Sunny Sunday stroll in Yufuin

Next to Beppu, there is a small town called Yufuin. It is a perfect location for a day trip, relaxed walk along the bustling streets.

Sunday stroll
Sunday stroll

Yufuin is old-fashioned and rather different from Beppu: along the main street you can find gift shop after another, selling specialities in various product categories (excuse me for the term, I have been studying too much marketing recently).

Successfull concept: Buy your sake and (pickled) snacks from the store, and go to the hut outside to enjoy!
Successfull concept: Buy your sake and (pickled) snacks from the store, and go to the hut outside to enjoy!

Yufuin is perfect for half-day or one day, since it can be easily walked within few hours. The area is famous ofr the Lake Kinrin as well as some onsen (though not as famous as Beppu, ha!). The style is more upscale and visitor-oriented than Beppu’s.

Famous Lake Kinrin (bit of a disappointment)
Famous Lake Kinrin (bit of a disappointment)

 

The speciality of Yufuin is korokke (croquette), but there are plenty of other novelty stores lined next to each other.

Enjoying cheesecake tofu ice cream
Enjoying cheesecake tofu ice cream

 

Most of the stores don’t hold back on samples, so there is no need to leave Yufuin with an empty stomach.

Dried persimmon outside a condiment store
Dried persimmon outside a condiment store

Of course, most of the products are locally made, on-the-spot.

Edible flower cookies, as tasty as they are pretty
Edible flower cookies, as tasty as they are pretty

 

There is also a mountain near by with a ropeway and possibility to hike, but we concentrated on the village atmosphere and food rather than exercising.

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I Scream for Ice Cream (and other cold stuff)

Despite the mostly rather chilly or even freezing temperatures in Finland, Finnish people eat 13,7 liters of ice cream a year. In New York, with temperatures rising to 30’s Celcius (100 F), it is not hard to believe that ice cream (and shaved ice, italian ice,¬†gelato and frozen yogurt) is everywhere to be found.

I have not tried all of the following, since I seem to be most fond of the most dangerous places for a person with bottomless cravings and a limited budget: self serve frozen yogurt stores. My favorite place to get my fix in New York was 16 Handles. Perfection depends on the daily flavors and the combination you create with the toppings, though, but the possibilities of combination are endless!

In Merrick I heard a lot of different ice cream truck tunes, so I wanted to see how many different trucks there are. In Finland, we just have one blue truck that plays the same jingle everywhere.

Mr. Softee is probably the biggest ice cream truck chain. Selection includes ices, cones and soft serve ice cream
YoGo is also popular, serving frozen plain or vanilla yogurt with optional toppings
This truck I have only seen once. The price is over half less than in some other places – wonder why?

Some interesting non-trucks:

Old fashioned ice creams and popsicles for refreshment in Central Park
Coolhaus ice cream sandwiches are upper scale offspring of two traditional treat combinations
People’s pop’s shaved ice with syrup
Big Gay Ice Cream shop had a line of few dozen people, when I visited

In Finland the ice cream market is dominated by two big companies, Valio and Arla Ingman, both offering mainly the basic cream based ice cream in ridiculously high prices. There are some smaller companies, like the ice cream factories of Tampere and Helsinki, but the prices are even higher. If you can buy 4 liters of ice cream from the shop for the price of one scoop, what’s the point? Helsinki is lucky to have I guess 2 frozen yogurt places, but they are the only places in this country, and I haven’t visited either of them. Soft serve ice cream, with three optional flavors (vanilla, strawberry and chocolate, who would have guessed), is available all over.

Couldn’t be happier, even though the homeless guy next to us claimed that we were on his turf

Wonder what kind of delicacies Japan will offer – in New York, Japadog offered ice cream inside hot dog buns and called that Japanese. I know there is green tea ice cream, and I hope froyo is also available!