The interesting thing about Taiwanese ice-cream is how completely and totally it fails to be anything at all like anything associated with ice-cream, yet it remains delicious. This is not the same thing as saying that the interesting thing about nachos is how completely and totally it fails to be anything at all like anything associated with chocolate, yet remains delicious, because nachos never claimed to be chocolate in the first place. And why would they? I mean, really? Chocolate is great for tasting something sweet, or wrapping around mint; it makes some people very happy, and others very fat, and these are all good things. But, they’re no meal. They’re no nachos.
To continue, Taiwanese ice-cream, as near as I can tell, contains no milk, for instance; except, perhaps, Incidental Milk™ which might materialize in the form of yogurt balls in Taiwanese ice-cream suspension, or the like. I’ve not seen a flavor featuring yogurt balls in suspension, but if I were to, I would be precluded from including “lack of milk” as a strike against Taiwanese ice-cream, were it not for this caveat. Taiwanese ice-cream is more of a finely scrushed sno-cone, or more solidly frozen gelato (the later, I think containing milk, but then I never claimed culinary expertise).
Another reason that Tawainese ice-cream is not ice-cream (besides that aforementioned lack of… cream), is the cone. Americans understand that it is all about the cone. It is so all about the cone, in fact, that often I don’t even get the cone (or it’s all-powerful cousin, the waffle cone) as I realize in advance that I am not presently ready for its awesome power. The Taiwanese cone is not, in fact, even a cone in shape. Instead it is a cylinder (for a handle), topped by an open-ended, short box (not completely unlike a sandbox… but mostly unlike it). It serves the same function, and appears to be made of the same material but is not. Instead of the slightly sweet, graham-ish flavor of a true cone, the Taiwanese versions are clearly made out of a nearly-edible styrofoam… though in several snappy colors, which I can’t help but envy.
Lastly, two words: tiny little clear plastic spoons.
Still, though: delicious, if not bewildering.