds were fired during the protests, according to authorities in the former British colony, which is governed by a unique model that guarantees freedoms not granted in mainland China.

Anita Wong, who experienced tear gas at one of these protests, said the icecream did taste like the real thing.

"It feels difficult to breathe at first, and it’s really pungent and irritating," she told the Associated Press. “I think it’s a flashback that reminds me of how painful I felt in the movement, and that I shouldn’t forget.”

Ed Flanagan and Associated Press contributed.