In December 2019, it was reported that over 10,000 rounds of tear gas had been fired since the start of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests.

Whether involved in the protests or not, most Hong Kongers now know the dreadful taste of tear gas all too well. It’s a truly terrible feeling that starts in the nose and travels all the way down to the chest, causing streaming eyes, a runny nose, shortness of breath, burning skin and sometimes vomiting and headaches. The police’s use of tear gas to disperse protestors was met with anger and concern from residents who questioned the long-term effects of these chemicals.

Having tasted tear gas, it’s not a feeling, smell or taste many would wish to experience again. However, a small pro-democracy gelato shop in New Territories has created a “tear gas” flavour that promises to help you to relive that experience all over again.

Sogno Gelato Hong Kong

Photo credit: @uncle_wall

Those involved in the pro-democracy movement have divided restaurants into categories of “blue” (pro-China) and “yellow” (pro-democracy). Sogno Gelato in Tsuen Wan is undoubtably “yellow”, with Lennon walls and protest symbols all over the shop. It is here that the controversial “tear gas” flavour was developed.

“We would like to make a flavour that reminds people that they still have to persist in the protest movement and don’t lose their passion,” the shop owner stated in an interview with the Associated Press. “We roast and then grind whole black peppercorns and make them into gelato, the Italian style. It’s a bit hot, but we emphasise its aftertaste, which is a sensation of irritation in the throat. It just feels like breathing in tear gas.”

Customers agree that the flavour takes them straight back to the pain of tear gas. At around $35 a scoop, Sogno Gelato was apparently selling 20–30 scoops a day prior to the novel coronavirus outbreak.

While there has clearly been a lot of thought and effort put into this unique flavour, we’re not sure we’d pick a scratchy throat and fiery nose over harmless vanilla or chocolate.

Sogno Gelato, Shop 85, UG/F, Citywalk 2, 1 Yeung Uk Road, Tsuen Wan, 6098 4187

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