There are a few musts in terms of eating in Taipei. The first stop when you get off the plane, bus or taxi should be the dumplings at Din Tai Fung. If you’ve managed to save any room for dessert, you should head over to Ice Monster.
Ice Monster is a little stand with outdoor seating that serves bowls of shaved ice with heaping piles of fresh fruits. It should go without saying that Taiwan’s tropical climate yields incredibly fresh, ripe exotic fruits and nothing is more refreshing on a hot summer day.
There are different combinations of fruits and the option of adding custard or sweet beans. I had the trio of fresh fruits: mango, kiwi and strawberry with mango sorbet on top. The fruit is lightly coated with evaporated milk for a hint of sweet creaminess against the ice.
I thought about whether or not Ice Monster could be exported to New York to become the next Red Mango and I don’t know if our hot, sticky summers are enough to keep a franchise going year round. If you’re in the city and really jonesing for shaved ice, before I left New York, I tried the aptly named “snowlicious” at Chickalicious Dessert Club. I was impressed by how finely ground the ice was, less like a snow cone and more like actual snow. But it had some sort of artificial green watermelon syrup on it and I prefer fresh fruits. I’ve also noticed signs for shaved ice at Dumpling Man on St. Marks. I’m not sure how good it is, but it might do in a pinch.
But if you’re in Taipei, be sure to check out the real thing:
15 Yongkang St, Da’an
Phone 2394 8279