One of my favorite asian desserts is something called Hot Grass Jelly 燒仙草. As stated by its name, it is a hot dessert.
This is sort of a specialty of Taiwanese restaurants. It is especially yummy and comforting on a cold Fall/Winter day, as it has been these past few weeks.
Now it may look dark, ghastly and scary, but I assure you, it is yummy. I must admit though, for non-asian eaters, the taste will take some getting use to.
As the name implies, it is made of a herb called Mesona chinensis (I’ll spare you a botany lesson, you can wiki it if you want), which is a member of the mint family. So, there is obviously going to be an herby taste to it (not minty though).
Also, this is not a typical sweet sweet dessert. It is only slightly sweetened. The rest of the sweetness comes from the ingredients within the bowl.
The cool thing about this dessert is that while it’s hot, it is in liquid form. Once it starts to cool, it turns into a jelly. Now I heard from Taiwanese friends that they eat it while it is in liquid form. But for me, I won’t touch it until it has turned into a gel.
Ingredients differ depending on where you get it. I typically get mine from Pearl Castle 圓香 which is located both at Richmond Centre, the Parker Place food court and at Continental Centre on Cambie (It is cheaper by $1.00 at the food court). They add pearls and big red beans in their version, which I find is sufficient enough. I’ve also had it at (the ridiculously expensive) Tri-ty. There they give 3 ingredients, however as theirs cost a whopping $6.00 I don’t get it from them anymore, so I don’t remember what comes with theirs.
At the food court location, this costs $3.50. At the restaurant location, it costs $4.50.