Even in the San Gabriel Valley, an area east of L.A where Asian dessert options abound, it can be difficult to find snow ice. This delicacy is a spin-off of the more common Taiwanese shaved ice (also very similar to Hawaiian ice), which is a block of ice shaved into fine crystals and served with sweet toppings such as red bean or condensed milk.
Snow ice, or xue hua bing, is shaved ice's creamy counterpart. It's made by freezing a block of flavored, sweet milk and shaving it down into flaky ribbons of layered snow. Think of a cold treat that's reminiscent of ice cream but so much more airy. The snow is crowned with a variety of sweet toppings from pudding, boba, rice cake, red bean, taro, mango or strawberry to condensed milk, caramel, and chocolate.
Luckily, there is Class 302 in Rowland Heights. Over the years, this Taiwanese dessert shop has developed a cult-like following and a long line is guaranteed with nearly every visit. But for the sake of research and our readers, we waited in line and ordered eight variations of Class 302's shaved snow for your viewing (and drooling) purposes.
Best of all? Each serving of snow ice retails for around $6.50 and is large enough to feed two to three people.
About the author: Clarissa Wei is a food writer. She writes heavily about Chinese and Taiwanese food and has yet to find stinky tofu in the States that has impressed her. You can follow her on Twitter @dearclarissa.