I hate people who are not serious about their meals. -- Oscar Wilde

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Ba Bao Bing: Shaved Ice Goodness

Om Nomz Hero Note to Self: Since Ba Bao Bing is mainly water, it’s like low fat right?



It is no secret that I like all frozen desserts, especially ice cream. Actually, that is not true; I am not really a fan of sno-cones. The syrup distribution is never right so you end up eating half a chunk of ice like a special person and then finally when you reach the bottom, you get the syrup, but by then, you have brain freeze and a frozen jaw. However, in Taiwan, I am all about shaved ice here. Shaved ice is way different than a dumb sno-cone because not only it is finely shaved; there is also the addition of toppings and syrups, so you get a better distribution of awesome icy sweetness.
Ba bao Bing as it is called is popular like this place that is located on Yong Kang St. of the former home of Ice Monster. Here we got the mixed fruit shaved ice with mango ice cream. We also got a extra scoop of raspberry ice cream because so dumbass lady snagged our order like a greedy little—well, you get the picture, I profited from her greediness. The shaved ice is like a sundae but since you are eating shaved ice, which is well, water it does not weigh you down as much as an ice cream sundae. This shaved ice was topped with strawberries, kiwi and mango, and of course, condensed milk is a must. Shaved Ice after the Jump!




Another verison of shaved ice is the almond milk ice, and this one in particular, was located in the bottom of the Eliste Food court. That is right, the bookstore has a food court, and it is damn good. Here, blocks of almond milk are shaved and then toppings are added, and in our case, peanuts and taro and of course, condensed milk. Note to those that are somewhat new to Asian foods, nuts, beans and root veggies such as taro, sweet potato and yams are often the type of “fixings” you will find. So when you want hot fudge on this thing, do not be surprised by the blank look. Sweetness here is all about control, 

No Sprinkles, or hot fudge here

The almond milk ice is shaved insanely fine, like soft fluffy snow; the result is an ice cream like texture. The almond milk ice has less ice cream bites found in some ice creams I had in the past. The peanuts are boiled and then sweetened, which give it a tender bite. The addition of sweet starchy taro, somehow works with the delicate ice and the flavors all somehow work. 


These two shaved ices are I guess “modern” however, it does not mean that you cannot find an old school shaved ice vendor on in a Tai Chi Ya or the street. These traditional styles of Ba Bao Bing do not use any fruits or condensed milk topping, just legumes, syrups, jellies and mochi. This vendor is particular has been open for god knows how long, I remember this place when I was younger and this place is still going strong. Traditional Ba Bao Bing I find to be a bit soupier almost from the addition of sugar syrup and the various liquids that accompany the toppings but regardless, this is still refreshing on a hot day, and it gets hot in Taiwan like you will not believe. 

grass jelly, sweet potato mochi, peanuts

However, one of my classic and favorite shaved ice combinations is shaved ice with red bean, “pudding” and condensed milk. The pudding is actually flan, but compared to its Latin counterparts, has a creamier and milky texture to it. I can shamelessly, eat this all on my own, and still have room for more. Unlike my ignorant co-workers, the people of Taiwan do indeed have ice cream and Cold Stone Creamery is insanely popular here for reasons that I cannot seem to comprehend. However, given that here is NY and the tristate region, finding Ba Bao Bing that is good is quite difficult (go ahead California people, rub it in!). If you are coming to Taiwan, I highly suggest a rendition of Ba Bao Bing and do not be apprehensive of the addition of legumes and taro, you might come to like it. 


Yeah, I only need a spoon

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