Cua Bing – Lily Fruits Store
Lily Fruits Store’s Cua Bing (利利水果店的剉冰)
What better cure for the summer heat than a nice bowl of cua bing? Cua bing (剉冰) isTaiyu and sometimes spelled Chhoah-peng; in mandarin it’s often called bàobīng(刨冰). It is a shaved ice dessert that can be purchased at a variety of places, but no place can match the atmosphere of Tainan’s cua bing institution – Lily Fruits Store. Established in 1947, this company has been handling fruit in Tainan through several generations. Its fame and good cua bing keep the place packed through the summer months. Tourists take note that it is also conveniently located across from the Confucian Temple.
The place has the kind of atmosphere you’d expect to find in some banana republic. It’s a bit grubby. The tables are of the fold-out variety that are easy to wipe down to handle the high turnover. It’s a typical Taiwanese shop house with most of the seating on the sidewalk, but they’ve done a good job of creating a barrier between the patrons and the road by adding several large plants on the roadside. Some bird cages are tucked into the ferns for added tropical effect. One of them is a myna bird that doesn’t seem too talkative, but I have heard it blurt out a couple of “hellos” in English. I have sat behind that layer of plants and birdcages on many sweltering nights with the ceiling fans blaring and the sounds from Patsy Cline or Johnny Cash dripping through the stereo.
Cua Bing comes in several varieties. Commonly, the shaved ice is mixed with red beans to make the traditional dish hóng dòu bīng (紅豆冰). Sometimes it is mixed with a kind of jelly. You can get it with just fruit juice or sweetened condensed milk if you want to keep it simple. I prefer to take advantage of Lily Fruits Store’s high quality produce and go for the fruit cua bings. My personal favorite is the mango and banana with sweetened condensed milk, but mango has to be in season to make it on the menu.
It is open daily 11:00 am – 11:00 pm. Sadly, it is closed in winter. (edit: It’s not closed in the winter.)
Location: Across from the Confucian Temple, 199 Fuqian Rd (Fucian 府前路) Sec. 1, West Central District, Tainan City, Taiwan 700