Touristy sightseeing destinations are often full of overhyped famous snack shops and low-quality street food vendors – large crowds don’t necessarily mean good food. So when I was walking down crowded Kenting Street during a recent vacation in Kenting, I was surprised to discover Le Pélican, a shop selling high-quality French-style handmade ice cream!
It seemed quite popular, with a lot of customers coming and going. The menu included both unique and traditional flavours, and I could tell it wasn’t your average cheap tourist ice cream shop.
The sign on the wall says: “We insist on traditional French-style handmade methods, high-quality European ingredients, 100% pasture-raised milk, and alkaline water; zero additivies, artificial colourings or preservatives; made and sold on the premises; visibly healthy”. But after talking with the staff I found that they don’t use 100% European-imported ingredients – they also use a lot of locally-produced Taiwanese fruits and nuts!
牆壁上的牌寫著: “我們的堅持傳統法式手工調製，歐洲進口高級食材，100% 牧場純牛奶，鹼性還原水，不添加人工色素及防腐劑，自製自銷，健康看得見” 。然而，我跟店員聊天以後我發現了此店不是使用100%歐洲進口食材 — 還會用很多台灣本地生產的水果跟堅果喔!
According to staff, Le Pélican’s three top-selling flavours are kiwi, mango and chocolate. They have a few hard-to-find flavours that attracted my attention, especially lavender. Fresh handmade lychee sorbet is also fairly uncommon. The staff are generous with the samples – they let me try a lot of samples – but the more flavours I try, I try the more difficult it is to choose one!
The first thing I tried was lavender. I thought it was quite good – the texture is super smooth and creamy, and the lavender flavour is very authentic. It tastes just like the lavender I grow in my front yard in Canada, with a heavy floral flavour that matches well with a vanilla-based ice cream. Lavender doesn’t really grow in Taiwan and most Taiwanese aren’t really used to the flavour. I really like it, but my Taiwanese friend had a taste and said it was like eating shampoo.
Next, I tried raspberry, mango, lychee and strawberry milk flavours. In Europe, good raspberry sorbet is usually very concentrated and quite tart, with a bit of an earthy vegetable flavour left over from the seeds – at least that’s the kind of raspberry sorbet I’m used to eating. I felt like Le Pélican’s raspberry sorbet was just ok – a little too mild, more sweet than sour, and without any of the slightly earthy taste I expect – but the boss said it’s quite popular, so I guess it’s been adapted to Taiwanese tastes.
Strawberry milk flavour is pretty good – they use locally-grown strawberries from Dahu. It tastes very simple and pure, just strawberries with milk and sugar.
The lychee sorbet is quite special, because it has no artificial flavour at all – it tastes like frozen mashed lychees. It’s really sweet, because fresh lychees are actually not too acidic – the sweet-tart lychee flavour we often taste is produced by artificial flavourings. Mango sorbet is also very pure – you can really taste the natural, complex flavours of the mangoes. I guessed they used golden mangoes instead of Irwin mangoes, because the sorbet doesn’t taste tart at all, and Irwin mangoes tend to be more acidic than golden mangoes, but I didn’t ask the staff what kind they use. The mango sorbet was excellent, very smooth, and it had the slightly vegetable-y flavour that fresh handmade sorbet should have. I was about to order it, and then I decided to try one more flavour…
…peanut butter! The staff told me they make it with fresh, local Tainan peanuts. It’s much richer than any peanut ice cream I’ve had before. I fell in love at the first bite…and finally decided what I wanted to order!
My friend also tried the blueberry yogurt, vanilla latte and lychee flavours. This shop uses Canadian-grown blueberries! I can personally confirm that Canadian blueberries are super yummy.
In the end, my friend decided to go with the lychee sorbet. A single scoop costs $85NT, which is quite reasonable, but a medium-sized cup with two flavours only costs $125NT, which is a better deal, so we got a medium cup with one scoop of peanut butter and one scoop of lychee. The shop doesn’t have seats and only sells takeout, so we took our ice cream to the convenience store across the street to sit down and eat it.
The lychee sorbet is textured with little bits of fruit pulp. You can taste the freshness!
The peanut ice cream is smooth and velvety, with just a dash of crushed peanuts. It’s bursting with flavour; the rich, roasted nuttiness is well-balanced with sweetness and milkiness. It’s by far the best peanut ice cream I’ve ever had – even my peanut-hating friend liked it and ate a whole bunch, and I had to race her to make sure I still got some for myself!
Overall, I think Le Pélican is a very professional, quality-focused shop. All of their ice creams and sorbets are natural and delicious, so you really can’t go wrong. This is a must-try when visiting Kenting, and if you can’t make the trip, you can still order delivery!
Address: No. 205, Kending Road, Hengchun Township, Pingtung County
Phone: +886 986 790 970
Hours: Sun-Mon 12:00 pm – 12:30 am
Tues-thurs 12:00 pm – 12:00 am
Fri-Sat 12:00 pm – 1:00 am
電話: +886 986 790 970
營業時間: 周日、一 12:00 pm – 12:30 am
周二、三、四 12:00 pm – 12:00 am
周五、六 12:00 pm – 1:00 am