Now that I’ve visited most of the independent ice cream shops in Taipei City, I have to start expanding more into New Taipei City to find new shops to write about! Luckily, there seem to be a lot of them, with more popping up every day. Open since July 2015, Xinzhuang district’s Fruit Republic is one of the newest additions.
“At Fruit Republic, we apply traditional Italian gelato-making techniques to Taiwan’s bountiful local produce, creating smooth, creamy, low-fat gelato and healthy sweets. Come to Fruit Republic and be charmed!”
Local, healthy, and low-fat? You bet I’m charmed. Let’s see if New Taipei City does gelato differently from downtown!
Tucked into an alley just around the corner from Xinzhuang Old Street, the freshly renovated shop offers a nice, quiet oasis of modernity in the midst of Xinzhuang’s traditional architecture and chaotic night market atmosphere.
The owner makes all the gelato and sorbet from scratch. Batches are small and choices are limited, ensuring optimum freshness. Today there were only seven flavours: guava sorbet, toasted almond, cherry tomato and sour plum sorbet, “malaga” (rum raisin), Tongan bourbon vanilla, Oreo cookie, and black sugar with Himalayan pink salt.
The first thing that caught my eye was the unique cherry tomato and plum sorbet. I’ve seen plum ice cream at traditional places like Right Ice Cream, He Mei, and Snow King -Snow King also does a tomato ice cream which I’ve yet to try – but this is the first time I’ve seen this classically Taiwanese combination married in an ice cream!
As the name suggests, Fruit Republic focuses on sourcing fruits grown right here in Taiwan. This box of cherry tomatoes had just been delivered from Taitung!
A cup of guava sorbet with cherry tomato and sour plum sorbet, NT$49. The portion is large, but the price is about half what you’d pay in Taipei City!
Sweet tomatoes and briny preserved plums pack a distinctive flavour punch that strikes a balance between sweet, salty, sour and savory. This combination is common in drinks and candies in Taiwan, and plum-stuffed cherry tomatoes are a popular a night market snack. The combination sounds bizarre to westerners, but once you get used to it it’s addictively complex and refreshing.
Fruit Republic’s tomato-plum sorbet is deliciously light and creamy, slightly tart, and flecked with little bits of fresh cherry tomato pulp – a rare find worth coming back for!
The guava sorbet has a lovely light, creamy texture, with all the pulp and seeds carefully strained out. The taste is subtle and pure, not aggressively sweet.
Guava, tomato, and sour plum are a classic combination – try eating them together!
My mom also loved the guava sorbet and decided it was too good to share, so she ordered her own. She paired it with the toasted almond gelato.
The toasted almond sorbet was rich and creamy with the mild, nutty flavour of toasted North American almonds (not pungent Asian almonds).
In addition to ice cream, the shop also sells handmade sweets like brownies and cookies, as well as a full menu of drinks, paninis and sandwiches.
Their coffee is quite nice and goes beautifully with the ice cream!
These traditional Taiwan-style tuile cookies are made by a local baker. They’re super tempting!
The shop is well-equipped for a relaxing afternoon, complete with magazines, board games, and free wi-fi.
I originally came to Xinzhuang to enjoy the old-school Taiwanese temple market atmosphere. I was pleased that at Fruit Republic I could grab a window seat overlooking the temple rooftops and have the best of both worlds!
Fruit Republic | 水果共和國
電話: 02 2992 9978
時間: 週二～週五14:00～21:00；週六、日12:00～21:00 (週一公休)
Address: No. 184, Xinzhuang Road, Xinzhuang District, New Taipei City
Phone: 02 2992 9978
Hours: Tuesday-Friday 14:00-21:00; Saturday & Sunday 12:00-21:00 (closed Mondays)