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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Meet Fresh Taiwanese Dessert House, Haymarket Chinatown, Sydney

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.

Adding creamer

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.

View Larger Map
Meet Fresh on Urbanspoon

Meet Fresh Taiwanese Dessert
13 Goulburn Street
(corner of Dixon Street, next to Mamak)
Haymarket Chinatown, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 8339 1031

Opening hours:
Open 7 days 11am til late

Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Late night dessert - Chat Thai, Sydney
Late night dessert - LNC Dessert House, Sydney
15 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 9/22/2010 02:41:00 am


  • At 9/22/2010 8:22 am, Anonymous Juliana said…

    Oh! This place bring me so many memories of my trips to Taiwan, I could have these desserts all day long, and the taro balls are so yummie!

  • At 9/22/2010 8:58 am, Blogger the dainty baker said…

    This place reminds me of Cabra & the desserts I used to have as a kid there... love my Asian desserts

  • At 9/22/2010 10:01 am, Blogger Angie Lives to Eat (and Cook)! said…

    Oh how interesting, from what I've read good ridance to Daniang Dumplings? Never tried it but this place looks like a goer on the next late night out in the city =)

  • At 9/22/2010 10:55 am, Anonymous Hannah said…

    This post is like agony to my never-had-ice-desserts brain. But at the same time, the post is like crack. Can't. Stop. Looking. And. Wanting.

  • At 9/22/2010 11:08 am, Anonymous billy@atablefortwo said…

    this place looks promising. Dinner, then Mamak, finishing off with dessert at MeetFresh....
    yes yes I can picture it now already! hahahaha

  • At 9/22/2010 11:11 am, Blogger joey@forkingaroundsydney said…

    Interesting. My folks are going to Taiwan soon too ....

  • At 9/22/2010 11:17 am, Blogger Monica ^o^ said…

    Must make my way there...VERY SOON !

  • At 9/22/2010 11:29 am, Blogger Stephcookie said…

    Hurray for another late night dessert place! There definitely need to be more late night places in Sydney :) omg I love tofu fah so much.

  • At 9/22/2010 12:47 pm, Blogger Sara @ Belly Rumbles said…

    This is a must try and I agree brown sugar jelly cake sounds pretty good.

  • At 9/22/2010 10:15 pm, Blogger Viv said…

    Finally Sydney has a nice asian dessert place to satisfy post-dinner cravings in the city! MeetFresh is always on my list whenever I'm in Taiwan (like now ;))...however it's not popular anymore in TW...so I guess it's a good move for them to open in Syd!

  • At 9/23/2010 3:52 am, Blogger naughtyfox1983 said…

    had the taro dessert with cream n peanuts ..... it was so delish; moreish in a refreshing way

  • At 9/23/2010 11:59 pm, Anonymous penny aka jeroxie said…

    My! So many delicious desserts. It is noted in my to go list.

  • At 9/24/2010 12:05 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Ahhh speedy Helen! I only found out recently cos of my cousing bout this place hee hee. You always in the know :P

  • At 10/11/2010 1:00 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Juliana - I must go to Taiwan sometime. Seems like you have all the best franchises!

    Hi the dainty baker - I love Asian desserts too!

    Hi Angie - lol. I wasn't a huge fan.

    Hi Hannah - You're starting to accumulate quite a list for your Sydney visit :)

    Hi Billy - A plan indeed!

    Hi Sarah - I'm really intrigued by the brown sugar jelly cake too.

    Hi FFichiban - I make it my business. lol

  • At 11/01/2010 10:43 am, Blogger sarynkay said…

    oh wow!! I ate there when in Taipei earlier this year and love it! So happy that a store is now available in Sydney. I can't wait to come back and eat there!
    Sydneysiders sure are blessed!


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