Value for money: 8/10
Quality of food: 7/10
Summer is almost gone, but there are still some warm days left of the year. For those days, why not take a walk around the very famous DiHua Street 迪化街 for some traditional Taiwanese snacks, herbal medicines, textiles or tea. If you want some savoury snacks, check out my post about Rice Noodle Soup and Fried Oysters at YongLe market, on DiHua Street.
That’s what I did recently, however, stumbling across this place meant that I now have something else to add to my list: getting some shaved ice. Shaved ice, in Taiwan, comes in many forms: fairly large chunks of crunchy ice, thin shavings of ice, ice flavored with ingredients such as sugar cane or brown sugar and then there is the fluffy snow like ice. All of these ices are either topped with your desired flavors or sat on top of your desired flavors.
My favorite, by a long way, is the fluffy snow-like ice (雪花冰 xuě huā bīng). I have never been a fan of the crunchy ice due to the feeling of crunching the ice between your teeth. For me, it’s like that nails-on-a-chalkboard moment. However, the fluffy ice is like biting into a cloud.
The menu is a very interesting one, and actually quite comprehensive for a shaved ice shop. One thing that seems to be a big feature on this menu is the almond tofu 杏仁豆腐 xìng rén dòu fǔ.
In addition to ice, they also have many other items. From left, to right:
Fluffy ice 雪花冰 xuě huā bīng,
Almond tofu dishes 杏仁豆腐 xìng rén dòu fǔ,
Almond soy pudding 杏仁豆花 xìng rén dòu huā,
Sweet Soup 甜湯 tián tāng,
Drinks 飲品 yǐn pǐn.
They also have an English menu on the counter:
On display are all of the flavors you could possibly be wanting. You could always just point at a bunch of them and attack it that way.
We went for the 杏仁雪花冰 xìng rén xuě huā bīng. With this choice you can get 2 toppings. We chose: 仙草 xiān cǎo (grass jelly) and 芋園 yù yuán (taro balls). 仙草 is also something I really like ordering at drinks stalls, especially those around LongShan Temple (仙草茶) where it is most commonly found in Taipei.
The great thing about this ice is that it is flavored with almond and also contains some small pieces of the almond tofu.
Outside there are 3 tables and inside there are a further 6. The bowl of ice is quite large and I would say perfect for sharing because (even though I really enjoy eating them) I never want to eat a full dish of ice.
From this angle you can get a pretty decent idea of the way the ice is layered up, almost like whisps of candy floss. The ice all sits on top of the 仙草, 芋園 and 杏仁豆腐. It’s quite exciting to take a scoop from the bottom and see which flavour you come out with first. The 芋園 are chewy balls made of taro pulp and are on the cusp of sweet and savoury. They are a good addition for their texture but they lack a little flavour.
Here is some of the silky smooth almond tofu. The texture is incredible and really disappears quickly once in your mouth. Taste wise it ticks all the boxes: sweet, earthy and nutty almond flavor. Here you can also get a better view of the striated effect that the snow ice has had. It’s so cool to look at!
Tucked in next to the almond tofu is the 仙草. 仙草 has a rather unique flavor. The plant from which it is made from is often used in Chinese herbal medicines. However, here it is transformed into a chewy jelly and added to desserts. The taste is slightly bitter with an after taste of lavender. It is refreshing and compliments the sweet almond tofu very well.
This is my favorite type of shaved ice. I don’t even particularly enjoy the Mango ice that a lot of Taiwanese so clearly love. So, for me, this comes with a glowing recommendation. I would highly recommend the almond tofu and the 仙草, although maybe next time I would also get the 薏仁 yì rén (pearl barley) or 紅豆 hóng dòu (red bean) to replace the 芋園.
Monday – Friday: 10:30 – 18:00
Saturday and Sunday: 10:00 – 19:00
N0. 240, Section 1, DiHua street, DaTong District, Taipei City.