Friday, September 25, 2009

以利泡泡冰 (Yi Li Bubble Ice)

So I'm a shaved ice fanatic. I don't think there's any denying that. If you shred up ice and put sugar of some sort on top, I'll most likely put it in my mouth, that's just how it works. I am also a fan of ice cream, I can polish off a half gallon container fairly easily. If only there were some sort of awesome intermediary between full out creamy ice cream, and the characteristic crunch of shaved ice. Oh wait, there is! Originally a store that was only open at 士林 (Shi Lin), 以利 or 'Yi Li' is a store that specializes in something they call bubble ice. Okay, so a cultural lesson now... shaved ice is traditionally served just as a giant plate with toppings on top. This is all well and good, but when you go to eat it, you're supposed to chop up the toppings into the ice, so that it's fully integrated. By the time your done 'playing' with it, the heat in Taiwan will most likely have melted part of it, so your final product is watery, but still semi-viscous, and retaining chunks of unmelted ice. The annoying thing here is that the ratio of topping to shaved ice is sometimes inadequate, leaving you a pool of ice water at the end. This makes me sad. Yi Li takes the guess work out of it. They mix the ingredients with ice and milk to make what is essentially a more watered down ice cream, but somehow manage to freeze it so that it's softer than a sherbet, but still firmer than a shake (note: do not tell me that this is just soft serve, because I assure you it's not). The flavors range from egg (I think they mean vanilla custard), red bean, peanut, taro, mango, Japanese plum, passion fruit, and a whole lot that I'm forgetting right now, each for 40 NT ($1.25 or so). So is it good?

My mom insisted on passion fruit, so I got 2, since I wanted taro myself. Um, I wouldn't go here if I didn't like it haha. The flavors are subtle, but distinct enough that you know what they are (which is to say, taro has a clear aftertaste that is undeniable). The texture is like having ice cream... with fiber added lol. What I mean to say is, it doesn't melt instantaneously like a Mister Softee does in your mouth, nor does it retain it's structure like Italian ice. It just kind of, becomes soft and creamy. Passion fruit was pretty win, as is taro... actually, there isn't any single flavor I dislike. Would I recommend this place? Yeah I would, especially if you're in the area. There's a couple locations, the first across from 台大 (NTU) in the 公館夜市 (Gong Guan Night Market), and another in 西門町 (Xi Men). I think there are more... but those 2 places tend to be bunched around more food, so I go more often.


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oh snap. I can control the text here?