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Powder Black sesame Taiwanese shaved ice with mochi: During my childhood, my family would visit Taiwan every few years, spending several weeks in the scorching heat of the summer months. Once in a while, we would be treated with the best cure for a heatwave: baobing, or Taiwanese shaved ice served alongside a variety of toppings like peanut and red bean, all saturated with a sweet syrup that flavored the ice crystals. In anticipation, we would watch as a machine transformed a large block of ice into a heap of snow, spinning into a sharp rotary blade that shredded it into shaved ice. When I went to Powder, a shaved ice store in the Lower Haight in San Francisco, this was my frame of reference for Taiwanese shaved ice. Instead, Powder serves a modern style of the classic treat, where the machine take a block of pre-flavored ice and shreds it into thin ribbons gently folding over one another, more like strips of yuba than granita. The result is amazing: an incredibly light and airy texture that's packed with creamy and concentrated flavor. The black sesame was delicious all on its own (I opted out of the syrup), and their mochi had a satisfying chewy texture. It's not the snack of my childhood, but in many ways, it's even better and is certainly a new favorite. 4.5/5.0

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4/30/2017