Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Shaved Ice - Taipei

One of the things I had been craving for and had been intending to eat lots of in Taipei is snow ice (雪花冰). This is super thinly sliced shaved ice, shaved soooo super thin that it feels like your eating powder at the snow except with flavour. Upon my research, one of the famous places for eating snow ice is in the Shilin district (in amongst the busy Shilin night markets) at a place called Xin Fa Ting (辛發亭冰品店). There is a line for this place and the cafe is packed with youth all eating shaved ice. We had always been curious as to how they make snow ice, and seeing these rather anxient machines near the entrance provided us with answers - it's just a drill-looking thing - but oh so so so yummy :)

anxient looking drill machine

There are sooooooooo many flavours at this place, it's crazy! Peanut, green tea, strawberry, almond - pretty much you name it, they have it. For this night (after sweeping the markets), we had decided on pudding snow ice and strawberry snow ice (only because they ran out of mango >.<). Pudding snow ice is basically a milk-flavoured snow with 2 egg puddings on the side. One bite into the snow ice is like... mmm... powdered snow.

pudding snow ice

The strawberry one was drenched in strawberry sauce, making it slightly too sweet for my liking. Again, it's very melt-in-your mouth lightness. Like you're just eating a cloud~

Strawberry snow ice

After missing out on mango shaved ice, my taiwanese friend got us to Mango Cha Cha (on a different night). As the name suggests, they have mangoes galore~

As we walked in, the boss was super super friendly and although my friend had only been to the store once before, we were treated like regulars. You hear him saying "welcome to mango cha cha!" over and over again in a sing song tone all night! He welcomes and serves the guests whilst his wife is behind the scenes making all the delicious snow ices.

Mango Cha Cha

On this particular night, the boss recommended two of his latest inventions. One was a "salty" mango shaved ice, and the other was the 'rose' shaved ice. Both were gigantisimo! Topped with lots and lots of (unfortunately slightly frozen) mango cubes. The salty shaved ice was the olden normal style ice (and not snow ice) topped with this prune-like topping which makes it slightly salty. There were heaps and heaps of marshmellows and incase they wasn't enough marshmellows, the boss gave us another huge plate filled with marshmellows (as we were regulars, right?).

Salty shaved ice

The rose petals were imported from France and since they are organic, they were edible. The boss told us to savour the flavour and texture of the rose pettle in our mouths as the snow ice melted in our mouths. I tried. I disliked. I'm not a fan of eating flowers. The mango snow ice on the other hand... heavenly!

Rose petal mango snow ice

So the verdict? Snow ice is soooo much nicer than normal ice. Mango flavour is better than any other flavour. And non-frozen mango is much easier to eat than frozen mango. Mango Cha Cha's servings of snow ice are heaps huger than Xin Fa Ting (but also more pricey). Definately need to eat more snow ice - but remember, it's snow ice that you want to eat, not shaved ice.

Xin Fa Ting
No.1 Anping Street, Shilin District
Taipei, Taiwan 111
Tel: 02-2883-1123

Mango Cha Cha
Tel: 0966-477-177


Helen (Grab Your Fork) said...

Pudding snow ice sounds delicious, and I'm intrigued now by the addition of salt. Salt is the new black when it comes to dessert it would seem!

bbsnoopy said...

Mmm... might be the new black
but doesn't work too well with snow ice :P

Lil said...

Damnn! I didn't get to try that place when I went to Taiwan!

MelbaToast said...

I just tried my first ever Shave Ice in Hawaii...and LOVED it. So much better than an Aussie Snow Cone as the ice is so fine and fluffy!

bbsnoopy said...

but make sure it's snow ice and not regular shave ice !