Sigh, it’s 32 degrees on a sunny Sunday (wow illiteration!) in Singapore and I need some ice cream. Since there’s none in my freezer & I’m too lazy to pop out to get some, I shall write about it instead. After all, there’s a Chinese saying that says “望梅止渴”, which means that one can quench his thirst by staring at plums. Hopefully writing about ice cream will satiate my craving HAHA. OK enough crap, now let’s move on to the main point.
We were first introduced to Miyahara Ophthalmology Department, or 宫原眼科 (Gong Yuan Yan Ke) in Chinese, by our friendly taxi driver in Taichung who brought us around to tour Xinshe on the first day of our arrival. He had wanted to include it into our itinerary for the day. However, when he first mentioned “宫原眼科”, we (or rather, I) misheard it as “公园sth sth” and I thought to myself, what’s so special about eating ice cream in a park? Thus, we struck it off our itinerary and decided to visit the famed Feng Jia Night Market instead.
Oh boy, we were wrong. After going back to do some research (& after meeting countless friendly Taichung natives who introduced us to some of their best things), we realised our mistake. Decided to “atone for our sin” by including the place in our itinerary on our second day.
There was a long snaking queue when we arrived but it didn’t deter us from joining the queue.
So what’s so special about this ice cream shop? Located near the Taichung Train Station, the 2-storey building used to be an eye clinic that was constructed by a Japanese optometrist called Miyahara in 1927 (during the Japanese occupation). It has an attractive exterior made up of red bricks. After World War 2 ended, the Taichung government department of health occupied the building for some time before abandoning it. It was only in 2011 that a food company took over and renovated the building. Today, the building houses the flagship store for the famous Dawn Cakes (日出蛋糕), as well as a cafe that serves cakes and drinks.
After about 5-10 minutes of queueing, a staff handed the order sheet to us. Their menu had a gazillion different flavours, and most of them were somewhat exotic. For example, they had flavours made up of different tea concoctions, as well as unusual ones like Hakka Thunder Tea and Raisins with Mascarpone. Just the chocolate flavours alone occupied a third of the page, and they had cocoa percentages that ranged from 43% to 100%. Perfect for chocolate lovers! As usual, we were spoilt for choice. After much contemplation, we picked the 80%煙薰烏干達 (Smoked Uganda, with 80% cocoa) , and 半夢半醒之間, which was a special tea concoction made up of red tea, rose and mint.
After about 45 minutes of waiting, we finally managed to set foot inside the shop.
The friendly staff processed our order rather quickly, and we were ushered to wait at the toppings section. They had really cool toppings like pineapple tarts, traditional Taiwanese pastries and cheesecakes etc. Because we ordered double scoops, we were able to pick 3 toppings. We chose the pineapple cake, some flower biscuit thing and the berries mixture.
We devoured the ice cream outside the shop in a matter of minutes, much to the envy of many tourists who were still in the queue. Omnomsssss. Would definitely have gone back for seconds if it weren’t for the long queue.
Now the million dollar question: Was it worth the 45-minute wait?
Well, I’m lying if I said no. Our Taiwan trip taught us that Taiwanese people really love to queue for good stuff (trust me, all the best food stalls have freaking long queues) and given that there were many Taiwanese in the queue, I wouldn’t be surprised if this was the best ice cream shop in Taichung. The ice cream was delicious (especially since it was scorching hot that day) and overall, I’d say that the experience was rather memorable. After all, where else can you find an ice cream parlour with so many unique flavours and toppings? If there’s something you can’t leave Taichung without, it’d be this. Try it or regret later!
Oh, by the way, do pop by 自由路 to pick up some 太陽餅 (sun cakes) as gifts for your friends back at home after visiting Miyahara. Or if you’re lazy, just head into the Dawn Cakes Flagship Store located next to the ice cream shop to get your gifts.
Miyahara Ice Cream (宫原眼科)
Opening Hours: 10am-10pm