Do not leave Taiwan without trying its famed Aiyu Jelly 愛玉冰, which can also mean ‘Loving Jade’. It is sold at most bubble tea shops, night markets, sometimes together with sago which are usually now as “Frogs laying eggs” 青蛙下蛋 in Taiwan.
If you go to Alishan, there are no less than 3 shops selling this drink-dessert, indicating it’s popularity at this original site. Also it is supposedly to taste better here due to Alishan’s high altitude.
I had a cooling cup on this hot summer, with soft yellowish jelly in a cup, drizzled with lemon juice and ice shavings flavoured with black sugar. The combination of ingredients made every spoonful sour, sweet and smooth at the same time. This was my antidote for a 35 degree weather, very mouthful being very refreshing and uplifting. Do you know where Aiyu comes from?
The jelly is made from a gel from the seeds of a variety of fig, which is greenish and looks somewhat like a smaller version of passionfruit. Word has that a businessman discovered the fruit at Alishan while drinking yellowish yet sweet water in the river, and eventually named the jelly after his favourite daughter Aiyu.
The process of extraction is sometimes known as “washing aiyu” where the seeds are squeezed and massaged – producing this soft gelatin-like texture.
Taiwanese seems to have the habit of having ‘food’ in their drinks. If you need something thirst-quenching yet delicious at the same time, get on lovin’ some jade.