May 12, 2010
I feel like I miss out on some things by living in Los Angeles. I’m not talking big things; I’m talking about the little ones that you only experience by living in a different city, a different state, a different coast.
For example, hand shaved ice – I’ve never had my shaved ice shaved by hand. I’ve been told it’s very common on the East Coast, with many street vendors shaving ice by hand on the sidewalk. However, I’ve only had ice shaved by a machine, behind the counter of some Asian tea house in the San Gabriel Valley or at a night market in Taiwan. Therefore, seeing this for the first time boggled my mind:
(Yes, the idea of someone running a blade across a gigantic block of ice to make shaved ice is so novel to me that, when I saw it in action, I had to take a video of it.)
People’s Pops is where I had my first hand shaved ice. Located in the famous Chelsea Market in NYC, you can find them at their brand spanking new counter that they just recently moved into about a month ago. The counter, completely covered with popsicle sticks, is simple and classic, and their popsicles and flavored syrups mirror the same characteristics. With all their products made from fresh fruit obtained locally, you can really taste the difference.
Unlike the typical artificial tasting sugar water, the syrup used in my bartlett pear shaved ice was sweet but not overly, rot your teeth sweet. The pear flavor wasn’t as pure as I imagined it to be – you know, that pear taste where you almost feel like you have pear grit in between your teeth – but it was definitely much better than the fluorescent red and blue colored stuff you get at the carnival. The hand shaved ice adds texture to the ice so you more of a crunch with each bite. And, unlike normal artificial shaved ices, I actually wanted to drink (and did drink) the melted slush at the bottom of my cup.
People’s Pops’ popsicles are refreshing too, but I think the shaved ice is still my favorite. Maybe I just like watching them hand shave ice…