Eating a popsicle by hand can be quite the ordeal, presenting seemingly endless avenues for failure. If you bite into it with too much enthusiasm, you risk getting brain freeze. If you’re not speedy enough, you can end up with syrup-encased hands—or, worse, popsicle glop on your apparel. It’s no fun to watch your precious popsicle transmogrify into a puddly soup.
This past Sunday, @gchan_hibi, a Twitter user based in Tokyo, posted a picture of Gari Gari Kun, a popular variety of rectangular popsicles in Japan, sitting in a glass with a spoon, all alongside a bottle of carbonated water. His tweet's gone ferociously viral in the past few days, accumulating 55,000 retweets and nearly 100,000 “likes.” Here, in this image, gchan_chibi presented a solution to that pesky popsicle dilemma that ails many of us.
You’ll need four tools in your arsenal: a drinking glass, a spoon, carbonated water (no sugar added), and a popsicle. @gchan_hibi’s instructions:
Fill a glass 1/3 of the way full with carbonated water.
Break the popsicle into the cup with a spoon, shaving its contents into the glass.
It’s a touch similar to sticking your popsicle in a cocktail, though it involves a more violent, gestural intensity on your part, asking you to chip away with the same vigor and dedication that Rodin attacked mounds of clay. What results from this exercise is, well, a dessert that’s a lot like shaved ice or granita.
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I guess you could choose to see this little episode of Twitter virality cynically: That @gchan_hibi, and the fans who bowed reverentially to this tweet, have discovered the glory of something others have been indulging in for a long time. That this is no revelation at all. The technique may work better with some popsicles than others—Gari Gari Kun collapses more easily than more stubborn popsicles, like, say, the Whole Foods-bought, 365-brand Fruit & Veggie bar I tried this one on last night.
But how rewarding it was, to work my hands until they ached—all in service of feeling a uniquely living sensation on my tongue. It's a way to preserve and prolong the pleasure of licking a popsicle that could’ve very well been squandered had I been less imaginative. If you haven’t tried this yet, give it a go.
Mayukh Sen is a James Beard Award-winning food and culture writer in New York. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the New Yorker, Bon Appetit, and elsewhere. He won a 2018 James Beard Award in Journalism for his profile of Princess Pamela published on Food52.