As I previously mentioned, downtown Hualien is a hotbed of food and shopping all within easy walking distance. After enjoying wontons and the Dongdamen Night Market, we set out to look for dessert. We came across a place called Fivebar (五霸焦糖包心粉圓 / wu ba jiao tang bao xin fen yuan) that sold shaved ice—perfect for a hot summer night.
The shop looked fairly plain from the outside. Inside, there were photos with celebrities and dozens of awards on the wall. Next door even, there was a copycat shaved ice place trying to get people to enjoy their desserts. I tend to think that when you see copycats near each other in Taiwan, at least one of the shops is going to be good.
Anyway, after deciding to choose Fivebar, we were quickly seated by the owner. He’s an eccentric man who seems to love what he does, still wearing t-shirts with a variety of random designs on them.
The seating and tables are pretty modest. Most of them don’t really match and sit you low to the ground.
They have a couple of options available for purchase including hot soup desserts. We ordered the Fivebar Caramel Heart Tapioca. It’s kind of like a shaved ice pie. Ours had red bean (紅豆 / hong dou), grass jelly (仙草 / xian cao), multicolored large “heart tapioca” with filling (包心粉圓, and tofu pudding (豆花 / dou hua) on the bottom with a centimeter thick layer of freshly shaved ice on top with caramel and condensed milk drizzled on top. The heart tapioca is a mixture of different fillings including fruit, matcha, longan, brown sugar, adzuki, mango, black sesame, peanut, and taro.
Because of how varied the tapioca balls were in flavor, each bite tasted a little different.
Almost as quickly as we got seated, we were finished with our shaved ice dessert—it was pretty good to say the least. If I’m ever in the area again, I’ll have to drop by to give Fivebar another taste. Now I’m interested though in what other desserts I can get “heart tapioca” in.