Monday, September 17, 2012

dessert/taiwanese: i strongly recommend SMOOTHIE HOUSE





SMOOTHIE HOUSE 思慕昔官網
No. 9 Yong Kang St.
台北市大安區永康街9號
(02) 2395-8770

MRT: DaAn (but it is about a 20 minute walk from the nearest MRT)

website: smoothie.com.tw

hours: 11AM- 11PM

$$

Kid friendliness: kids will love the fruit and shaved ice

Visit reviewed: 6/29/2012


Smoothie House is a two story shaved ice store that has occupied a prime spot on Yong Kang St, just a half block away from Din Tai Fung and Kao Chi. There are lots of tables, there's air conditioning, there's heaping plates of fruit covered snowflake shaved ice. 


So why isn't it as famous as Ice Monster, whose new shop has lines down the street, even in the sweltering Taipei heat? I must admit, I only tried Smoothie House for the first time this past summer, and only because Yong Kang 15 (aka new Ice Monster) was closed. I probably have passed by Smoothie House dozens of times and not went in, since it wasn't the "must go to" spot for tourist friends. 

Smoothie House is still quite crowded on a rainy afternoon and we managed to grab a tiny table to squeeze around after ordering at the front counter. There are pictures on the menu for easy ordering with choices like mango shaved ice, strawberry or mixed fruit. Mango smoothies are also available though they are more like a thick slush than fruit smoothie.



Once our number was up, we grabbed our tray. We ordered two shaved ices to share between three people and it was a lot! Huge scoops of ice cream top the mountain of shaved ice and cascading chunks of fruit. 


The Fresh mango ice magic (NT$120) has regular shaved ice, while the Strawberry snowflake ice (NT$150) has a creamier melt-in-your-mouth texture almost like ice cream. Both were just as yummy (and pricey) as other places in Taipei, though definitely on the sweeter side. It's also nice to have options like strawberry when you're not feeling like mango.

Mmmmmmm.


Back in June 2012, the popular Yong Kang 15 shaved ice shop had suddenly closed down. Tourists were left looking at their guide books in confusion, looking at a closed off location. 


And in a bold business move, Smoothie King cemented its Yong Kang Street mango ice monopoly when it reopened the landmark shack that used to be it's main competitor- Yong Kang 15, and Ice Monster before that- as their second location. There will be people who might not have heard the news that Yong Kang 15 shut down and just head over to the "mango ice place on Yong Kang St." 

Smoothie House signage 2012. Copycat or coincidence?

Ice Monster 2009. 
With the same color schemes and design, the new Smoothie House spot could easily be mistaken for the original occupants. They even retained the "Yong Kang 15" signage from before, since it is technically the address, but at eye level you wouldn't tell the difference or see the small-ish Smoothie House signage above. I was really surprised when I saw what had taken over that space, but it's probably good business for them even though the new location is only steps from their original indoor shop - they had customers sitting down at 11:30AM and some people won't know or care about who the owner is as long as the shaved ice tastes good or have to wait in the half hour lines elsewhere.

What do you think matters more- location or taste or ownership? Which mango ice place is your favorite?

OTHER LOCATION

No. 15 Yong Kang St 台北市大安區永康街15號
(02) 2341-8555


2 comments:

Mendel Lin said...

Strongly recommend? I tried it once two years ago since YongKang15 took over the original ice monster. Have to say it wasn't BAD, but it wasn't great either. (Though way better than YongKang15, but that isn't saying much)
Haven't been able to try new ice monster yet, but I hope it's still the quality ingredients that they used to use. All these new places constantly use artificial syrups and the "sorbet" is always disgusting. I think it was YongKang15 where the sorbet made everything it touched taste like plastic. Thank goodness it closed down.

Hopefully the quality if Smoothie House is better now, hence the good review.

Anonymous said...

DongMen MRT is 5 minute walk.

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