If you’re looking for a typical Taiwanese dessert, try Dongyuan!
What’s Dongyuan? This dessert is actually impossible to translate to English… it’s such a mix of different specialties that you won’t be able to find the right English words to characterise it, so let’s stick to the Chinese pinyin and call it Dongyuan!
Dongyuan is a sort of sweet soup, where you put lots of ingredients. You can choose to add inside:
- Taro balls 芋圆: sticky and gelatinous balls made of taro
- Herb jelly 仙草凍: the literal translation is celestial herb, it is a jelly made of a Chinese green plant called Chinese mesona
- Matcha jelly 抹茶凍: jelly made of matcha tea
- Bean curd pudding 豆花: the literal translation is “tofu flower”, it is classic tofu spread into the soup, so it opens like a flower (very romantic!)
- All kinds of beans and seeds: red beans, green beans, lotus seeds…
You might notice that all the ingredients are entirely natural and none of them are unhealthy.
The best place to enjoy a good Dongyuan in the Donghai area is at Longmen food. Not only are their Dongyuan tasty, but the place also has an old Chinese traditional decoration. From the outside it looks like an old shop made of bricks and wood. When you pass through the gate, you’ll enter a closed terrace with large Chinese pots used as tables and varnished tree trunks as elegant chairs.
The restaurant inside is like a traditional Chinese tea house, with wooden tables and chairs, big Buddhas, Chinese calligraphy paintings and a little aquarium with cute golden fishes. It feels like you time-traveled into the past!
We chose to sit at the terrace. While waiting for our order, we played with the little horoscope machine which gives you your daily horoscope if you put 10NTD inside, it was really fun!
There’s also a sign which explains the natural origins of the products used in their Dongyuan. The restaurant uses two different types of herb to make herb jelly: one for the sweetness, the other for the consistency of the jelly.
Then we went to get our bowls of Dongyuan. Each Dongyuan has the same base, made of different kinds of beans and then you add extra ingredients. First we had the most popular one, which contained herb jelly, taro powder, taro and sweet potatoes balls. Then we had the specialty of the house, which had herb jelly, matcha jelly, taro and sweet potatoes balls. Both have a tablespoon of milk on top of them. You can choose wether to have your Dongyuan warm or cold (we chose to warm our bellies).
When eating our first bite, we came to the same conclusion: this is a good Dongyuan! The jellies bring a fresh and light side to the Dongyuan, whereas the beans give a heavy side, a perfect balance. As expected, the chewiness of the Dongyuan is brought by the taro balls, so yummy! There’s not too much sugar in the soup so you can taste the original flavour of each ingredient. Bite after bite, you can feel so many distinct textures and flavours, even so, the result will always be a harmony in your mouth…
When you leave this place, you won’t feel bloated and guilty like after eating a classic dessert, probably because Dongyuan is a healthy dessert. We will definitely come to this place more often to try new combinations of ingredients and to read the horoscope of the day!
龍門客棧 (Longmen food)
Address: No. 19, Lane 1, Xinxing Road, Longjing District, Taichung City, 434
Phone number: 04 2632 0528