Lines keep growing for Japanese man’s gelato and ‘10 seconds of bliss’

Despite the scorching heat of the weekday afternoon, the customers queued out the door. The prize all enthusiastically waited for? Adventurous, icy tastes in cone and scoop.

Sitting among the slope of storefronts heading into W District, Rintaro isn’t new to Bangkok, but its stock has been steadily rising, even during this time of pandemic. 

Hundreds line up every day outside the small shop to try its Pumpkin Caramel, Japanese Sweet Potato, Camembert Cheese & Mixed Nuts and more.

Behind the scenes is Shintaro Nakajima, a Japanese man who settled in Bangkok eight years ago after successfully opening his first two ice-creameries back home – one in Chiba and another in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district.

“It only takes 10 seconds of eating my ice cream to find bliss,” Shintaro said in fluent Thai. 

Shintaro Nakajima, owner of Rintaro
Shintaro Nakajima, owner of Rintaro

He says his shop wouldn’t have survived the past year were it not for the quality, seasonal ingredients sourced from local farmers. The ice cream is made fresh every day as are the waffle cones, which are baked precisely 40 seconds and come with a choice of maple or cacao waffle.

The 37-year-old Tokyo native said he wanted to open in Bangkok because he couldn’t find any great, homemade ice-cream in the capital. 

By partnering with local farmers, many of his frozen desserts include fruits grown from specific regions – mangosteen from Chanthaburi, passionfruit from Chiang Rai, pineapple from Phuket. 

Some ingredients are imported from parts of Japan as well: Kyoho grapes, Aomori apples and Ibaraki sweet potatoes.

The shop rotates 18 flavors every day. So far he has created a total of 150 flavors, some experiments with wacky flavors such as a Green Plum Sorbet inspired by umeshu plum liqueur. 

Up to 500 customers come every day, Shintaro said, and all flavors are sold by day’s end.

None contains sugar, but rather get their sweetness from Japanese honey. They are sold at THB120 per cone and come with two flavors.

Shintaro teased what to expect next month, saying he will make Mochi Milk Tea, Cha Tra Mue Tea, Melon and Orange for August.

Rintaro is located outside W District a short walk from BTS Phra Khanong. It’s open 1pm to 10pm on weekdays, 11am to 10pm on Saturday, and 11am to 9pm on Sunday. 

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