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I usually don`t care much for how a dish is plated, or how it looks. As long as it tastes good, well... I honestly couldn`t care less if it looked like it just went 10 rounds with robot Jesus. Basically, if you put food in front of me, and I think it has even the slightest potential to taste awesome, then it`s probably going in my mouth. When I saw this bowl of shaved ice though, in at a shop called (shui gui bo), it was love at first sight. Color me (pun intended) impressed. For just 50 NT ($1.50), you can buy a masterpiece... of shaved ice I mean.
Not unlike an artist`s palette, this bowl of shaved ice blends glassy grass jelly, colorful mochi balls, red beans, almond tofu, starchy little balls (not mochi) made out of yam and taro, and puts it all over the most OG of all varieties of shaved ice... shaved ice made from brown sugar. Luckily, it`s not just all looks and no substance. This shop, which predates my parents apparently, makes a mean bowl of shaved ice. Each of the toppings complements the others extremely well. The red beans provide an earthy sweetness, the almond tofu adds a subtle nutty fragrance, and the yam balls, mochi, and grass jelly provide for a myriad of contrasting textures, each worthy of their place. When you run out of toppings, the almond milk mixed with half melted brown sugar shaved ice is unlike any combination I`ve had elsewhere. Now, I won`t say this is the end all be all shaved ice in Taiwan, but damn... it definitely ranks up there. Seriously though, that`s straight artwork. Find a prettier bowl of shaved ice. It`ll never happen.