Taiwanese shaved ice, known in its homeland as baobing, is a cool treat that provides a dizzying array of make-your-own options. Chinatown has several purveyors of the crystalline dessert (we’re looking at you, Juice Box and Twinkle), but for our money, the two locations of Star Snow Ice (9252 and 9889 Bellaire Blvd., 713-779-8886) offer the most refreshing version.
Star allows guests to add syrup and four fixings to a not-so “small” pile of ice for $2.77. For first-timers, choosing from more than 30 different toppings, including fruits, jellies and mochi, can be overwhelming, hence our handy guide to building the perfect baobing:
- The beans: It’s not baobing without a big pile of red beans to sweeten the deal.
- The jelly: Green-bean jelly adds a shocking green hue and a snappy texture (we promise the light flavor tastes nothing like a salad).
- The fruit: Kiwi provides the right sweet-and-sour contrast to your snow ice (melon would only make your ice too saccharine).
- The junket: There are likely to be wiggly mango and egg-flavored junkets (think opaque Jell-O) on offer, but choose almond, which adds a Euro-style flair that recalls lighter-than-air marzipan.
- The syrup: Cane syrup gives a pure stroke of sweetness without overwhelming the other flavors; condensed milk is too thick and creamy for a scorching day.