Uji Time, a relatively new addition to the Asian fusion food scene in Berkeley, has been serving up some of the best Japanese desserts and soft serves in the San Francisco Bay Area. You've probably heard the hype on their taiyaki fish cones and unique soft serve flavors, but do you know their story?

coffee, beer, steak
Heather Feibleman

It all started in a small garage, where a few friends got together and perfected their soft serve. As dietitians, they kept in mind portion-control, quality of locally-sourced ingredients, and (not-so-excessive) sweetness. This long, meticulous process gradually formed the foundation of Uji Time's soft serve recipes.

cream, sweet, ice, chocolate, dairy product, cake, pastry
Heather Feibleman

Each flavor contains a secret, unique ingredient that even your tastebuds and eyes won't believe. The tofu soft serve, while not vegan, contains real tofu from a local tofu producer. The black sesame flavor actually contains poppy seeds to enhance texture, and black sesame oil so that the rich flavor lingers on your palate long after you've licked away your soft serve.

#SpoonTip: To add a nice, crunchy texture to the black sesame soft serve, ask for poppy seeds as a (free) topping.

cream, sweet, ice, chocolate, candy
Heather Feibleman

What makes their matcha soft serve so smooth and flavorful without the bitterness that other ice creams leave behind? Instead of adding matcha powder straight to the soft serve base, Uji Time uses a traditional brewing method to whisk and brew real premium green tea, and adds the smooth green tea to the base.

ice, cream, chocolate, ice cream, waffle, milk, wafer
Luna Zhang

Uji Time also offers seasonal flavors that change every few months. Past seasonal flavors include lavender, made with real, food-grade lavender, as well as lychee, made with rose oil and lychee-flavored Calpico. Inside sources hint to expect coffee, which may contain activated charcoal for extra health benefits, seasonal fruit flavors, and even miso, for a sweet and savory twist.

#SpoonTip: Matcha and black sesame are both very strong flavors, so if you're a first timer looking to properly savor the soft serve, order the flavors separately, not swirled.

Heather Feibleman

Fish cones are complicated and time-consuming to make, so Uji Time used to make only 15 a day. But due to popular demand, they now make fish cones throughout the day. This way, you don't have to be an early bird to get the worm!

Heather Feibleman

In addition to selling soft serves, Uji Time also offers fresh, homemade taiyaki, or Japanese fish-shaped cake. They're crispy outside, and soft and warm inside, filled with your choice of adzuki red bean paste, Nutella, or purple yam.

ice, cream, chocolate, ice cream, sundae, milk
Heather Feibleman

Find yourself craving both taiyaki and ice cream? Their parfaits come with a flavor ice cream of your choice, one taiyaki, and various Japanese sweets and delicacies.

candy, mochi, sweet, dairy product, sweetmeat, marshmallow, goody, chocolate
Heather Feibleman

Lastly, Uji Time sells mochi ice cream from a local distributor. There are plenty of flavors, from green tea chocolate chip to lychee colada, and one of their most popular flavors, raspberry white chocolate crunch. They are best when eaten a couple of minutes after they are out of the freezer, when the mochi has thawed to be more sticky, and ice cream has softened enough to be bitten through.

peanut butter, butter, chocolate, peanut
Heather Feibleman

While there are plenty of options to choose from, Uji Time has a secret menu that many people do not know about. It includes free toppings and extraordinary combinations, like Ramune soft cream float and dorayaki soft serve. What delicious concoction will you create when you get here?