Tag Archives: dessert

Angel Gelato

Everybody knows that the best spots in Taipei are tucked away on the side streets.

Angel Gelato is on Lane 50 off Taishun Street, the main street running through Shida Night Market. Lane 50 is one of the quieter side streets, which is probably why this sign points the way:

“Gelato” in lights. I’m like a moth to a flame…

Follow it to this small and tidy store. Behind the freezer the case, there is a small seating area with a loveseat and a wooden bench.

The available flavors were a mix classic gelato flavors with two season fruit flavors: walnut, pistachio, gianduja, vanilla, zabaione (a type of Italian wine custard), and pineapple and watermelon (these were actual gelatos, not sorbets). The 老闆 was generous with the samples, so we tried everything.

Classic and fruit flavors.
A small cup is plenty for one person, and you can choose two flavors.

Pistachio was the stand-out flavor. It was a natural green color (no neon green coloring), mellow in flavor with tiny pistachio pieces. Unfortunately, there was only enough left for one of us to order it! The gianduja was excellent. The walnut was OK, but the artificial flavoring was a bit too strong. I thought the fruit flavors were a bit strange and better suited for sorbet, but overall not too bad. Every flavor had a smooth, creamy texture (no ice crystals!) without being super rich or super sweet. A good balance.

Pineapple and vanilla.
Pistachio and walnut.
Gianduja and walnut.

I’d like to come back in a couple of months to see if they will offer any new flavors. The texture of their gelato is above average, but some of the current flavors need some work (pistachio being the exception). The CP is high and I love that you can choose two flavors, plus the service was friendly. Try it after you’re done shopping in the night market!

Angel Gelato
No. 27, Lane 50, Taishun Street
Daan District

好想吃冰 (I Want Ice So Much)

Sometimes a Chinese name translated into English becomes not very name-like. For example: 好想吃冰 , or literally “I want ice so much.” As far as Chinese names go, it’s a pretty good one for an ice shop!

It’s obvious from the outside that this is a Japanese-style shop, and the tall windows and indoor lighting make it look warm and inviting. Inside, the decor is minimal and modern, with a few two- and four-top tables and a few low tables where you can sit on the floor. There’s also a room in the back with a large table (probably have to make a reservation to use it).

Dessert is undoubtedly the main draw, but they also serve rice bowls—all vegetarian. I actually didn’t know this until we opened the menu. I ordered a kimchi bowl and KT ordered a cheese bowl, both of which are built on tofu skin (豆皮). I don’t eat tofu skin, so I did not enjoy the food. If you think tofu skin is a good replacement for meat, your experience may be better. Each bowl comes with miso soup and costs $109 to $159 TWD.

Kimchi rice bowl (韓式泡菜丼)
Cheese bowl (濃厚起司燒)

I ordered the peanut shaved ice, which is Japanese-style (kakigori) so the ice is similar to an American-style snowcone, but softer. It’s piled high, drizzled with peanut syrup, dusted with peanut powder, and topped with a giant pillow of mochi. It’s eye-popping, for sure, but the flavor is not too strong or sweet due to the amount of ice. The mochi was super soft, and I love the visual effect of it hugging a big pile of ice, but it was actually very difficult to eat. I ended up pulling it off onto a plate to eat separately.

KT ordered the black sesame ice, which is even more eye-popping. It looks like a volcano, or a stalagmite. The ice is covered in black sesame powder, and a sprinkling of peanuts and scoop of black sesame ice cream rest at the base. It comes with a side of peanut syrup and hot barley tea. Like the peanut ice, the flavor is pretty light due to the amount of ice compared to the toppings.

I also ordered a soy powder dango, which is sweetened by a drizzle of black sugar syrup. If you don’t know what dango is, you’ve at least seen it in emoji form: 🍡. It’s mochi that is lightly grilled and served in triplets on a skewer. There are many possible flavors and toppings. It’s served warm, with a slightly crisp outer layer from grill contact.

The dango was my favorite item from this visit, and I wish I could have tried the other flavors. The shaved ice looks better than it tastes. Personally I like Taiwan-style ice (刨冰 and 雪花冰) better than kakigori. In 刨冰 the ice is similar to kakigori, but the toppings-to-ice ratio is greater. In 雪花冰 the ice itself is flavored and is much softer and smoother.  Shaved ice costs around $130 to $180 TWD and one order of dango costs $60 TWD.

好想吃冰 would not be my first choice for shaved ice, unless I wanted something very light. However, I would return (ideally with a big group of friends) in order to try the other dango flavors, the other dessert items, and the onigiri. I would also try one one of the low sitting tables, because the backless wooden chairs are not comfortable for sitting longer than 15 minutes. The nice environment and friendly service make this shop a welcome, slightly upscale option in the Taida/Gongguan area.

好想吃冰台大公館店
No. 80, Wenzhou Street
Daan District, Taipei

Sweet Mung Bean Dessert (Bubur Kacang Hijau, Sort of)

I like to keep a batch of cooked sweetened mung beans (綠豆; lǔdòu) in my fridge at the ready. It’s cheap, filling, quick and easy to cook, and nutritious with protein and fiber. It also requires no prep when you’re ready to eat it; just scoop it into a bowl cold. It’s my crutch for when I’m too lazy/too hungry to cook yet too virtuous to go buy something, so I’m usually eating it for breakfast, as a between-meal snack, or dessert.

When I want to make it a dessert, I favor a preparation that’s pretty close to an Indonesian dish called bubur kacang hijau, or “burjo” for short. At its most basic, burjo is mung beans boiled with coconut milk and palm sugar. It’s common to add other ingredients including ginger, pandan leaf, and black glutinous rice.

Personally, I prefer it served cold. And I like it on the dry side, meaning without a lot of water and without boiling the beans to oblivion. You can try this preparation, but it might be a stretch to really call it burjo. It’s just a sweet mung bean dessert. You will need:

  • Mung beans, dry
  • Water
  • Sugar or honey
  • Ginger, peeled and sliced or grated
  • Coconut milk
  1. Rinse the mung beans to remove any dirt. Soak them in water for 2-4 hours. Before cooking, drain and discard the soak water.
  2. Put the beans in a pot. Add enough water to cover them, plus about 1 inch (3 cm) more. Bring it to a boil.
  3. While it is boiling, skim off any scum that gathers at the top. Add sugar or honey to taste (I like it barely sweet). Add the ginger to taste (two or three thick slices will do). Stir occasionally.
  4. Boil until the beans start to get soft, and some start to split and lose their skins. Remove from heat and let the pot sit for about 30 minutes.
  5. Store it in the refrigerator.
  6. When ready to serve, add coconut milk to taste.

Some notes:
– You don’t need measurements because it’s all to taste and it’s very forgiving. Go wild.
– Soaking the mung beans beforehand is optional. I recommend it because it speeds cooking time, and it removes some of the color from the beans, which makes the end result less muddy-looking.
– Pretty much any kind of sugar—white, brown, black, rock, etc.—will work.

Mung beans soaking.

 

Cover with water plus a little more. I like for most of the water to be gone by the time the beans are soft.

 

Most of the water has been absorbed and evaporated away. There’s enough left to keep the beans from burning. Um, I promise the pot is clean (just stained).

 

Pouring coconut milk over the beans.

 

Cool, creamy, slightly sweet. Ready to eat.

 

References
“Bubur kacang hijau” – Wikipedia