I found the oddly-named Boat Come Taro Ice on a random Google Maps scan of the neighbourhood when I was shopping on Dihua Street the other day. I’d never heard of the place before – the main branch is in Yilan, apparently. The Taipei branch keeps a low profile and doesn’t seem to have developed the cult following it deserves. This is one of those legit “too good to be true” places where you wonder why people aren’t lined up down the block. They have a pretty solid company message:
“Established in Yilan’s Luodong Township in 2013, Boat Come Taro Ice aims to give consumers a healthy, natural alternative to the chemically preserved and artificially flavoured products that currently fill our shelves. Boat Come is dedicated to using only pure, natural ingredients and fresh, seasonal produce – we never add unhealthy chemicals like preservatives, artificial flavour, or artificial colour. We make healthy products you can feel good about eating.”
The interior is a bit sterile, but clean and pleasant. The atmosphere is quiet and subdued – good for reading or relaxing after an afternoon of shopping on Dihua Street!
They’ve decorated with some nice traditional paintings and carvings, reflecting the historic atmosphere of the surrounding neighbourhood. The wooden tables and counters are very attractive.
The menu above the counter advertises ice creams and beverages. Boat Come specializes in lighter, Taiwan-style ice cream, similar to the kind I tried at Tonghua Night Market. Most of the ingredients are local. Most of the ice creams are NT$60 for a small (200-gram) serving or NT$200 for a 600-gram tub. Durian and black sesame are more expensive, at NT$80 for a small serving and NT$260 for a tub, respectively.
Wait a second…durian?! The notoriously smelly King of Fruits, which no ice cream maker in Taiwan dares to touch? My ultimate favourite food in the entire world? My flavour soul mate?
Yes. Yes, it’s true. This place really sells durian ice cream. Those who haven’t acquired a taste for the durian may not understand the importance of such a discovery, but hardcore durian fans should be as excited as I was!
Of course, there was no question what I’d order, but as a formality I sampled all the other flavours anyway! The boss is generous with the samples, scooping out little cups with a few bites each.
The taro was nice and light. The peanut was sweet and rich and quite tempting…but still not enough to sway me.
The milk ice cream was light and refreshing. I liked the soft, slightly slushy texture. The longan ice cream had a very pure longan flavour – it didn’t taste milky at all, but I forgot to ask whether it’s vegan or not. I found the texture a little icy, though.
Matcha, mango and kidney bean. Kidney bean sounds weird, but it makes a nice, mild, dense ice cream. It’s normally one of my go-to flavours – especially at He Mei Ice Treat House in Yonghe – but this one was a little to “healthy-tasting” even for me. It tastes like…beans. Pretty much straight-up beans. But the matcha and mango were tasty enough to win my friend’s choice.
所以，我很認真地嚐試了每款口味以後，毫不遲疑地點了小份流連冰淇淋。我以為NT$80只買得到一半的單球份量，跟其他的手工冰淇淋店一樣，甚至比很多店還便宜一些……然後……這個東西上桌了。這巨大冰淇淋山。三球。三球甜美又綿密的天然榴槤冰淇淋真的才NT$80。這就是榴槤迷的天堂! 這個價格真的太誇張了吧 — 80元甚至200克榴槤果肉也買不到，更何況已切好、去皮、去籽、打成果泥再做成冰淇淋的榴槤!
So, having dutifully sampled all the other flavours, I ordered my durian ice cream. At NT$80, I was expecting a single scoop – the standard price for handmade ice cream in Taipei, or even a little cheaper. But this. This is what I got. A giant bowl of sweet, creamy, icy durian heaven. Three scoops. THREE SCOOPS for NT$80. The price is truly insane – you can’t even buy 200 grams of raw durian for that price, let alone durian that’s already been cut, peeled, pureed, and turned into gourmet ice cream!
Oh my lord, it was perfect. Basically pure, frozen durian puree, with enough milk to smooth and mellow the flavour a little. Not sugary or artificial at all. The texture is super-soft and creamy due to the lack of thickeners. This is the closest to heaven I’ve been since I went to a durian bar in Malaysia. Did I eat this entire huge bowl myself? You bet I did. And I thought about ordering seconds.
Oh, right. The other bowl of ice cream. Yeah, you can order something besides durian, if you must. That’s ok. More durian for me. This is my mom’s bowl of mango, matcha and milk tea ice cream. This entire bowl was only NT$60. That’s NT$20 a scoop. I’m not kidding.
The matcha was quite strong, but a little too icy for me – I like my matcha creamy and smooth, to balance the bitterness. The pearl milk tea was quite nice, though – the lower cream quantity in this ice cream allowed the black tea flavour to come through more, making it more rich and flavourful than the milk tea ice cream I’ve had in European-style shops. The mango was almost a sorbet, but not quite, containing a tiny bit of milk – not enough to be a sherbet, but still not a dairy-free sorbet. It was tasty and refreshing, but nothing special. I thought the fruit content could have been a little higher.
They also have a full east-meets-west menu with pizza, noodles, gratin, soups, and other light snacks and full meals. But I think I’d rather save more room for durian ice cream.
船來芋冰雪淇淋 | Boat Come Taro Ice