Posts Tagged ‘Boba tea

10 asks, “Will ‘Snow Ice’ be the next Pinkberry?”

Um, the answer is no.

Snow ice (or shaved ice) is a Taiwanese dessert: sweetened shaved ice topped with fruit, taro root (a potato-like vegetable with a creamy texture), chewy Bobas, and whatever else you can pile on. In fact, we have had difficulty identifying all the bits and bobs in our bowl of snow ice in the past. Pie V Cake’s guess is that if snow ice ever blows up, it will eventually go the way of Boba tea: trendy for a time, then relegated mainly to Asian eateries.

Here’s why:

  • It’s not like ice cream. Part of froyo’s success is that it’s a healthier alternative to a national favorite, ice cream. Snow ice is very…icy. Even with condensed milk in it, it still evokes a snow cone, which is something people typically don’t crave after puberty.
  • Hold the beans. Snow ice toppings usually include beans. Not exactly a topping we associate with desserts in the U.S.
  • We have four seasons. Snow ice is popular in Asian countries because it helps people combat the heat (Taiwan has a subtropical climate). Very few regions of the U.S. get hot enough outside of summer to have a perpetual need for a dessert like this. While froyo sales slow down in the winter, snow ice sales probably fall off a cliff.
  • Lack of portability. Snow ice is typically a huge mound of stuff. You can’t walk and eat it at the same time–although that would be a pretty awesome sight.

Photo via Serious Eats.


Care for some pepper in your tea?

Pie reviewed the desserts at Ping Pong Dim Sum a few weeks ago, but I thought the drinks were good enough to deserve their own post.

Mr. X-sXe got the pear and kumquat tea (pear purée, fresh kumquats and jasmine iced tea). Mine was the raspberry and black pepper bubble tea (raspberry purée, jasmine iced tea and chewy tapioca “pearls”). Of course, you need a ridiculously giant straw so you can suck up the pearls. While both drinks were super light and refreshing, I recommend trying the raspberry one. The black pepper in it actually worked really well. The pepper floats on the top, so you can control how much you want per sip. Sounds like an odd combination, but pepper and tea isn’t unheard of. (Chai from scratch can be brewed with many spices, including black peppercorns.)

Read pie’s review of their desserts here:


Why Asian bakeries suck

Shilla Bakery in Annandale. Try it for the bubble tea, shaved ice and (if you dare) baked goods.

Shilla Bakery in Annandale. Try it for the bubble tea, shaved ice and (if you dare) baked goods.


Ok, they don’t totally suck. I mean, they’re cheap.  For instance, you can get a deal on a wedding cake – expect to pay around $300 to serve 150 people. Plus – and this a big plus – you can get Boba (bubble) tea there.


There’s a reason Chinese restaurants serve orange slices with your check. Desserts are more of a Western culinary tradition. Sure, we Asians have our shaved ices, our fried bananas, our mango sticky rice. Then there’s the sweet stuff I prefer not to go near: mochi, bean-filled moon cakes, taro-root anything. But mostly, I grew up eating cut fruit for dessert, cultivating a hankering for the cakes and cookies I couldn’t get my hands on.

When I lived in Taipei, there was a bakery on every block. You could count on them for a cheap lunch. Vienna sausage bun topped with corn kernels, anyone? To this day, that sweet yeasty smell I associate with Asian bakeries (and Subway) can make my stomach turn.  The breads are too sweet; the cakes are pale versions of their Western counterparts. Fresh dairy ingredients are nowhere in sight. But me, I need my artery-clogging buttercreams and ganaches to be truly happy. Now excuse me while I go do some frosting shots.