Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Frozen Treets!

This past Friday I spent some time with my friend Clair at a local night market in Taichung. It was a bit early in the day (about 5:00) so it wasn't too crowded and we had a nice time browsing through the stalls and picking up some food to eat.

After eating our main course of delicious fried chicken, we had two frozen treats that I have never had before.

The first dessert we tried was Liang Yuan (涼圓), which translates directly to "ice circles." Basically they were small balls of flavor-less, semi-solid jelly-like substance surrounding a sweet inside. The purple-looking ones had a sweet red-bean paste inside and I'm not sure what was in the white ones, although I liked those ones better than the purple ones.
The second dessert that we ate that night was more similar to a traditional western frozen treat, but still very different from anything you'd find in a typical American ice-cream shop.

The top scoop here is red-bean ice cream (made from azuki beans). You may be thinking, "red bean ice cream... sounds gross!" But actually it was surprisingly delicious! I can't quite describe the taste, but I definitely recommend checking it out if you get a chance. It was light and refreshing. I would have never known it was made from beans if Clair hadn't told me.

Underneath the ice cream was a small layer of beans, which were actually a really nice addition, and then the bottom layer was green-bean slush. Again... something that sounds quite unappetizing, but was actually really good. It didn't taste at all like green beans. It had a mild, sweet flavor and a texture that reminded me of the Italian ice from back home.

All-in-all, I give both desserts two thumbs up!

In addition to our food, I did make one purchase at the night market. With Clair's encouragement, I bought my first face-mask! haha. Now I'm a real local!

Many Taiwanese wear these masks while they are driving scooters around the city to protect them from the pollution, although I'm not sure how much they really help. You can buy them for $25NT (about $0.75 US) and most of them are basically a piece of cotton with some elastic (although you can buy some with filters). I believe they're often worn as a fashion accessory just as much as a means of protection. My mask has snoopy on it!

Me and Clair with our new masks!

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