World-renowned Taiwanese dessert shop, Smoothie House, opened its flagship outlet in Singapore last weekend – at Jurong’s Westgate Mall.
Known for its refreshing bowls of refreshing and healthy snowflake ice desserts, the Smoothie House in Taiwan sells more than 1,000 portions daily and is regarded by CNN as a “must-try” dessert place, attracting snaking queues of both tourists and locals in Taiwan every summer.
The term ‘snowflake ice’ describes the fluffy, snow-like texture of the shaved ice desserts, where ice blocks are infused with fresh fruit juice and then shaved, layer by layer, through customised proprietary machines.
Besides Taiwan, Smoothie House’s desserts are available in China and Korea, and now, Singapore as well.
Hopes to create a place for families to get together
Said Justin Chou, 27, who had brought the Smoothie House franchise to Singapore, “I was in Taiwan and I had tried the snowflake ice desserts at Smoothie House. I thought it was not that sweet and not jelak so we thought it would be a good fit to bring this franchise to Singapore.”
He added, “Westgate is a place where there are lots of families and students. With Smoothie House, we want to create a place that families can get together after dinner and catch up over some time. So we chose a heartland location like Jurong.”
Chou hopes that Smoothie House can become a place whereby Singaporeans can catch up with their loved ones over a healthy dessert. He said, “Sometimes we get too caught up with work and other things, that we neglect the people who matter most to us. So Smoothie House is here, for people to be able to spend time with those who really matters to you.”
Smoothie House also has two other mini outlets in Singapore, located at Raffles Place and Paya Lebar Square and they are planning to open stores at other heartland locations in the near future too, such as Star Visa, NEX and Bedok Mall. But the Westgate shop will still remain as their flagship outlet, according to Chou.
Besides families though, Smoothie House is also targeting another group of demographic – the health conscious females, according to Chow. He said “That is why we launched a healthy size of our ice snowflake dessert so that our consumers can get the taste of it, but it is not too overwhelming and that the calories in the dish will remain low too. The Taiwanese store does not have this, as they target more of tourists who usually want larger portions.”
Staff sent to Taiwan for training
And these ice blocks are imported from the Taiwan headquarters. Said Chou, “For our desserts, the ice is shipped in from Taiwan so this adds to the authenticity of what we are offering in Singapore.
Smoothie House staff are also sent to Taiwan for food training, before they are allowed to prepare the ice desserts for customers – to maintain the quality standards of the snowflake desserts.
Smoothie House staff must be sent to Taiwan for training before they can prepare the snowflake desserts.
Chou also added, “But apart from that, we try to cater our flavours to the local market, for example, we put our condensed milk or syrup at the side, so that our customers can adjust the sweetness. We have also reduced the size of the portions so they are smaller than the Taiwanese ones as Singaporeans usually may not eat so much after a meal.”
The prices of the Smoothie House snowflake ice desserts range from $7.90 for the smallest Healthy Size portion to $15.90 for the largest Family Size portion.
I had been recently invited by Smoothie House to taste some of their signature ice snowflake desserts.
The three ice desserts that I had tried out, were the
- Mango Snowflake Ice
- Tie Guan Yin Milky Snowflake Ice, and the
- Yoghurt Berry Snowflake Ice
Mango Snowflake Ice
The Mango Snowflake Ice is the shop’s signature item. Topped with irresistible Panna Cotta, this is described as a simple and refreshing dish of mango flavoured shaved ice with juicy mango cubes and drizzled with Condensed Milk and special fresh fruit mango sauce.
Said Chou, “For our mango cubes, every piece has to be cut to exact specifications of 1.5cm by 2.5cm. At our Singapore store, the mangoes are also sourced locally. In Taiwan they have Taiwanese mangoes during the season but off-season they will use frozen mangoes. Singapore has good mangoes available all year round.”
When I tried this, I had thought that it was really a delicious dessert. The mango flavour was quite strong and authentic. As I love mangoes, this dessert certainly appealed to me. There was also a generous amount of mango chunks in the dessert and the mango fruits were sweet and firm but not mushy.
The piece of Panna Cotta on the top was also really smooth. Though this didn’t really have much flavour when eaten on its own, it absorbs the flavour of the mango, and the smooth texture ensures that this slides down your throat. In short, it goes very well with the slightly rough ice.
Tie Guan Yin Milky Snowflake Ice
Served together with freshly cooked mixed pearls, cooling Tie Guan Yin jelly and black sugar syrup on top of creamy milk flavoured shaved ice, this is a refreshing dessert and was a clear crowd favourite amongst the members of the media and the public at last weekend’s launch event.
Said Chou, “This one is my personal favourite because the jelly is made of Tie Guan Yin milk tea and as such you can really feel the strong aroma of this Oriental tea, and it’s also accompanied with pearls – I like that combination a lot.”
When I tasted this, I too, thought that it was a refreshing and pleasant dessert. What I first noticed was that the Tie Guan Yin flavour in the jelly was strong yet not overpowering. As for the milky flavoured ice, the flavour of the milk was quite apparent when the ice is eaten by itself, but is somewhat neutralised when a piece of jelly was eaten together with the ice.
The pearls were also quite pleasant – They were not overly starchy, and at the same time, they add a nice chewy texture to the smooth jelly and the melt-in-the-mouth shaved ice.
When the Tie Guan Yin Jelly, the milk ice and the pearls are all eaten together in a single mouthful, the combination strongly reminds me of bubble milk tea that I sometimes buy from the bubble tea shops around Singapore.
And the black sugar syrup add-on gives another layer of subtle sweetness to the dish but if you do not like sweet desserts, it may be better to leave this out.
Yoghurt Berry Snowflake Ice
A colourful dessert, this features healthy yoghurt shaved ice with fresh bananas, strawberries and blueberries and is covered in a tangy mulberry sauce.
This dish, according to Chou, caters to the health conscious who do not like their desserts to be too sugary. Said Chou, “This is a ladies’ favourite because the tangy rather than sweet flavours from this dessert, gives it a more healthy feeling.”
The creamy texture of the yoghurt was immediately apparent on tasting this dish. However as plain yoghurt was used, the yoghurt itself did not have much flavours in it. But this was well balanced out though, with the natural richness from the fruits. They added a slightly tangy flavour to this dessert, and at the same time, a very subtle sweetness.
I can certainly see how ladies who are looking to manage their weight and are health conscious, would enjoy this dessert, as it feels refreshing without being rich at all.
We had fun pouring the yoghurt topping onto the snowflake ice dessert.
Besides the snowflake desserts that I had tasted, Chou also shared that the Westgate Smoothie House store is also selling smoothie based beverages, as well as savoury items, such as vegetarian burgers made with soya or mushroom patties.
Other offerings at Smoothie House Westgate
These savoury burgers are actually some of the more popular items at GreenDot, a home-grown vegetarian burger restaurant chain, of which Chou himself is also one of the co-founders.
Said Chou, “These burgers are the signature dishes at GreenDot and so we are bringing them to Smoothie House Westgate so that the younger crowd can appreciate these niche burgers and fries. However Chou pointed out that the Taiwanese Smoothie House outlet does not have such offerings – it was because of the local food & beverage market being so competitive, Chou explained that he and his team “needed to be innovative on the offerings that we can give to our Smoothie House customers.”
Chou added, “But in short though, Smoothie House is here to offer better quality and fresh desserts that we think people should experience – but to truly understand, you have to taste our desserts for yourself though.”
Thank you, Smoothie House, for the tasting invitation.
Smoothie House’s flagship store is at:
3 Gateway Drive, Westgate Mall #01-08, S608532
Daily, 11am to 10pm
(65) 6710 5567