Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Meet Fresh (again)

紅豆杏仁冰 (red bean almond ice from Meet Fresh)

One of the huge reasons why I love Taiwan is shaved ice. Taking random toppings, putting them over ice shred so thin that it has no texture, and dousing them with sugar syrup and condensed milk has to be one of mankind's greatest inventions ever. If you've read my blog for a while, then you're probably aware of the my love affair with the place known as 'Meet Fresh.' For a bit of background, they're a chain that specializes in shaved ice and tea... that just so happened to have a location right behind my house. How incredible is that? Last year, I ate there so often, I paced out to about 5 bowls per week. Well, in any case, I was super excited to go as soon as I got off the plane this year. I walked home, threw my luggage down, and went off to grab dessert and lunch (in that order) only to find that... it had been torn down. WHAT WAS GOING ON?!?

Turns out, they downsized some locations, and that only the larger stores were still open. This would explain my lack of posts talking about shaved ice. Anyhoo, as I was walking around 信義路 (Xin Yi Road) the other day, I found one of the remaining locations and slid on in. Looking at the menu, I ordered their one of their Summer creations for 50 NT ($1.50), a 杏仁紅豆冰 (almond red bean shaved ice), which is that pile of black at the top. Wait, wait... this is just a pile of black jelly, where's the almond!?

Mixed ice

Upon mixing you're greeted by white ice. Basically what the dish ends up being is... 仙草 (xian cao), which is really just a minty leaf that Chinese people make into a black jello, covered by sweetened red beans, tapioca pearls with sweet potato gelatin inside, all over thinly shaved almond flavored ice. Hope that explains it clearer. Obviously it was nice to have a good shaved ice for the first time in a long time (compared to anything in NYC at least), but this dessert was a real winner too. The almond flavor, which usually gets overshadowed by other elements, was strong enough to stand out on its own, and the 仙草 made for nice complementary texture against the ice. The red beans added just enough sweetness to remind you that it was dessert, and the tapioca bubbles... well, they're just fun to play with. For 50 NT, you get every pennies worth, and it's totally worth trying if you're in Taiwan.


Christine said...

This sounds really great! From this and another blog, I realize I need to search out real shaved ice. I also need to get some bubble tea.

Thanks for the comment on my blog!

dean said...

this looks pretty good. those tapioca pearls injected with sweet potato are pretty awesome. in Vietnam (and probably other parts of the world but I'm too lazy to research this) we have a dessert made with tapioca pearls resembling pomegranate arils and i've always wondered how they actually do it. these remind me of that.

it does look a little messy compared to a halo halo but the ice looks a little smoother than some of the stuff i've had stateside.

uber jealous you're on vacation now. have a good one dude.

Nicholas said...

@dean halo halo has the edge on aesthetics. That counts a lot for me. Still want the chance to try it :).

tr3x said...

oh my god. im going to freeze some almond milk tea now and shave it tomorrow for breakfast.

Nicholas said...

@jeff i'm jealous that you have almond milk tea at home! that sounds like a solid idea though. it also dawned on me that you and i have NEVER BEEN IN TAIWAN AT THE SAME TIME.

joanh said...

it was kind of crazy how they expanded like crazy and then disappeared just as quickly. i like my shaved ice with a few basic toppings and not too crazy (aka ba bao bing) so i've never been that hard core about meet fresh for some reason. i'm glad you found a new one to patron

Nicholas said...

I actually had the 八寶 thing yesterday, it does have a bit too much going on! They're not my favorite, but they used to be really convenient to visit :(.

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