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Best Asian preserved plums/fruits and best Taiwanese/Singapore/Malay shaved ice

Dear SF guru's,

My fam and I are in town visiting grandma, and we were looking for your recommendations on a couple things--

1.) is there a place to get good preserved plums, orange peels, etc? We just tried a place on Stockton today and got really awful, overly salty, totally dry fruit. And we'd love to stock up before leaving town!

2.) have the options for Asian shaved ice improved since the chowhound posts of 2010? We'd love to grab some while the weather is hot!

Any advice on those or new dessert places would be greatly appreciated!

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  1. By Singapore/Malay shaved ice do you mean desserts like ais batu kacang and cendol? It looks like Borobudur (Indonesian) has cendol and es campur, though I don't know enough to know if there are differences between the Malay/Singaporean and Indonesian versions.

    3 Replies
    1. re: bigwheel042

      BigWheel042, I do! This is really helpful--I don't know Indonesian well either--I assume it's similar? Is Borobudur a good restaurant?

      And any Taiwanese joints you'd recommend? I know there's a Shiu Liu Shan knock-off on Geary, but that's more like sago coconut soup type stuff vs. good shaved ice.

      1. re: juicefriend

        Borobudur was decent enough the one time I went. Not sure I'd drive into the city just to eat there, but could be worth checking out if it's convenient. Indonesian cuisines in general are a bit sweeter/richer/less savory than Malaysian food. Less use of tamarind and lime juice as souring agents.

        Is Creations Dessert House the place you're referring to? There are a few other places in that vein around. Might be worth calling Lime Tree to see if they'll do it - Malaysian food around here is sparse.

        You might do a search on this board for Taiwanese restaurants - the regional Chinese thread recently posted here includes a lot of them. Wonderful Foods on Irving might be a lead for Taiwanese candied snacks (again, could be a good idea to call ahead).

        1. re: bigwheel042

          Thanks Bigwheel--

          It is Creations--I think it's a knock-off of the original HK chain, though I can't confirm given they are using the same name!

          And definitely will check out Wonderful Foods. Just wandered around Japantown and got some mochi from Benkyodo (sic) and a piece of cream cake from Yasukochi on the basis of the Serious Eats website. Didn't find any plums in Japantown despite my best attempts.

          Will try Wonderful Foods!

    2. be careful with preserved plum, there are reports of high heavy metal content https://www.dshs.state.tx.us/foods/pl...
      for preserved orange peel (chocolate covered, might not be exactly what you had in mind), you could try Recchiuti chocolates in the Ferry bldg

      5 Replies
      1. re: barleywino

        Ach, thanks so much Barleywino--this is a really good reminder. I'd checked a few months ago, and I didn't find this page but a Canadian gov't report instead which left off Mei Yuan (the Taiwanese) brand.

        That was part of the reason, though, that I was hoping to find some local made brands... like they do in Taiwan (though who knows if that's any safer.)

        Do you think that if they don't list it, they didn't test it, or that it may be ok?

        1. re: juicefriend

          hard to say. I grew up sucking on these dried plums so am already doomed ;)

          1. re: barleywino

            Me too. ARGH. I was thinking of going to Akabaana instead. Wonder if the Japanese are more health-/safety-conscious. This is a bit of a sad day now! Any other recommendations for good snacking that isn't too unhealthy?

            1. re: juicefriend

              not quite the same thing but you could check out the Japanese sweets shop on Market between Montgomery and 2nd http://www.kitchoan.com/ the whole dried persimmon, filled with white bean paste, might be up your alley

              1. re: barleywino

                Oh those are great! We have a Minamoto in NYC, so I am familiar with their great but expensive products. I am so bummed about the lead. Starting to be paranoid now. :)

      2. Can you get to South Bay? If so, Cupertino village has a shop dedicated to Chinese snacks like candied fruits, jerkins, preserved fruits, etc. and tapioca express actually does a mean mango ice. Not quite the taiwanese ice you are looking for, but still great. Also, I think milk snow is more popular right now than the Chua bing you are talking about. Los of places have hat but it is not crushed ice but rather shaved milky ice.

        4 Replies
        1. re: FattyDumplin

          FattyDumplin,

          I can, and I think we will tmo--thanks for your advice! Is the actual place called Cupertino Village? I see one on Yelp--and Chua Bing is available in the Village/at Tapioca Express as well?

          So excited! THANK YOU!

          1. re: juicefriend

            Hi,

            So, the Tapioca Express is at 740 Villa St, Mountain View and you can just ask for the mango ice (there should be pictures on the wall, but it comes in a big bowl of ice, condensed milk, mango pudding, black sugar water and mango). I know there is a Tapioca Express in Cupertino at 10118 Bandley Dr, but I just haven't had the mango ice there so can't be certain.

            The jerky store, which also has the preserved fruit and candies, is at Cupertino Village (10919 N Wolfe Rd). The store is called Vua Kho Bo, but I'm not 100% that the signage will say that. If you just walk around (its this complex of tons of Chinese eateries, which you may enjoy), look for the store with lots of big glass jars full of treats!

            Good luck!

            1. re: FattyDumplin

              hi FD!

              We couldn't find the Tapioca at the Cupertino Village, so went to Snowice in the Korean stripmall. It wasn't that bad! Much better than what the Yelp reviews suggested.

              And Kerky King!!!! SO GOOD! It was wonderful--we kind of spent waaaay too much there. It's so expensive compared to Taiwan, but totally worth it. I hope there's less metal, but one can never tell.

              Thank you so much for your help!

              1. re: juicefriend

                Sorry my ice rec came too late. But thrilled to hear you out and enjoyed jerky king.

        2. If San Jose isn't too far, check out the Grand Century Mall Food Court. I don't remember the name, but there's a shop that is all dry/preserved fruits, vegs, fish & jerky of all kinds including venison. They will give you a sample of any of them. Very large selection. Not sure but it might be a branch of the place in Cupertino Village....

          1 Reply
          1. re: RWCFoodie

            Thanks RWC--I think we the same chain but in Cupertino called Jerky King!

          2. Yee May Wah on Clement and any of the Ranch 99s have a good selection of preserved plums/olives/etc., but can't vouch for their metal content safety.

            1 Reply
            1. re: dordogne

              Thanks Dordogne! We found Jerky King!

            2. For Taiwanese style shaved snow, hop into a car and head to Sno-Zen in Mountain View. Probably the closest thing we have to authentic Taiwanese shaved snow in Northern California, although caters more to a wider demographic (but the texture is great). They have shaved ice too, but their snow product is the signature.

              There's that Jerky King place in Cupertino Village that the others have already mentioned which I'm sure has what you need, and I believe they are a branch of the ones from Southern California (Vua Bo Kho)...despite the Vietnamese sounding name most of the stores carry Taiwanese products.

              1 Reply
              1. re: K K

                Oh man, totally missed this! I wish I'd gotten this on Sunday. We did Snowice instead, pretty good! And Jerky King is a revelation, exactly what we were looking for! Thanks K K!

              2. It's been a few years since I've been there, but Pacific East Mall in Richmond has a Taiwanese shop with a large selection of very good dried fruit in bins. They let you sample before buying. It's in the interior section of shops in the middle, on the backside (opposite side from the main entrance).