Ice Monster Taipei – Taiwanese Desserts

We jumped at the chance of a baby-free outing when my parents volunteered to babysit.  I quickly did some research and decided that we should definitely try one of the most famous desserts in Taiwan – shaved ice. We dropped in at one of the top shaved ice eateries, Ice Monster.


The menu is definitely something, the variety was endless .. it was so tough for us to make a decision. We settled on their bestseller, the Mango and the Bubble Milk Tea Sensation. You can also take a peek at how they prepare your desserts as they do it right by their doorway.

Check out their branding .. got to love their ‘grumpy’ bright yellow monster.

When our desserts arrived, we just stared at each other .. channeling ‘ITS HUGE’ thoughts. Overwhelming, we should have shared but we we were greedy and wanted to try more than one flavour.

On first bite, I was rather surprised at the silky smooth texture of the ice. Quite different compared to the Malaysian shaved ice dessert (Ice Kacang) that I grew up with. Super soft shaved ice that melts in your mouth like cotton candy. Amazing! Refreshing and oh very addictive. They must add some sort of condensed milk to the ice. The mango was very fresh and this is not surprising at all as Taiwanese mangoes are abundant.


Bubble Tea Sensation was interesting, looked like a Chewbacca. It was a deconstructed bowl of ‘frozen’ bubble tea. Creamy ribbon like shaved ice served with a side of ‘pearls’.




The bill came up to 400 TWD , about £10. Definitely quite dear if you compare this to a street stall selling shaved ice but cannot complain for the quality, variety and experience🙂

One for the books, baby-free ‘date night’ when we were on holibobs.




Taipei travels (Part 1) : Taipei 101 & our first Michelin star experience at Din Tai Fung

Back to more travel tales, if you missed it I wrote a post about Surviving Long Haul Flights With our Toddler , our wonderful hot springs retreat and a bit about Jinshan, in the north of Taiwan.

Bit of a recap .. we were in Taiwan in July and when we there, we were issued a typhoon warning. Category 5 Typhoon Nepartak was supposed to make landfall and we rushed from Yangmingshan, the mountain area down to downtown Taipei where we hunkered down at our hotel. All very scary especially as we had our little one with us and we have never experienced anything like this at all. Thankfully, it did not batter Taipei much and the warning was lifted and shops and attractions which were initially closed started to open for business again in the later part of the afternoon.

We then decided to head on over for some sightseeing and food at Taipei 101. It was still raining cats and dogs, so taking shelter somewhere indoors was the best option. The Taipei 101 tower itself looks like a giant bamboo stalk, no pictures as we rushed in due to rain. An engineering marvel as its one of the tallest buildings and its designed to withstand typhoons and earthquakes.

Besides the tower itself, the base of the tower is a HUGE multi-level shopping mall, food courts and restaurants.

Look, swanky mall eh?


We took a trip to the top of the tower by purchasing tickets. Tickets will grant you access to the observatory and the museum. Since it was ‘typhoon day’, there were hardly any queues although this also meant that the outdoor observatory was closed.


Just found a picture of the tower from the outside, but its one of those touristy ones. Whoops. Definitely not buying it as little one and the husband is not even in it. Bet you have done this too, just take a picture of it for memory sake. They are really efficient when it comes to children and the elderly, there’s a special seat for them to wait instead of going round in a queue.


The lift up is quite something as well. It took about 40 seconds to the 89th floor. Unbelievable.


The views from the observatory deck was amazing.


Little one slept all the way up and was still fast asleep when we were up there. Gave us a chance to take ‘lovey dovey’ touristy pics.


Hoorah, someone is up to join the fun. Grouchy though *approach with caution*. Posing with the postcard we sent home specially for the little one. Lovely little note for her to read when she is older.



and one with her grandparents.


This is the massive gold coloured damper that keeps the building from swaying. Very interesting, my husband read all about it😀


There are a number of figurines around the observatory deck. Little one had a bit of fun holding their hands and imitating them.


There’s also a little museum bit before you head out.


I would highly recommend adding Taipei 101 to your itinerary even with little ones in tow. She found it quite interesting and there’s lots of space for them to run around when its not too packed.

After our spot of sightseeing, its time for food. Well, its always a good time for food especially in Taiwan. We wanted to try Din Tai Fung. One of the ‘must eat’ places in this country. This restaurant originated in Taiwan and it has lots of branches in 13 (or more) countries. It has 1 Michelin star and we knew that we were in for a long wait. We expected to wait an hour according to all the reviews and if that’s the case, we would have looked for food elsewhere. Definitely our lucky day, we waited for only 15 minutes for a table. The service was impeccable and although it was very busy, we were attended to very well. Ps. never in my life .. we had to get a number to wait for a table. They hand you menus and make you order in advance before you are actually seated too.


Hoorah, we are in. It was a huge restaurant and the first thing you notice that it is actually very clean despite the volume of people who eats there. Their staff is top class which is expected of a Michelin star restaurant I suppose. The glass window feature to their kitchen was very interesting. Entertaining to watch the kitchen crew diligently making their famous dumplings and buns.




The food did not disappoint, definitely lived up to all the raving reviews. You know sometimes, when you are looking forward to something that’s pretty hyped up .. its not as good as you think or it always slightly disappoints .. this was not the case. Food was lush.

Would recommend their Shrimp Fried Rice. Not salty and not oily, it was delicious.


For dumplings, we tried one of their inspired creations. Steamed Gourd (or Squash?) and Shrimp Dumplings. There’s an art to eating them .. well I just ate them. They were outstanding. Did you know that there’s soup in them dumplings. Wow. Do make sure the soup runs into your spoon though.




Now for something sweet to end our delicious meal on a higher note.

Snow fungus soup served cold, I was not a huge fan as it was pretty ‘gelatinous’.


The Taro Steamed Dumplings on the other hand was exquisite. Dessert version of their steamed dumplings. I was apprehensive at first but the taro filling was not overly sweet and has a texture like mash. It works though. Did you know that all their dumplings have a minimum of 18 folds. I tried counting and I think all of them have exactly 18, what a piece of art.


What really stood out to me about the food at Din Tai Fung was that nothing was overly salty and they really focused on the quality of the ingredients. Very intriguing and delicate tastes.

A must try – lived up to its hype.


Baking with the Toddler – Dairy Free Shortbread

I always had this idyllic idea of baking with my child, where it will be so pretty and fun, like something from those adverts you see on telly.

I have been procrastinating for quite a few months as I knew that this would smash that lovely picture that I have painted in my head. I finally DID IT. Baking with my little one for the very first time at 21 months! A really good and fun age to start as she now understands the concept of cooking. At least, I think she does as she watches me in the kitchen and pretends to cook her own food when she is actually eating. Haha.

I set up all the ingredients in advance and before I could even explain or show her which one to mix, she started pouring the wrong ingredient to the huge mixing bowl much to my dismay. She was doing her own thing whilst I tried guiding her to ‘follow the recipe’. “At least she’s loving it”.. I kept repeating this in my head.

Good thing I hid the raspberries till the end as she conveniently forgot that she was still baking and started enjoying them. After munching on quite a few raspberries, she started cooperating again and she was a jolly good helper.

I am so glad that I waited till she was this age so that it wont be too much of a ‘fail’. Good fun, more mess than usual, double the time BUT yes, to more baking days ahead especially since its autumn🙂

Enjoy our pictures, its chronological … includes the time where she toddled away and enjoyed some baking ingredients i.e the raspberries. Ingredients will be further down the post🙂












Looking back at the pictures, her face was a picture of concentration and she carried out her little tasks with focus. Awww bless nothing cuter than little kids attempting to bake. First time trying this dairy free recipe and thankfully it worked! Super easy and she loved pressing the dough into the elephant mould. She kept wanting to turn the mould upside down to look at their faces though.


290g baking margarine, we used Stork (not the spreadable kind), room temp. diced

120g sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

270g plain flour

110g rice flour

100g raspberries (optional)

pinch of sea salt

Mix the ‘butter’, sugar and vanilla together until pale and fluffy. (Well my toddler wanted to do flour first) Add the flours to the creamed mixture. Fold together. We included some raspberries for fun. Place dough in moulds or prepared tin. Chill in fridge for 30 minutes, preheat oven to 170°C. Bake for 40 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove from oven and score and do leave for it to completely cool before removing from mould or cutting the slices.





We had one happy tot! Definitely makes it all worthwhile when you see her tucking into her little cookie. The elephants were a hit as she was so excited to eat the ears and then the eyes.


For some other dairy free makes, check out my df banana ice cream and passion fruit cake. Hope you have a happy Sunday with your loved ones.

Ps. theres a huge range of animal moulds on Baked By Me. Great fun when baking with the kiddos.

The Adventures Of An Allergy Mummy

Mid-Autumn Festival

Feeling rather nostalgic🙂 My mum sent along a gorgeous lantern for the little one in conjunction with the Mid-Autumn Festival. After Chinese New Year, this is the second most important festival. I used to love picking out my lantern with my brothers; this was a wonderful yearly affair for us and I remember choosing an assortment of animals where my brothers would go for a car or superhero lantern or something along those lines. It was also a lovely excuse to play with lots of candles when we were older. Oh so much fun to be had.

When I forwarded some of the pictures to my mum .. she replied saying we had to play with the lantern when its dark (Duh!) There’s a little spot for you to put a candle in the lantern. Major fire hazard as the little one was way too excited with her first lantern. She was flinging it around, running along the path and ‘showing it off’ with lots of joy. Besides, this was already about 7pm. We are already missing these long, warm summer days where we it felt like we had lots of time to explore but autumn can be beautiful too.

Managed to get some lovely pictures with her prized PINK butterfly lantern.


Lots of love and thank you Nanna! xxx

Sunday Brunch at Waitrose Cafe

Aaaaah🙂 Once in a while when my husband ‘endures’ me, he will just have to sit patiently for a while whilst I browse Waitrose. I always tell him, not to fret .. only 10 minutes BUT it never really takes 10 minutes does it. A minimum of 45 minutes whizzing around with the little one in tow in a trusty trolley, not necessarily shopping but having a good browse!

Its a good thing they have a lovely cafe. How pretty is their teapot. Little one had a hot meal. Their allergy booklet is fab there, she could enjoy their fish fingers whilst we enjoyed our brunch.




I did not buy loads with the husband imposed ‘time limit’ but enough to have the impression that Waitrose is not that pricey as what we think it is. Quality was amazing and ps. there were loads on offer. There’s a special half price event at the moment too.

As lovely as it is to browse and pick everything up, its easier to just do an online shop. Peek at the offers on HERE.

Hope you had a lovely Sunday too xx



Jinshan Jinbaoli Old Street

If you have the opportunity to be in the North of Taiwan along the coast line, Jinshan Old Street also known as Jinbaoli Old Street is worth pausing at especially if you are hungry or are looking for some street food. The atmosphere was busy and it was popular with locals and does not come across as an extremely touristy place which I loved. I had the chance to drop by with my mum whilst everyone else was having a rest at the hotel. If you have not read my previous post, we traveled to a wonderful hot springs resort in Yang Ming Shan to escape the bustle of downtown Taipei. Jinshan is only 10 minutes away by taxi.


The street was lined on both sides with a variety of shops selling local biscuits, candies, fruits, flowers, souvenirs and of course a huge selection of food and drinks.





What’s interesting is how they make everything ‘in-store’ For example, this lovely cookie shop. LOVE their black sesame biscuits, they were lush. The peanut brittle was exceptional too. They place their products on the front of the shop .. on the road on long tables and if you peek into their shop space, its their production line. Fascinating isn’t it.


It was the same with the bubble tea / drinks vendors. The shop is by the street and the inside looks more like a well organised storage space. One man show .. he was so busy and the drinks hit the spot especially as it was so warm.


We were recommended to try this winter melon honey lemon drink and wow, it was thirst quenching. We also bought Taiwanese Bubble Tea and Soya milk with grass jelly. All delicious.


The highlight of this little street is definitely the food stall in front of the old temple main gate. It was very crowded and you pick your own food. There was a huge selection of different vegetables and meat. A must try is their famous steamed duck. The noodles were particularly delicious too. We had it to go to feed the rest waiting for us at the hotel and was pleasantly surprised to see how efficient it was. No spills with their sealed takeaway containers.


Fried fish and steamed prawns. No photos of the duck nor the noodles or the veg! The boys must have dug into them before I had the chance to capture it.

Happy tummy –> and then it was back to lots of suncreen before we hit the hotel’s hot springs🙂



Next post will be about Taiwan’s capital, Taipei!

Toodles xx


Taiwan : Hot Springs Retreat at Yangmingshan



Start of our Taiwan Travels : Arrival at Taiwan Taoyuan Airport


Nanna and her favourite grandchild off for holibobs

Touchdown in Taipei, Taiwan and we kick-started our travels by travelling to northern Taiwan namely Yangmingshan (Shan is mountain in Mandarin)  for some much needed rest and relaxation amidst splendid mountain views and lots of soothing hot-spring soaking. This little excursion beyond the city was such a good decision especially with our toddler as we stayed in a gorgeous child-friendly hotel. Initially I was very tempted to travel to Kenting or one of the beaches in the South but its just too much ground to cover with a little one. We took less than an hour to get to Yangmingshan by a private 7 seater van from Taipei’s airport and boy oh boy was the road windy.

We were all slightly tired when we arrived at the hotel but we were thrilled that it looks and feels fab from the moment we stepped foot in the lobby. Little one managed to spy the entrance into the kids playroom and she just knew it was ‘hers’. That huge sigh of relief, haha! Even if you have read a hundred reviews .. you still feel unsure especially if its in a foreign country. Holiday off to a good start.

We stayed for 2 nights at the Yang Ming Shan Tien Lai Resort & Spa. The plan was to enjoy the resort as much as possible and then do some sightseeing on the way down to Taipei. We were supposed to stop at Yehliu Geopark and Ocean World before heading down but there was a typhoon warning and we rushed to Taipei without giving it a second thought. The only exploring I managed to do in this area is Jinshan with my mum when little one was having a nap but will save this for the next post.

Now, to give you a little tour of the hotel.

This was our room, I have to say that the decor was lovely and I love the colour scheme. Safe to say, its like a trend now ..  every time we step somewhere new bubba LOVES it. She started running around the room with plenty of excitement. The room was rather large. We did not really need 2 king size beds and a cot to boot but oh well🙂 Very comfortable beds and bedding was plush.


One to show her when she is older –> Evidence of little one running around with so much zest for life🙂


Children’s room in the lobby.



The misty peaks of Zhuzhi Shan


Zhuzhi Shan like frozen waves, is a sight of breathtaking beauty whose face and contours are just like waves. Zhuzhi Shan gazes serenely into the sky and is also called the ‘Beautiful Mountain’. Zhuzhi Shan is one of a series of peaks of many different heights in the Yangming Shan system. Immersed in mist, it is mysterious and charming. Bathed in sunlight, it is magnificent. Watching the mountains and peaks bathed in mist from afar, one is reminded of the splendor of classical beauty.

This was beautifully written and I spotted it somewhere in the hotel. Very apt and true to the point.

Such a lovely location to appreciate such gorgeous landscape. The enjoyment of a relaxing dip in the hot spring at the Spa, with a view of the mist enshrouded peaks definitely relaxed us and took away some of our ‘stress’. We spent lots of time trying out the different pools, think there were about 14 all varying in temperature and size. They even had indoor hot springs as well as a huge outdoor pool. Little one was totally fine with the temperature of the water. We didn’t dip her in the very warm ones, just the bath like lukewarm ones. She tends to get really cold in pools so this was brilliant. She did not want to leave!

For older kids and adults, they had a very fun slide and some water park like facilities.



Oh yes, for the brave ..  there’s nude bathing places too.


Oh yes, the hot spring pools were open till late (if I am not mistaken 10 or 11pm). Therefore you can really make the most of the resort’s facilities.


Great service and we had a relaxing time. It was not too crowded as we stayed during the week, heard it gets really busy during the weekends as this place is not too far from Taipei and the locals do enjoy their hot springs. You can enjoy the facilities with a day pass too.

The only downside of the resort was probably the food but nonetheless we were happy as we only stayed for 2 nights. They had a decent and varied buffet spread for breakfast which I enjoyed. We tried their Mongolian BBQ restaurant which was also a buffet for dinner and that was lovely. It is the same daily though, so you might get bored if you were to stay for a week or so.

and now for lots of holiday snaps! I love how they turned out, little one spent so much time with her grandparents, it was heartwarming to see them enjoying their company and vice versa. Of course, we enjoyed our time together with her too. Her daddy had the pleasure of being with her  24/7🙂



Signing off and till the next post! Toodles xxx



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