Dessert always makes people happy, and a late night opening dessert house in Chinatown has long been overdue.
The corner of Goulburn and Dixon Streets -- formerly occupied by Daniang Dumpling -- is now home to the franchised Taiwanese dessert house Meet Fresh. There are over 100 Meet Fresh outlets in Taiwan - the Sydney outlet is their first Australian venture.
In its opening week, the queues have been never-ending, mostly because of the introductory buy one get one free offer.
Staff are immaculately dressed in white uniforms with chocolate-brown head scarves, and precision seems to be a priority. Customers order and pay at the register and then wait for their order number to be called to collect both eat-in and takeaway orders. The current turnover of orders means the counter is more often a gridlock of paid but waiting customers.
Meet Fresh staff
Only two desserts qualify for buy one get one free offer:
- Taro Balls No 4, and the
- MeetFresh Signature Herbal Dessert
and we discover at the register that both orders must be the same. "The Signature Herbal Dessert is more popular," says the cashier, so we heed her advice and go with herbal.
Signature Herbal Dessert $5.50
The Signature Herbal Dessert arrives in a deep glazed ceramic bowl, holding a portion that looks more suited to a meal than a snack. On top of the glistening contours of herbal jelly are squat discs of taro and sweet potato balls. Dig beneath the jelly and you'll find a bed of finely shaved ice that has been soaked with a sweet herbal syrup.
We rip open the miniature cup of creamer and pour over the entire dessert, its splash of white particularly vivid against the glossy blackness of the herbal jelly.
It's a dessert that is a playground of textures. The aromatic herbal jelly is slippery down the throat and cool in the stomach. The pearls, made from mashed taro and sweet potato, have a rewarding chewiness that I savour slowly. According to the MeetFresh website, the pearls are made by hand, using steamed shredded taro (or sweet pumpkin) that is mixed with corn and potato powders, then kneaded by hand before shaping, cutting and cooking.
Shaved ice is super fine and tends to compact quickly, but a tap with the metal spoon will dismantle it again. Brain freeze is always imminent.
Taro pearls bathed in creamer
The dessert menu includes numerous variations of handmade taro balls as well as the herbal jelly. I'm most excited about the tofu fah traditional tofu pudding, which is available cold or hot with lotus, red bean, peanut, pearls, barley, lemon, taro balls and more.
Crushed ice desserts will be perfect for summer, and come topped with mango, fresh strawberry, lemon fig jelly and a rather delicious-sounding brown sugar jelly cake.
Drinks include traditional black or milk teas served in the currently trendy glasses that look like a square jam jar with a handle on one side. More unusual are the whipped cream teas that are mugs of black, herbal or winter melon tea topped with a frothy layer of cream.
Late night dessert house with two floors of seating? Bring on summer and late nights out, I say.
The Buy One Get One Free opening special applies to Taro Balls No. 4 Dessert and MeetFresh Signature Herbal Dessert only. Offer ends on Sunday 26 September 2010.
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Meet Fresh Taiwanese Dessert
13 Goulburn Street
(corner of Dixon Street, next to Mamak)
Haymarket Chinatown, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 8339 1031
Open 7 days 11am til late
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9/22/2010 02:41:00 am