The Summer of Scoop: Amazing Ice Cream Shops to Try in Taipei

Taipei has made the leap to international prominence with its shaved mango ice, but when it comes to ice cream, the city has become much more than just a one-hit wonder. As a dynamic city full of creativity and diversity, Taipei is a place where you can easily find exotic and authentic ice cream from all over the world. Furthermore, ice cream parlors with innovative tastes and special ingredients have become some of the most popular go-to destinations in summer for people in Taipei. To help you cool down on an incredibly-hot summer day, Taiwan Scene has selected a variety of ice cream shops throughout the city. From Italian gelato known for its original flavors, to Japanese kakigori (Japanese shaved ice) blended with local ingredients, follow us to visit five unique ice cream parlors that offer  insight into ice cream trends from all over the world. (Read more: 4 Classic Ice Cream Shops in Taipei)

Traditional Taiwanese Ice: Beimen Fengli Ice 

Even without a sensational name, Beimen Fengli Ice (北門鳳李冰) still stands out in the prosperous East District (東區), continuously captures the hearts of both local people and many international tourists with its traditional Taiwanese flavors. Beimen means “the north gate” in Chinese. Fengli, on the other hand, refers to their signature product — ice with perilla plum flavor, topped with a plum and freshly-diced pineapple. This traditional Taiwanese dessert has a texture somewhere between that of shaved ice and sorbet. With pineapple sauce comes a slightly sour taste, and this makes it a perfect balance for those seeking a cool break in summer without worrying about rotting their teeth with too much sugar. 

Offering authentic Taiwanese flavors like pineapple, peanut, and taro, Beimen Fengli Ice is one of the top ice cream options for summer.

Another authentic flavor,  li xian ice (李鹹冰),  is made from Taiwanese pickled fruits and plums. This blend offers a slightly salty aftertaste, which surprisingly elevates the dessert as you never get that cloying feeling when tasting it. For those who prefer more classic Taiwanese flavors, try their taro, peanuts, or lychee flavors as well. 

li xian ice, one of the must-try at Beimen Fengli Ice.

Customers get to choose single or a combination of two flavors for one cup of ice cream. In winter, there are also hot products such as sweet rice porridge (米糕粥), peanut soup, and red bean soup available. (You might also like: Taiwanese “Teatime” — Take a Break with the Island’s Sweets and Treats)

Beimen Fengli Ice 
🏠 33, Ln. 216, Sec. 4, Zhongxiao E. Rd., Daan Dist.
⏱ 12:00pm – 9:30pm (Monday – Sunday)
*The opening hour might vary during the COVID alert. Please double check before going.

Japanese Shaved Ice: Kakigori Toshihiko

Kakigori Toshihiko is known for its great combination of Taiwanese ingredients and Japanese shaved ice. After four-years studying at Ecole De Patisserie De Tokio in Tokyo, owner Toshihiko (吳俊彥) came back to Taipei and opened his dessert shop, with the goal of perfectly presenting the essence of Japanese shaved ice by using Taiwanese ingredients. However, Taiwanese and Japanese shaved ice have very different tastes and concepts. Taiwanese tend to add a lot of toppings, especially fruits, to create different textures, while Japanese shaved ice emphasizes the fineness of both the ice and the sauce. 

The silky shaved ice is the biggest feature of Kakigori Toshihiko.

At Kakigori Toshihiko, the silky texture of Japanese shaved ice is kept as the ice shavers used at the shop are 100% made-in-Japan, making the ice flakes puffy and airy. Meanwhile the fruit elements of Taiwanese ice, such as grapefruit, strawberry, and grape, are assimilated into the dessert. For example, the signature dish Cream Cheese Grapefruit Shaved Ice, is topped with four slices of grapefruit with a secret creamy sauce poured over top. 

Enjoy the fresh taste of cream cheese grapefruit shaved ice, mixing creamy and sour flavors.  

Don’t be surprised if you find the portion of your ice is stacked twice as high as the height of the bowl. The best way to eat, according to the staff, is to start from the very top and dig the spoon upwards so that the “ice mountain” will not collapse. Grapefruit juice is served alongside for the customers to pour over bit by bit. It’s the secret to refresh every bite in your mouth and upgrade this already stunning dessert. Hidden in the bottom of the ice is a panna cotta — a perfect ending to this kakigori afternoon tea. 

Roasted Tea Shaved Ice is also a very popular item. Every bite of it is full of deep-fried roasted tea and condensed milk. You can also try the aromatic brown sugar flavor that is hand-fried and produced in Baoshan, Hsinchu (新竹寶山). (Read also: The Taiwan Scene Guide to Taiwanese Tea)

Kakigori Toshihiko
🏠 2-2, Jinmen St., Zhongzheng Dist.
⏱ 13:00pm – 9:00pm (Closed on Mondays)
*The opening hour might vary during the COVID alert. Please double check before going.

Turkish Ice CreamMADO 

As a well-known dessert brand in Turkey with a history of 168 years, MADO has overseas branches in more than 22 countries around the world, and Taipei is no exception. The name MADO is comprised of two Turkish words: Maraş and Dondurması. The former refers to the provincial capital of Kahramanmaraş in Turkey — the birthplace of Turkish ice cream; the latter simply means ice cream. 

Sitting in Taipei’s Nangang Software Park (南港軟體工業園區), MADO not only serves authentic Turkish ice cream but also all kinds of Turkish desserts. The classic Turkish ice cream is made from goat milk, with the unpleasant taste of the milk that many people dislike removed. 

With a hard and chewy texutre, Turkish ice cream is eaten with a knife and fork.

Patissiers at MADO manually mix every ingredient, creating a hard but chewy texture to their ice cream. Therefore, unlike most ice cream served in a cup with a spoon, a knife and fork are provided together with the ice cream at MADO for you to cut it bite by bite. Besides relishing the chewy ice cream, enjoy as the milky fragrance delightfully spreads in your mouth as well. 

In addition to ice cream, MADO serves traditional Turkish desserts like simit sesame rolls and baklava, as well as Turkish coffee. Turkish pastries such as borek and gozleme are also available.

🏠 1F, 19-10, Aly. 33, Ln. 216, Sanchong Rd., Nangang Dist.
⏱ 8:00am – 7:30pm (Monday – Friday) | 11:00am – 7:30pm (Saturday and Sunday)
*The opening hour might vary during the COVID alert. Please double check before going.

Italian Gelato: Double V 

Italian ice cream parlor Double V is named after the owner, William, who once studied at famed cooking school “Lenôtre” in France. According to William, the name also stands for “double victories.” As a Taiwanese pastry chef familiar with all kinds of high-quality native ingredients, William believes that a good patissier can turn any ingredient into ice cream. With such a vision in mind, he opened Double V with a challenging mission to blend in local ingredients into handmade gelato. Over the past five years, more than 500 flavors have been developed, giving customers a diverse array of options to choose from, to say the least. 

You can enjoy two flavors at a time when visiting Double V.

The menu at Double V changes daily, with nine different flavors provided each day. For those who are looking for refreshment during the hot summer, fruity flavors featuring Taiwanese fruit, such as lychees, passion fruit, and mango, are your best bet. For Italian gelato fans, don’t miss the classic chocolate or vanilla that are known for their robust flavors and velvety texture. Cat tongue biscuits are added at the bottom of every cup of ice cream, introducing a bit of crispness to the dessert. (Read more: A Chocolate Lover’s Dream in Taiwan)

The combo of chocolate and mongo flavors beat the heat of summer within seconds.

If you want to plan your visit to try a certain flavor, check the Double V’s Facebook page for updates just in case your favorite is not served on the ever-changing menu that day. Don’t worry if you are having trouble choosing between flavors. As soon as you walk into the store, the clerk will enthusiastically offer free gelato samples to help you find the perfect choice. You can always choose two flavors if one doesn’t satisfy you. As William named his shop, it’s always a win-win at Double V!

The staff at Double V are always glad to offer free samples for you to try.
Double V 
🏠 234, Yanji St., Daan Dist.
⏱ 3:30pm – 9:00pm (Wednesday – Friday) | 1:30pm – 9:00pm (Saturday and Sunday)
*The opening hour might vary during the COVID alert. Please double check before going.

American Ice Cream: Bigtom 

Bigtom, a century-old ice cream brand from Washington state, is one of the best American ice cream parlors to be found in Taipei. With their biggest branch located inside National Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall (國立國父紀念館), Bigtom serves ice cream made from rBST-free milk, which makes their products less sweet and less fattening. Without using preservatives or artificial coloring, Bigtom aims to create delicious American ice cream with a healthier recipe. Bestsellers at Bigtom include cookies n’ cream, vanilla bean raspberry cherry, and Oregon wild strawberry. Special flavors such as red wine ice cream and rose ice corn are also favored by many customers. While you can enjoy a simple scoop of ice cream in a cup, having the ice cream on a waffle is still the best and the most American way to enjoy it at Bigtom, as no sauce goes better with waffles than melted ice cream! (You might also like: Hoshing Pastry Shop: Unrolling over 70 Years of Delicious Treats)

Waffles with ice cream, the best afternoon snack to have in the summer.

For customers with young kids, Bigtom also serves ice cream with a biscuit in the shape of a cow on top, adding a little more fun to the afternoon tea session. The branch at National Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall also has a great outdoor seating area for enjoying ice cream with family in the midst of all the greenery on a lazy summer afternoon, seated by a small pond. 

The American-style ice cream at Bigtom is creamy and without artificial ingredients. 
🏠 505, Sec. 4, Renai Rd., Xinyi Dist. (Big Tom Chei-hu Branch at National Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall)
⏱ 9:00am – 9:00pm (Monday – Sunday)
*The opening hour might vary during the COVID alert. Please double check before going.

Words by AYCC
Photos by AYCC

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