It appears protest is a dish best served cold. 

A scoop shop in Hong Kong is now serving tear gas-flavored ice cream to show solidarity with the pro-democracy movement in the besieged metropolis. The 31-year-old shop owner made several attempts to replicate the essence of tear gas with different ingredients, including a mix of wasabi and mustard, but he finally found a winner after roasting and grinding whole black peppercorns and using them to make an Italian-style gelato. The flavor, like tear gas, produces irritation in the throat. 

Hong Kong, a former British colony, returned to Chinese rule in 1997, but the city remained semi-autonomous under the principle of “one country, two systems.” Last summer, China sought the right to extradite Hong Kong citizens suspected of committing crimes. Young people launched a series of protests that continued for most of the year with escalating violence, student deaths and more than 16,000 rounds of tear gas fired. Ultimately, the coronavirus stopped what law enforcement couldn’t. 

“We would like to make a flavor that reminds people that they still have to persist in the protest movement and don’t lose their passion,” said the shop owner to The Associated Press, which noted that the space is filled with handwritten sticky notes a la the “Lennon walls” phenomenon of recent years. 

Last week, protesters filled a luxury shopping mall in response to the arrest of 15 activists, and China is now set to impose strict new national security laws on Hong Kong that include restricting protest, which will likely reignite the protests in force. Unfortunately, all ice cream in the city might taste like tear gas if something positive doesn’t happen soon. 

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