It’s fun food February here at Five Beans Food, and the first recipe for the month is actually our first ever guest post. Special guest blogger Serina from Ms Frugal Ears shares her fun and fabulous recipe for mango shaved ice, Taiwanese style:
When the weather is hot, hot, hot and it feels like the heatwave will never end, what is even more refreshing than ice-cream? Shaved ice!
Variations of shaved ice are popular throughout Asia, but mango shaved iced has taken on super star status in Taiwan. Traditionally shaved water ice in Taiwan was topped by fruit or other toppings (e.g. sweet potato dumplings or tapioca pearls) and then a brown sugar syrup and/or condensed milk was poured over it. But mango ice became an overnight sensation around eight years ago, and there are no signs of the trend stopping.
The mango shaved ice story
It all happened when a couple opened a shop called Ice Monster in Taipei’s gourmet Yongkang St district. It developed a cult following, with people queuing for hours to enjoy mango ice. What set it apart from other shaved ice was the generous servings, the sweet mango flavoured ice, and the finale of mango sorbet on top.
The couple split up, and each went on to open new restaurants in different locations. One reopened in a different location with the same name; I have seen long queues even in the middle of winter. And other businesses including Mango Cha Cha (whose owner proudly sports an orange coloured mohawk as his hairstyle of choice) sprang up offering mango ice dishes. Suddenly, mango shaved ice was everywhere and the must eat street food in Taiwan.
Back home in Australia I have recreated the ice dessert that I love so well. I found an ice shaver (a Sunbeam Avalanche), and that has helped me recreate the texture of shaved ice desserts. But you can use a blender instead; it will be slightly more slushy but still delicious. My personal preference is for an ice confection without added ice cream or sorbet on top as I like to keep things simple; if you have great mangos I like to focus on that flavour. I also like the ice to be, well, icy rather than thick like an ice-cream as its granite-like consistency melts beautifully into the bowl.
Mango shaved ice is a fun and impressive thing to make for a casual dinner party. I totally wowed my boyfriend with this. I hope you wow your guests with it as well.
Taiwanese mango shaved ice
About our guest blogger
Serina has lived in Taiwan twice; as a student and was later posted there for her work. When she lived in Taiwan she posted about her life there (and the food she ate and cooked) on www.taiwanxifu.com. She now blogs (www.msfrugalears.com) about reaching her financial goals through mindful frugality, inspired by her former mother-in-law who told her (not as a compliment) that she had frugal ears. She is currently half way through a one-year challenge to survive on only $50 a week for grocery shopping.