Exhibition evokes memories of frozen desserts in Taiwan

Taiwan boasts variety of icy treats as part of its gastronomic scene

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The Taste of Summer exhibition (Museum 207 photo)

The Taste of Summer exhibition (Museum 207 photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – An exhibition on traditional Taiwanese methods of cooling down is being held at Museum 207 in the historical area of Taipei’s Dadaocheng.

Titled “The Taste of Summer,” the exhibition runs from July 18 to Dec.15. It will take visitors on a journey back in time to learn how people in Taiwan fought the heat by enjoying shaved ice desserts in the early days before air-conditioners.

Chen Kok-choo (陳國慈), the Hong Konger founder of Museum 207, noted that she was perplexed by the popularity of the frozen dessert culture of Taiwan when she first visited the island in 1966. “Hong Kong people believe icy foods are not good for [their] health,” she said, adding that she immediately fell in love with the delectable ice treats Taiwan boasts, reported Central News Agency.

“The art of Taiwan’s ice sweets can only be found in myths,” she exclaimed.

According to Anchi Hua (華安綺), the curator of Museum 207, the first ice factory in Taiwan was established in 1897, and since then Taiwanese have taken to frozen desserts. The exhibition seeks to evoke nostalgic memories of a time when cinemas were equipped with electric fans instead of air-conditioning units, said Taiwanese historian Chuang Yung-ming (莊永明).

At the exhibition's opening, an 84-year-old ice shop owner showed off the rare skill of “hand-shaving ice” to the delight of visitors. He has witnessed the development of Taiwan’s iconic shaved ice culture since the era when a bowl cost only NT$1, wrote CNA.

An 84-year-old ice shop owner showed off the rare skill of “hand-shaving ice”(CNA photo)