Ice Desserts at Taipei’s Yong Kang Street

January 4, 2011 in Food, Taiwan, Travel by pacejmiller

[Note: Yong Kang Street is in the Da-An District in Taipei.  The nearest main road is XinYi Road Section 2, and it’s just around the corner from the original Din Tai Fung restaurant and a Kingstone book store.]

Can’t believe I still haven’t finished my posts from Taiwan, but I’m slowly getting there.

Today’s post is about a lesser known street less frequented by tourists.  It’s not really a ‘night market’, but it’s an area with lots of restaurants and places to eat particularly the stewed beef noodle soup.  There are contests every year to determine the best stewed beef noodle soups in Taiwan, and apparently many of the winners come from this particular street.  Most of them have walls of photos of celebrities who have come to visit.

To be honest, I tried one or two during my last visit, and none 0f them stood out as particularly outstanding.  The soups were a little too oily, and a little too salty, but the textures of the noodles were fantastic.  For those who want to try, I’d advise one with pickled veges that you can toss in to add more of a kick to the flavours.

Anyway, there’s a lot more to Yong Kang street than just the stewed beef noodle soups.  The street is right next to the original Din Tai Fung restaurant, and there are plenty of similar restaurants along the street, including one called Kao Chi, which is not a bad place to visit if Din Tai Fung is too crowded (and it usually is).  There are also some traditional Taiwanese restaurants that serve soups and noodles, as well as some Vietnamese and Thai places.  You’ll also find some stalls serving traditional snacks, including supposedly the same pepper buns/pastries you can find at Raohe Street Night Market.

On the last night I visited Yong Kang Street, I tried a small Italian place further down the road.  You order at the counter and eat inside around the corner.  The menu variety is limited but the place is very popular, so we decided to give it a try.  With three people, we ordered two pastas (a spicy seafood one and a duck breast one), a soup and two salads.  Not bad flavours, but I’ve had better, even just around Taipei.  I’ll let the pictures do the talking.  Gonna try the slideshow! [sorry but I can’t get rid of the ice dessert picture from the slideshow]

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Even though we were stuffed after our big Italian meal, we just had to try the one other thing that Yong Kang Street is famous for — ice desserts.  For those who haven’t tried one before, you’re missing out.  It’s only shaved ice with fruits and syrups (and ice cream), but they are divine, particularly on a hot night.  You can also get them at the food hall at Shiling Night Market, but it feels cleaner at Yong Kang Street.

There used to be only one place that was always packed out (I think it was called ‘Ice Monster’), especially during the summer, but apparently the owners (husband and wife) split up and now it’s owned by someone else.  So this time, we tried the new place across the road called ‘Smoothie House’ (website).  As far as I know there’s only one in Taipei (and one in Taichung), but I’m sure we’ll see more franchises pop up all around Taiwan soon.

We ended up going with the strawberry and the mango.  Both huge and delicious.  See above.

Yong Kang Street isn’t a ‘must visit’ in Taipei, but if you have a bit of extra time on your hands or can still fit in a dessert after heading to Din Tai Fung, then you should definitely check it out.

I’ll leave you with pics of the two ice dessert places.