I felt like escaping Taipei’s concrete jungle for a day, so my friend and I took the bus to Shiding to walk around, enjoy the scenery, and enjoy some of the tofu-based delicacies Shiding is famous for – especially the tofu ice cream!
The Tomb Sweeping Festival holiday had just ended, so the streets were deserted. It was quite peaceful. But nearly all of the shops on Shiding Old Street were closed.
Fortunately, the owner of Chen Ji Health Food happened to be in her shop, and even though the shop wasn’t officially open for business, she still warmly welcomed us in for a snack.
All of the cakes and sweets at Chen Ji looked delicious, and the prices were very reasonable, so we ordered a big pile of treats to accompany our tofu ice cream.
Their tofu ice cream is really special. Actually, I thought it tasted more like soymilk than tofu, and when I asked the owner she confirmed that it’s made with fresh soymilk. It’s funny – although their soymilk is made fresh locally, all of their soybeans are imported from my home country!
The flavour is very unique, a natural beany flavour with a bit of a toasted or scalded taste. It reminds me of the house signature soymilk made by the original World Yonghe Soymilk King. The deep, rich toasty flavour and mild beaniness match really well with the sweet taste of ice cream. It tastes very balanced. Although it contains some dairy and isn’t vegan, you really can’t taste the milk at all – it tastes purely of soymilk. The level of sweetness is just right, not cloying at all. Actually, the more you eat the more you want to eat!
Because soymilk ice cream is naturally low-fat, this ice cream is quite stiff when it first comes out of the freezer and you have to let it soften for a few minutes before you can enjoy its creamy texture. The softer it gets, the better it tastes!
The tofu ice cream was too delicious. I was a little sad when it was finished. I considered buying a second cup – look how low-calorie it is! It’s seriously healthy. Eating two cups is fine, right?
But as a wannabe “locavore”, when I heard the owner say that their green tea ice cream is made with locally-grown Baozhong tea from neighbouring Wenshan district, I changed my mind and bought a cup of green tea ice cream to go with my Canadian soy. In the end, this Two Scoops Taiwan trip really ended up being “one scoop Taiwan, one scoop Canada”!
Chen Ji’s green tea ice cream is a very fresh, bright green, unlike most other matcha ice creams. The owner said they experimented with several tea varieties and decided on Wenshan Baozhong tea because it was the prettiest colour. When I tried the first bite, I found that it tastes as fresh as it looks! I thought they must have steeped the tea to make the ice cream, because it didn’t have any of green tea powder’s usual bitter taste or grainy texture. It had a rich, floral green tea flavour with notes of honey, more like a fresh green milk tea than a matcha, but the owner said they do use powdered tea leaves – they just grind them extra, extra fine.
Overall, I think Chen Ji Health Food’s ice creams are top-notch, even though it doesn’t specialize in ice cream. The tofu ice cream in particular is one of my new favourites – I would call this a must-eat delicacy in Taiwan!
Chen Ji Health Foods
Address: 77 Shiding East Street, Shiding, New Taipei City
Hours: 9:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. daily
時間：每日9:30 – 18:00