How soy sauce ice cream became this summer's coolest trend (2022)

When I was growing up, ice cream flavours comprised an uncompromising trio: vanilla, chocolate and strawberry.

If you were lucky, you got all three in a block of Wall’s ‘Neapolitan’. Cornettos were a generation away but oh how we celebrated the arrival of the Fab in 1967!

It was my weekly treat until I ditched it for a new favourite, the strawberry Mivvi, an innovation of icy white gunk coated with sweet red glue.

However, flavour-wise, we were still in vanilla territory. And, with this month’s extreme hot weather, I’d be yawning with boredom after a day or two of those 50-year-old offerings had I not paid a visit to an extraordinary London ice-cream parlour.

Soy sauce ice cream (left) was delightfully moreish. Right:Worcestershire Sauce is another of the wackier ice cream flavours sold by Anya Hindmarch's London shop

Opened as a pop-up by the playfully inventive handbag designer, Anya Hindmarch, I can only describe the flavours on sale at The Ice Cream Project as familiarly unfamiliar.

Each has been made with food brands that sit in every larder across the land.

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Yes, prepare yourself for Heinz Tomato Ketchup ice cream and another made with PG Tips. Then there is also mayonnaise flavour, Lea & Perrins, HP Sauce, Kikkoman Soy Sauce, baked beans and Salad Cream (both Heinz).

The ‘sweet icon’ list includes Kellogg’s Coco Pops and Frosties, Lyle’s Golden Syrup, Bird’s Custard and Polo — a mint sorbet with ‘smashed’ Polo mints.

I know. Much as I love creativity and innovation in food, I rather dread the next attention-grabbing ‘twist’ on a classic. And while we have all welcomed new flavours such as salted caramel, the Ice Cream Project menu ought likely to be a step too far.

But here’s the shock: HP Sauce ice cream is absolutely delicious. Toffee coloured, it has notes of windfall apple and caramel with a tiny bittersweet tang of malt vinegar. It is interesting in the right way — because it is innovation that succeeds.

Hindmarch loves a twist on the familiar, making ‘everyday things in an extraordinary way’. Her concept is much like the thinking behind Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans series in 1962. The pop artist also saw the beauty in modern culture and put two fingers up to the snobs who said otherwise.

Following the surprise delectability of the HP Sauce ice cream, I confidently tried the rest. Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce flavour had a tomato sorbet base and sang Bloody Mary.

Heinz Tomato Ketchup flavoured ice cream was fruity and tart, contrary to my expectations

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Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce flavour had a tomato sorbet base and sang Bloody Mary

Kikkoman Soy Sauce had a slightly meaty overtone but was delightfully moreish. Heinz Tomato Ketchup was fruity and tart; Polo mint especially refreshing.

The Kellogg’s cereal types were predictably good (the children in the shop loved them) and Bird’s Custard ridiculously rich.

Of the 14 flavours, I only disliked two: Heinz baked beans and Mayonnaise. The baked bean ice cream had actual whole baked beans dispersed in it (‘One of your five-a-day!’). Biting on one of these nearly dislodged a crown.

Meanwhile, the mayonnaise was simply too offbeat, rich and sour at the same time.

Anya Hindmarch’s Ice Cream Project has been developed with a Devon ice-cream manufacturer Granny Gothards.

Her parlour is situated along with her shops and eponymous cafe in Pont Street, Belgravia, where she holds regular pop-up events. And it’s already causing a stir on social media.

When I visited last week, a queue of more than 50 young people sweltered in the heat outside. Inside, two enthusiastic staff were scooping mixtures of flavours into pots costing £3.50.

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Ketchup flavour was not among the pair I disliked: Heinz baked beans and mayonnaise

All the flavours are available in 500ml tubs at £10. One shopper bought a cool 18 pots.

Now, Hindmarch’s concept may raise eyebrows but you must remember, ice cream has been an ever-changing invention.

It is not only one of the greatest and most loved discoveries in the world of food, it is also one of the oldest. If you reflect that we have only had electric refrigerators since 1870 and continuous automatic freezing was invented in 1926 — less than 100 years ago — it is astonishing that ice cream has a more than 2,000-year history.

The first recorded sweet frozen desserts were made circa 550BC using clean virgin snow and ice cut from the high mountains of Europe and the Middle East, transported in hay-insulated carts to the lowland cities where they were stored in similarly wadded ice houses.

In Persia, now Iran, the ice was mixed with fruit syrups to make sharbat, an early version of sorbet — only available to the richest ruling classes who could afford to obtain the ice.

New versions of sweet ices were developed by the Greeks and the Romans, including those made by mixing ice with alcohol. But it was not until the 4th century that it was discovered that if you placed a bowl of cream over a tub of ice mixed with salt, it created an endothermic effect, freezing the contents of the bowl.

If you own a simple electric ice cream churn that sits in a pre-frozen tub, it is very little changed from this ancient method.

The French, Italians, British and Americans made ice cream commercially available in shops in the 19th century — flavoured with a vast choice of fruit, flower waters, coffee, nuts, candied fruits and chocolate.

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Every glacier, gelateria and ice cream parlour competed heavily to outdo the competition, prompting some incredible creativity.

Certainly, Anya Hindmarch’s shocking inventions are by no means the first.

Baked Alaska, created in 1867, has been attributed to various chefs including Antoine Alciatore of the New Orleans restaurant, Antoine. Cooks found that the egg whites in meringue spread over a dome of ice cream are a poor conductor of heat, so the pudding could be caramelised in the oven without melting the contents.

The Italian Futurist Filippo Tommaso Marinetti released a manifesto in the 1930s with recipes intending to upend Italian food traditions, suggesting ‘simultaneous ice cream’. The resulting combination of vanilla and onion was pronounced revolting.

Tomato Ketchup flavour is the latest innovation in a long history of wacky ice cream invention

We witnessed the popularity of brown bread ice cream in the 1970s and black pepper ice cream in the 1990s. And who can forget Heston Blumenthal’s notorious bacon and egg ice cream, served at his restaurant the Fat Duck in the 2000s?

Made by boiling crisp bacon with milk, combining it with scrambled egg, sieving it to make a smooth cream then frozen — it certainly made headlines.

It was, he said at the time, the restaurant’s ‘most controversial dish’. Blumenthal would also serve a version of the Twister lolly, made with smoked salmon and avocado.

Hindmarch’s new ice age succeeds, not least because humour and scrumptiousness are carried together in one dollop. But also because her innovation inspires.

After my visit to The Ice Cream Project, I concocted a frozen ice- cream ‘breakfast’, with a scoop each of Hindmarch’s Quaker Oats, Lyle’s Golden Syrup and PG Tips ice creams. It was, of course, Fab.

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FAQs

Why do people put soy sauce on ice cream? ›

Soy sauce enhances the sweetness of ice cream.

What does soy sauce and ice cream taste like? ›

Soy Sauce Makes the Most Delicious Ice Cream Topper

Crazy as the idea seemed, the deeply umami and salty notes of the soy sauce mingled delightfully with the sweet, creamy ice cream, giving way to a nutty, caramel-like flavor in each bite. It was the kind of flavor that I thought about for a long time after tasting it.

Is soy sauce ice cream a thing? ›

Marukin is not the only place that makes the soy sauce ice cream. Apparently, they taste a little different depending on where they were produced. So, be adventurous and try them all if you have the time!

Why is soy sauce so good? ›

Because soy sauce is packed with umami and contains a substantial amount of salt, it's the perfect condiment for just about anything that needs seasoning. Overall, soy sauce provides a dish with salt, umami and a hint of sweetness, making it suitable for a wide variety of recipes.

Is vanilla ice cream and soy sauce good? ›

The combination of vanilla ice cream and soy sauce caramel feels completely indulgent and unbelievably delicious. It's melt-in-your-mouth creamy, savory, and perfectly sweet all at once. The umami punch and salty notes of soy sauce cut through all the sweetness of caramel and electrify the palate.

What is in soy sauce? ›

‌Soy sauce is known as shoyu and soya sauce. It's made with soybeans, wheat, salt, and a fermenting agent. ‌The traditional brewing method to make soy sauce involves soaking soybeans in water for several hours and steaming them. Wheat is then roasted, ground into flour, and mixed into the steamed soybeans.

What is Taiyaki ice cream? ›

Everyone's Eating Fish-Shaped Japanese Ice Cream Cones

Here's how it works: you choose a flavor of soft serve or ice cream (like vanilla, chocolate, matcha, or black sesame) and a filling to go in the tail of the fish (house-made custard, red bean), and top it off with graham cracker crumbs or mini-M&M's. And then eat.

How is Kikkoman soy sauce made? ›

Kikkoman soy sauce is naturally brewed. After soaking in water for an extended period, soybeans are steamed at high temperature before they are mixed with crushed roasted wheat. Salt is added, which acts as an anti-bacterial agent and preservative.

What is the taste of soy sauce? ›

What Does It Taste Like? Soy sauce provides salt, sweet, umami (savory), and even a little bitter flavor. This balanced flavor profile makes it an excellent condiment. You predominantly detect the salt, sweet, and umami, which mask the final bitter note.

What tastes good with soy sauce? ›

No matter what you're in the mood for, these 30 ways to use soy sauce should have you covered.
  • Sesame Chicken. ...
  • Eggs with Soy Sauce Sauce & Scallions. ...
  • Yakitori. ...
  • Beef and Broccoli. ...
  • Filipino Chicken Adobo. ...
  • Easy Saucy Ramen Noodles (Vegan Recipe) ...
  • LA Galbi (Korean BBQ Short Ribs) ...
  • Korean Sweet Tangy Soy Dipping Sauce.
Feb 14, 2022

How do you make soy sauce taste better? ›

Simply add some acid by way of citrus juice or vinegar and your choice of fresh herbs or spices. Fresh ginger and garlic are good.

Why do Asians use soy sauce in everything? ›

Soy sauce is as integral to Japanese cooking as it is to Chinese cooking. Not only is it used to provide flavor during cooking, it is also used as a seasoning (much like salt in Western cuisine) and a natural food coloring. It is also the base to everyone's favorite Japanese sauce, teriyaki sauce.

Why do Chinese use soy sauce? ›

It may live on the table at most any Chinese restaurant, but it serves a larger purpose than simply as a condiment. Soy sauce (or jiàngyóu in Chinese) can be considered the main foundation for flavor in a large amount of Chinese dishes whether it performs as the core ingredient in marinades, soups, or sauces.

Does Indian food use soy sauce? ›

So it is perhaps unsurprising that some Indian chefs began using soy sauce in their dishes long before Kikkoman launched in the country earlier this year. Restaurateur Prashant Issar first deployed it in a biryani six years ago, while running Mirchi and Mime, a Mumbai restaurant showcasing modern Indian cuisine.

What country uses the most soy sauce? ›

China is the world's leading soy sauce producing country with an annual production of approximately 5 million tonnes – more than half of the world's total production of 8 million tonnes.

Is soy sauce good for health? ›

Is Soy Sauce Healthy? ‌Soy sauce tends to be used in small quantities. As such, it's unlikely to have many health benefits. Soy contains isoflavones, which are compounds said to have benefits such as reducing menopause symptoms and improving cholesterol.

What happens if you drink soy sauce? ›

The condition causes the body to try to move water out of tissues into the blood in an effort to dilute the salt. In severe cases, like the one experienced by the teen, the brain leaches water, which can bring on seizures, coma and eventually death.

What does soy sauce taste like? ›

What Does It Taste Like? Soy sauce provides salt, sweet, umami (savory), and even a little bitter flavor. This balanced flavor profile makes it an excellent condiment. You predominantly detect the salt, sweet, and umami, which mask the final bitter note.

What is the characteristics of soy sauce? ›

Characteristics of Soy Sauce
  • Salt. The brine added at the beginning of the fermentation contributes saltiness, with the finished salt concentration from 12.0% to 18.0% (w/v). ...
  • Amino Acids. ...
  • Sugar. ...
  • Colour. ...
  • Acids. ...
  • Aromatic Esters. ...
  • Post Fermentation Development.

Why is it called soy sauce? ›

It first came to Europe in the 1600s through Dutch and Japanese trading (1, 2). The word “soy” comes from the Japanese word for soy sauce, “shoyu.” In fact, the soybean itself was named from soy sauce (1). The four basic ingredients in soy sauce are soybeans, wheat, salt and fermenting agents like mold or yeast.

What goes good with soy sauce? ›

No matter what you're in the mood for, these 30 ways to use soy sauce should have you covered.
  • Sesame Chicken. ...
  • Eggs with Soy Sauce Sauce & Scallions. ...
  • Yakitori. ...
  • Beef and Broccoli. ...
  • Filipino Chicken Adobo. ...
  • Easy Saucy Ramen Noodles (Vegan Recipe) ...
  • LA Galbi (Korean BBQ Short Ribs) ...
  • Korean Sweet Tangy Soy Dipping Sauce.
Feb 14, 2022

Which Indian food is famous in the world? ›

Biryani is one of the most popular Indian cuisines that is served in all parts of the world. Experts say, this is a classic concoction of rice and chicken and has more variants than any other dish in the world.

Is Indian food unhealthy? ›

The variety of foods, spices and dishes that are native to India makes Indian food one of the most wholesome foods in the world. But lately, Indian food has begun to be categorised as unhealthy because it is being linked to high sugar and high carb food which can contribute to high cholesterol.

How popular is soy sauce? ›

The global soy sauce market size was estimated at USD 42.48 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach USD 45.03 billion in 2020.

What cultures use soy sauce? ›

(In fact, the English name for soy sauce is derived from its Japanese name, shoyu.) The cross-cultural spread of soy sauce meant that it eventually became a key ingredient in the cuisines of Japan, Korea, and Vietnam as well.

Is soy sauce vegan? ›

In theory, soy sauce is vegan, as it is only made up of soybeans, wheat, water and wheat which are all, of course, vegan-friendly. However, some manufacturers add ingredients that compromise soy sauce being vegan, using flavour enhancers which are derived from fish or meat.

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