Tuesday, January 14, 2014

164. Taiwan Day 1: Must Have Rice Balls from Eastern Ice Store Down Lane 216 / 到216巷就是要吃東區粉圓 (Taipei: Da An District / 台北市: 大安區)

After finishing lunch at Du Hsiao Yueh (度小月), my aunt and I strolled down Lane 216, one of the most famous little back streets in all of Taipei.  We swung by Eastern Ice Store (東區粉圓冰店), an extremely popular rice ball dessert shop in Taiwan.  They are known for their chewy rice balls (粉圓 / Mandarin: fen yuan), a smaller variation of Japanese mochi that is commonly submerged under an covering of shaved ice and other sweet toppings.

Whether it is for chilled red bean soup, grass jelly, or sweet dessert tofu, the toppings range from taro rice balls, almonds, stewed peanuts, chunks of sweet potato, pineapple, passion fruit syrup, or strawberry jam.  Other choices include extra red beans, konjac jelly, white wood ear fungus, barley, and sweetened condensed milk.  The options really run the gamut.

I added the classic taro rice balls to my cold red bean soup; I loved how the rice balls were so elastic and chewy.  I also chose the almond tofu, a jello that merely looks like tofu but is actually just almond infused agar agar.  Of course, everything was topped off with a good amount of condensed milk, and I helped myself to a few extra scoops of ice... available for all customers in the strongly air conditioned seating area around the corner from the counter.  Thank goodness for Eastern Ice Store in the dead middle of summer on a sub-tropical island.  Until the next meal (give me about an hour), let's all get S.O.F.A.T.

Eastern Ice Store (東區粉圓冰店)
No. 38, Lane 216, Zhongxiao East Rd., Sec. 4, Da An District, Taipei City

ML - 20130630

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