If you want me to find an equivalent for 永康街 Yong Kang Street in Taipei, I probably can’t. It’s hard to pin-point what the exact charm is, and perhaps can be too ordinary to give a miss easily. The street comes out of nowhere, not vaguely near any train stations, and the nearest attraction is the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall 国立中正纪念堂.
People flock here for Ding Tai Feng 鼎泰豊, famous beef noodles 老张 and 永康牛肉面. And yet there’s still a peaceful quiet along the street with a park, coffee joints and schools.
One of the main reason that brought me here is Ice Monster 冰馆. There is nothing really impressive about the décor of Ice Monster, with plastic black and yellow chairs decked out at a shophouse in the corner. The shop looks like it can fall apart any moment! The logo is a sweating grouchy ice man. Yet local Taiwanese, Korean and Japanese tourists will look out for the first empty bench so that they can quickly take a seat to sample some mango goodness. On a hot summer day, this is probably your best refuge.
There are various combinations of deserts filled with mango, strawberry, and kiwi fruits to choose from, and friendly serving staff dressed in pale blue tees will get you your orders in a nifty. Ice desserts in Taipei are aplenty, but you haven’t tried the real stuff till you are here.
With a hefty price of NT160, that’s $7-8 for mango ice kachang. Worth the price? The ingredients are simple – shaved ice, mango, mango syrup and specialty made condensed milk. But the combination will make you remember this refreshing taste for a long long time.
Jolin Tsai says that Taiwan mangoes are the sweetest in the world and is a fan of this store. But of course, she is the ambassador. I won’t claim the mangoes best in the world, but certainly better than many I have tasted, including Thailand and Singapore and that makes a whole lot of difference. Perhaps that’s why the Singapore branches in Plaza Sing and Bencoolen Square hasn’t really taken the country by storm. Just fill it up with more mangoes!
No.15, Yongkang St., Da-an District, Taipei City 106