SNOW KING ICE CREAM or XUE WANG
(CLOSED but relocating a/o summer 2015)
hours: 12noon to 10pm
Kid friendliness: benches and seats and ice cream!
Visit reviewed: 4/16/2009 & 4/30/2009
Sweet. Sour. Spicy. Savory. Snow King Ice Cream has any kind of flavor you'd want, and yes, it's ice cream.
See the menu above? Carrot, Honey, Mustard, Curry, Chili Pepper, Mint, Tomato, Basil, Bitter Melon. Yup, still ice cream flavors.
Not strange enough? There's also chicken, soybean curd, pork floss and pig's feet flavored ice cream.
But don't let those unusual flavors scare you away if you're strictly a chocolate or strawberry. Snow King also does fabulous traditional flavors that tastes as if you were eating the essence of the fruits or flavors themselves. My favorite is peach, which has small chunks of icy peach inside, or recently, I tried guava, which tastes like melt-in-your-mouth guava.
A much wider array of flavors are available than most of the chain shops in town- Snow King offers around 73 almost every day, and all of its ice cream is handmade by the shop, most using local ingredients.
Seeing Snow King packed with students gasping in delight and clamoring to taste and share the various flavors they had ordered reminded me of the first time I came with a bunch of friends from the states five years ago. The store has a "no sample" policy, so if you want to give Taiwan Beer or Sweet Corn or Rose ice cream a try, you have to buy a scoop. Otherwise they'd probably go out of business giving away samples from curious visitors.
Each flavor is priced differently and the prices are shown on the Chinese menu. They have an English menu upon request (but it doesn't have the prices on them). Most scoops run from NT$60-$100, but goes as low as NT$45 for Milk, Sesame or Mint and as high as NT$150 for Ginseng. It's also worth noting that one of their popular flavors- Taro- has been discontinued for a few years, much to the sadness of my visiting friend.
Making each flavor into ice cream basically reduces it to its core notes of flavors- like my sister got Kiwi and it was a bit sour with the flecks of crunchy kiwi seeds throughout- especially since I took a bite of it after I ate my peach ice cream.
Snow King Ice Cream is perfect to take a group of visiting friends after walking around nearby Ximending. It's basically across the street and a few blocks from the Ximen MRT, near the police station and Zhongshan Hall.
I know you guys love desserts, so looking forward to hearing if anyone has tried some of the weirder flavors and what you thought!