A Peanut Brittle and Ice Cream Roll in Jiufen

Peanut brittle and taro ice cream treat
Peanut brittle and taro ice cream treat.

Pictured here is one of my favourite Taiwanese snacks, an ice cream and peanut brittle spring roll, commonly known as huāshēng juǎn bīngqílín 花生捲冰淇淋 (literally “peanut roll ice cream”). Apparently it originated in Yílán 宜蘭 but you can now find these treats served at night markets and street vendors all around Taiwan. Each roll consists of freshly shaved peanut brittle, two or three scoops of various flavours of ice cream, and a bunch of chopped cilantro in a thin popiah skin 薄餅皮.

Since I absolutely detest cilantro (which isn’t just me being picky—it’s genetic, thank you very much) I always order this snack herb-free by saying bùyào xiāngcài 不要香菜 (literally “not want aromatic vegetable”). I have also become somewhat more selective of the type of ice cream used. Taro, pineapple, and red bean are common but there’s also one that tastes like bubble gum, yuck. All taro is fine by me.

Anyhow, this dessert is so common that I have no specific recommendation of where to find it. This particular image was captured in Jiǔfèn 九份, where several vendors serve it, but I’ve not found any huge difference in quality. Try it if you see it! And if you don’t like it, well, you’re out about a dollar.