Me to cashier (in English, in my head): "Hey, can I buy these 30 delicious ice creams?
Cashier to me (in her head presumably?): "Yes, you can."
I got my ice creams. And just like that we're ready to go.
This is science.
(Deep breath. Say it with me, Shanghai. One more time, now and forever. Take another deep breath.)
LET'S DO THIS.
Here you go, my friends! Here's the yearly Ice Cream Taste Test Russian Roulette article! And this time, we're putting bullets in ALL the chambers!
I've been eating ice creams in Shanghai since I was a kid, back in 2006 when I was 31 years old. I grew up with this stuff, talking about Yanping Lu in the glory days, eating ice creams in the Buddies across from Jing'An Primary No. 6. You have to remember, this was before your second locations of Tock's and your Liquid Laundries. (Whatever that even is, I don't even know! Is it like a Boxing Cat?) The Oriental Pearl TV Tower was only like 15 years old back then. This was the heady days of a still-finding-its-way Shanghai, when you had to struggle to even eat, ordering Sherpas without an app, and there was only like seven locations of Muse to choose from.
What I'm saying is that we just didn't know any better with these ice creams. We just didn't even know. Remember our Debra indexes? Our Morris Scales? What fools we were, what fools!
This year, we've been shown the way. We've since be shown a methodology. This year, our inspiration comes from the fruits of another man's labor. (The "lucky peaches" of another man's labor?) This year it's all about measurements, tabulations, quantifications, mensurations, and computations. This year its all about the science!
Behold: The scientific tools of science with which this year's crop of convenience store ice cream was surveyed.
With these tools, we were able to arrive at what we're terming "the 2L2Q quotient". With "L" representing the amplitude of verisimilitude and Q representing the relative propensity of desisting.
K... so. Yeah, that's just a bunch of shit that was in my bag on the train down from Beijing.
Side note: Isn't the Burger King at the train station the finest restaurant in Asia? I love it. It's my favorite restaurant. The whole place smells like Zeus' B.O. from all the frying Whoopers, and the vibe is this crackling electric energy that only a ticket on a fast train to Wuxi South Station can engender!
Whatever! Let's get stuck in, shall we?
So This Is How It's Gonna Be This Year
Oh my god. Serious. Are you serious. So this is how it's going to be this year, huh. We're just starting here. This is the starting point.
It's like, can't we do a little light kissing first? Can't we just hold hands first? Can't we just talk for a minute first?
You're going RIGHT TO FISTING right off the bat.
FIST. ASS. GO.
Welp. Once more into the breach, my dear friends...
The first flavor notes that hit your tongue are sour and barfy. It's sour. And a little like sickly barf flavor. Cat barf. Baby barf. Something like that. That's definitely the taste. Sour barfy. And then it's got this powdery, freezer burn texture, like it's sort of trying to disintegrating itself back to the original cardboard ingredients from whence it was wrought. To finish, you're left with this chemical preservative type of flavor that really coats your mouth. It's like whatever preservative chemical that was hidden in the original recipe outlasted whatever other chemical that was in there meant to give this thing its taste.
I wanna say... barf-filled sweat sock doused in hardwood floor varnish?
2L2Q quotient: 6.5.
Bacon-Wrapped Strawberry Pocket Rocket
Yes. This is what we're talking about. My friends, this right here is convenience store ice cream at it's best/worst.
What went on here? How did this come to be? Like some guy was just out walking around on the street one day and saw a lil' dog wang bouncing around, and ran into work like "QUICK, GET ME A WHITE BOARD."
Man. So it's like a strawberry soft-serve pudding ice cream on the inside and then a thin, gelatinous layer wrapped around the whole thing like a translucent piece of bacon. It's serious like a clear, see-through strip of bacon.
Nope. Not even one bit. The wrapping is like a big sloppy glass noodle wrapped around a fairly bland strawberry pudding confection. It's like making out with a slug, sort of. Something like that.
2L2Q quotient: Um, 9.7?
Cookie Crunch Pleasure Cubes
Aaaaaand now we're easing into it. Here we go for the yearly entry of Ice-Cream-Treat-That-Neither-Cone-Nor-Popsicle. Nice, happy presentation! Lil' happy guys there on the box conveying a much-welcomed sense of whimsy and charm.
You know, not too bad! Not too bad at all! It's like a white chocolate plus oreo cookie crumble on the outside with a little burst of soft-serve vanilla on the inside. It's a little too sweet. It's a bit much. But still pretty tasty. I don't know. I'm on the fence about this one. I'm on the fence. I kind of both like and don't like it in my life right now.
Actually, it's kind of like how I feel about maybe deleting Ned Kelly off my WeChat. On the one hand, he just totally dry humps the bejeezus out of my daily WeChat feed with SEVEN MAPS THAT WILL TOTALLY CHANGE THE WAY YOU LOOK AT CHINA, but on the other hand, I like being reminded that my window to vote for Shanghai's Best Hotel Spa is nearly closed.
2L2Q quotient: We're going with a 4.684.
The Mangoes of Wrath
Oh man, what is this, it's like ice cream for vagrants.
Look at this guy. This ice cream's been sleeping under bridges, trudging around town with plastic bags on its feet, wheezing through a harmonica for spare change. This isn't a taste test, this is an intervention for this guy right here. This is an intervention.
You used to be something, mango buddy! What happened!
Serious, this ice cream hasn't seen or talked to its daughter in like fifteen years years, and time is running out because it's got like terminal bone cancer or something. Reconcile with her, Mango buddy. It's never too late. It's never too late!
(But it's like a frozen pre-fab mango juice mix or something.)
Well, it had definitely been lying at the bottom of the Kedi Mart freezer staring up at the stars for some damn time, I can tell you that.
2L2Q quotient: Wait, what was this thing again?
This is just some racism-sicle that we found.
Man, racism. Tasted like some racism, I don't know what to tell you.
2L2Q quotient: 4 Debras.
Fuckless Vanilla Brick
What we've got here is a straight-up brick of vanilla ice cream, probably sliced off a slab of an ever larger brick of vanilla ice cream in some factory in Hebei, by some giant silver machine.
The Fuckless Vanilla Brick just totally doesn't give a fuck. It totally doesn't give a single iota of fuck. It so doesn't give a fuck, it's like it's dressed like it's laundry day 25 years into some post apocalyptic reality. Like, it hasn't even seen another soul in 25 years, the good tattered rags are in the wash, and so it just threw on these other even shittier, dressed-down tattered rags for laundry day.
Laundry day in the post apocalypse: that's the most not giving a fuck there is.
It's the Fuckless Vanilla Brick.
Man, if this thing isn't even going to turn up, why should I. Seriously, who gives a fuck here. Do you give a fuck what this thing tastes like? Open your mouth right now and take a big bite out of thin air in front of you. It's the Fuckless Vanilla Brick.
2L2Q quotient: Probably should have come up with something better for this?
Lame Pea Guy for the 900th Time
Yeah, we all know why we're here. It's LPG. It's our old friend LPG.
Let's get this over with...
Yep, still tastes like Shrek's cock carbon frozen Vader-style into a oblong popsicle FUCK YOU WORLD.
Same time next yeah, LPG?
2L2Q quotient: Shrek cock.
The One My Neighbour's Always Eating
Oh man, this ice cream's got some ancestors. The plainness of it's presentation belies a deeper and more profound history at play behind the scenes. This ice cream comes from like 5000 years of beautiful ice cream tradition, handed down through the dynasties, family to family, father to son, mother to daughter, a noble tradition of ice cream deliciousness worthy of sundry university symposiums, podcasts, and exhibition retrospectives.
But for real, this is the one my neighbor's always eating, sitting on the stoop. She's like 900 years old and dresses like a retired Romulan farmer, but she totally knows what's up. She knows. Just like she knows the volume on my TV is too loud when I'm blasting Tokyo Drift and I should drink more hot water, she knows the good from the bad. She knows.
(Dude, she knows! It's really good!)
It's like a refreshing pineapple puddin' guy -- not too sweet, not too heavy. Thumbs up!
2L2Q quotient: Omega 345987.
Yeah, I don't know what this thing used to be before it had it's Forrest Gump life through the fridges of Shanghai's convenience stores, having random chance encounters with other historically significant and noteworthy popsicles of the age, propelled ever onwards by a sense of childlike innocence and incorruptible sincerity, proving the indomitable certainty of the human spirit and exemplifying the timeless truism that from the smallest of acorns the mightiest of oaks doth spring, but right now, it's a... uh... yeah.
Haha, bruh, they piss-test you in Beijing, I'm not putting this in my system. Pretty sure this is a straight-up block of frozen acid. Peach flavored.
2L2Q quotient: Home stretch.
The Choco-Sadness Special
TRY AS I MIGHT, I CAN'T QUIT YOU GIRL.
Where were we? Ice cream. Oh, this fucking thing. Yeah, it tastes like shit, what do you want from me! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Too legit to quit! Seeya next year! Luv u!
(Or for the fucking flyer thing, when that's shit, like in 5 months. Christ.)