Taipei kong mahal 180815 (Rapsa Edition): Fire and Ice Dumpling | Travel in Asia

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Taipei kong mahal 180815 (Rapsa Edition): Fire and Ice Dumpling


“No. 7”, said by the waiter as he brought to my table a bowl of ice and six pieces of glutinous rice balls.   It looks like a bird's nest.  Sprinkled with osmanthus flowers, its unusual appearance made me wonder on what is special about this Taiwanese dessert.   It's all white!  No jellies.  No beans.  Just dumplings and ice at first sight.  Haha!

Yù pǐn yuán (御品元) restaurant

You can find the dessert in Tonghua Night Market or better known as Linjiang Night Market.  Smaller than Raohe Night Market, the intersection of Tonghua Road and Linjiang Street in Taipei's Daan District transforms every night into a parade of street food.  And look what I have found! The Yù pǐn yuán (御品元) restaurant.    It is open every night from 6:00 pm (5:30 pm every Saturday and Sunday) to 12 midnight.  Great for night owls like me.

The menu.  My order is No. 7

Visiting the store at 10:30 pm was a wise decision.  There was no line but I knew that they have lots of customers during peak hours because of the retractable-belt barrier that stands in front of the restaurant.   The staff asked me in Chinese but I could not reply in Mandarin.  I just showed to them a photo of my order and they instantly let me inside.  I sat on an empty table and waited for ”No. 7” to arrive on my table. The Sesame and Peanut Tangyuan with Osmanthus Soup flavored fire and ice dumpling.

The lemon juice is that whitish liquid inside the bottle.

osmanthus soup
After receiving it, I stared at my dessert for a long time imagining what would it taste like. Something must be missing so I observed my fellow customers if they are doing something special.  I saw a man stood up and went to the entrance together with his bowl of ice and poured something into it.  Eureka!  

An illustration in the restaurant helps explain how to correctly sprinkle the osmanthus and lemon flavors on the dessert.

Sprinkle the lemon juice on the ice part only.

“This is sugar.  This is lemon”, the waiter explained to me their special flavoring.  Both are liquids and I believed the “sugar” to be something like a mixture of honey with osmanthus flowers floating on it.  I poured the liquid both into the dumplings and ice, but I was told to apply only the lemon juice on the ice portion of the dessert.  

So the fire and ice dumpling have a magical sweet and sour taste.  The fillings of the glutinous rice balls are the tangyuan sesame and peanut butter.  The metallic color of the former excited me so much while the latter is just ordinary for me.  Both taste great.  Adding to the sweet taste of dessert is the “sugar”.  The dumplings and honey-like liquid complemented each other, dominating the sour taste of the “lemon”  sprinkled ice portions.  The combination of flavors is unusual in Taiwan where the thick fructose taste of mangoes dominate most of the island's summer delights. 

The glutinous rice balls slowly harden as it gets soaked in the ice cold water.

Yehey! I have found another great Taiwanese shaved ice dessert. The glutinous rice balls that were cooked in the fire but bathed in a sweet and sour flavored ice.  Highly recommended for international visitors wishing to discover a new craving for their taste buds. Joining the ranks of the watermelon milk cool balls and Jingimoo, I give a perfect score for the Fire and Ice Dumpling.

Yù pǐn yuán (御品元) restaurant
address: No. 31, Alley 50, Lane 39, Tonghua Street, Da’an District, Taipei City, 106
[Google Map]
Open: Monday - Friday, 6:00 pm to 12 midnight
           Saturday - Sunday, 5:30 pm to 12 midnight

How to get here:  MRT Xinye Anhe Station (Red Line) -> Go to Exit 4 -> walk 500 meters

My order:
Sesame and Peanut Tangyuan with Osmanthus Soup: NTD 80
(5 out of 5 luomujie stars)

Rapsa is a slang for the Filipino word "sarap" which means delicious. Delicious -> sarap -> "rapsa" (inverted syllable order). The Rapsa Edition of the "My Beloved Taipei" Travel Series will take readers to the tastiest and yummiest foods in Taipei. Get to know the best desserts and local delicacies that Taiwan's capital has to offer, through this subprogram of the luomujie blog.



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