WORDS BY Huang Yiting
TRANSLATION BY Joe Henley
PHOTOS BY Lin Weikai, Yang Zilei, Dong Menghang, Taiwan Scene
“During the hot summer days, come and have a cooling icy dessert to beat the heat. These four old, famed ice cream shops are sure to full you with sweet memories.”
(Read also: Dreaming of Food in Taipei: YouTube Star Ku of Ku’s Dream Shares His Love of Local Taiwanese Eats)
1. Yongfu Ice Cream in Ximending: The true original
In 1945, Yongfu Ice Cream (永富冰淇淋) started up as a vendor cart selling tri-colored ice cream on the street, and has since been active for more than 70 years. The small shop doesn’t have fancy decorations or comfortable seats, nor does it feature exhaustive combinations of flavors. The white price list with blue text shows the nine flavors on offer. On the right, taro, red bean, and peanut are the most traditional and classic ones, and strawberry, lemon, and passion fruit on the left are relatively new. There are also egg, plum, and longan varieties, which can be only seen in very old shops. Every one of the flavors is presented in its original and natural incarnation.
In addition to scooped ice cream, Yongfu also has its own unique specialty, Pure Ice Cream Cake, which is made up of several flavors and has no spongy cake texture or cream. The simple but genuine flavor is its biggest draw.
Yongfu Ice Cream Store information:
- Address: 68, Sec. 2, Guiyang St., Wanhua Dist.
- Opening hours: Sunday to Thursday, 10:00am – 10:00pm Friday, Saturday, 10:00am – 11:00pm
2. Longdu Ice Juice Expert in Wanhua:
Pamper yourself with eight treasure ice
Ninety-nine-year-old antique ice shop Longdu Ice Juice Expert (龍都冰菓專業家) is not only a cherished memory from many a Taipei citizen’s childhood, but also a stop that must not be missed on the way to Longshan Temple. A lot of old pictures are hung on the walls of the shop, recording its glorious history as well as the changing of the times in Wanhua over the past 100 years. Read also: Taiwan Culture and Cuisine Shine on New Netflix Series “Street Food”)
The luxurious Eight Treasure Ice (八寶冰) is the shop’s signature dish. Covered with taro, peanut, cuiyuan (脆圓), tangyuan and other ingredients, this soft shaved ice gives you total satisfaction in just one bowl. The freezer full of fruits at the entrance is also a well-known feature of Longdu. The magnificent mango ice comprised of fresh and huge pieces of mango and panna cotta can cool you down the whole summer long. (Read also: 8 Taiwanese foods that you don’t even know you need to try (yet)!)
Longdu Ice Juice Expert Store information
- Address:168, Guangzhou St., Wanhua Dist.
- Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday, 11:30am – 1:00am
3. Shuanglian Sweet Rice Ball: A symphony of salty and sweet
Operating for 68 years, Shuanglian Sweet Rice Ball (雙連圓仔湯) is a traditional dessert shop tourists must visit in Taipei. Hot Rice Ball, its specialty, comes in two varieties: salty or sweet, and almost every group of customers will have one before them. In order to make the rice balls in hot oil have a chewy and refreshing taste, the shop created its signature flavor through a long process of trial and error. The hot rice balls are covered with large amounts of peanut and sesame powder or nori and meat floss, and they could be tricky to swallow due to the fact that they’re made of glutinous rice. Therefore, the staff will kindly give you a cup of hot tea for free to wash the rice balls down with. (Read more: Eight Great Taipei Hole-in-the-wall eateries)
All ingredients for the icy desserts and sweet soups provided by the shop are traditional. In addition to the most well-known little tangyuan, the soft mashed taro is a favorite of many customers as well. There are also quite uncommon materials such as longan, pineapple, and snow fungus. A huge picture illustrating all the ingredients is hung on the wall of the newly-decorated shop for the convenience of foreign tourists. (Read also: The Curious Case of Q)
Shuanglian Sweet Rice Ball store information:
- Address: 136, Minsheng W. Rd., Datong Dist.
- Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday, 10:30am – 10:00pm
4. Xinfating in Shilin: The soft snowflake ice
If you want to have snowflake ice, many people may recommend an old shop called Xinfating (辛發亭冰品名店) in Shilin Night Market. It started as a sweet beans shaved ice (蜜豆冰) shop, and snowflake ice (雪花冰) is the greatest creation developed by the bosses of the family-run shop’s second generation. When the ice machine starts up, the milky flakes fall into the bowl like pencil shavings. The texture of the flakes is soft, but somehow they are still difficult to melt. At a time when ice chopped by hand (using a knife) was all that was known to Taiwanese, the shop gradually gained its sterling reputation, igniting a great enthusiasm for snowflake ice. (Read also: Cheap Eats in Taiwan)
As time passed, Xinfating pursued change, making various kinds of snowflake ice with the flavors of coffee, macha, and peanuts. And without a doubt, red bean is definitely the most highly recommended topping. No matter what the flavor, snowflake ice topped with red beans is always a fascinating feast for the senses. (Read more: 10 foods you need to try in Taipei)
Xinfating store information:
- Address: 1, Anping St., Shilin Dist.
- Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday, 3:00am – 12:00 midnight
This article is reproduced under the permission of TAIPEI. Original content can be found at the website of Taipei Travel Net (www.travel.taipei/en).