Sugar Rush: Melon Shaved Ice at Fóumami Asian Sandwich Bar, Boston
If you told me there was an Asian sandwich bar in Boston, I wouldn't have believed that I'd missed a restaurant that combines two of my favorite things. But, as it turns out, my culinary radar was skipping right over the Financial District and the cong yóu bing* and shao bing* sandwiches of Fóumami.
So if you're anywhere near the corner of Oliver and High during lunch, you might see people carrying giant bowls of shaved ice and trying to not drip on a fancy suit. This Asian spin on a sundae is the star item on Foumami's short dessert menu. But where you'd expect ice cream, you get flakes of ice, and instead of whipped cream and nuts, there's a heaping scoop of sweetened adzuki beans and cubes of mochi. But nothing finishes a sundae like a cherry on top, so a bright red maraschino is still there.
The shaved ice ($5.45) starts off a little disjointed, with big pieces of fruit (whole lychees and grapes, mandarin orange segments) perched on top of the shaved ice. But as it melts and you give it a stir, all those textures become a little more cohesive. The melon syrup (imported from Japan) and sweetened condensed milk mix with the melted ice, sweetening the dish. The best bites combine doughy mochi and creamy adzuki beans, which I can only describe as the fusion of umami and sweet. This shaved ice is definitely worth adding to your FiDi culinary radar.
* cong yóu bing (scallion pancakes), shao bing (unleavened bread from the Shaodong province of China)
About the author: Kate Shannon is a cheesemonger by day and line cook by night. Although she calls Boston home, she hasn't lost her love for the fried cheese curds and Chicago-style hotdogs of the Midwest. She believes that leftover Thai takeout makes the best lunches and that strawberry shortcake is meant to be breakfast, not dessert.