Taiwan Ice Cream & Poke brings something "unique" to Destin
After putting things on hold for a year, Taiwan Ice Cream & Poke is now open in Destin.
Located in the Shoppes at Paradise Isle on Emerald Coast Parkway near the Shoe Station, the shop is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
“This is very new,” said owner Alex Ou, noting they opened their doors May 9 and just got the outdoor signage up last week.
But Taiwan Ice Cream & Poke is all about bringing something unique to Destin.
In 2019 before the pandemic, Ou, who has lived in Destin for eight years, traveled to Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong and China.
“I travel and try to bring something unique back to Destin,” he said.
While in Tokyo, he had poke.
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“It’s very unique, so I decided to bring the poke to Destin,” Ou said, noting Destin did not have poke.
Poke is a Hawaiian dish usually served with raw fish.
"We also have cooked chicken, beef and shrimp,” Ou said.
The Poke bowl is made to order.
First, customers choose their rice, white or brown, then their meat and then the sauce. Taiwan Ice Cream & Poke has a variety of sauces, from spicy mayo to eel to sweet chili.
After the sauce, the customer can pick four additional toppings such as pineapple, cilantro, carrots, cucumber, sweet corn, tomato, lettuce, edamame, green onion, red onion or crab meat.
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Then finally add a bit of crunch with sesame seed, fried onion or fried garlic.
The poke is $10.
The other idea Ou brought back from Asia was the “unique ice cream.”
“Taiwan shaved ice is very famous and unique,” he said.
Ou uses an ice shaver from Taiwan to make the ice cream.
“It’s much faster and much finer ice,” he said.
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He mixes the shaved ice with condensed milk and a syrup. The customer then can top it off with a choice of four toppings.
Toppings include strawberries, pineapple, peaches, chocolate pieces, fruity pebbles, sprinkles, gummy bears, marshmallows and popping boba.
Taiwan Ice Cream & Poke also serves up “authentic boba tea” from Taiwan.
The boba tea comes in four flavors: strawberry, mango, Thai and Taro.
Customers can choose their boba, tapioca or popping. The popping comes in strawberry or mango. The popping boba is just that — it is filled with juice that pops in your mouth for that extra burst of flavor.
“This is basic. … We try to have a simple menu,” Ou said.
The three things on the menu are Hawaiian poke, Taiwanese shaved ice and boba tea.
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Taiwan Ice Cream & Poke also has traditional ice cream in a variety of flavors.
Ou is all about serving and supporting his local community, noting that the staff recently took poke bowls to the sheriff’s substation and fire station.
“I want to support the local community,” he said. “We hope to get more customers in the summertime, but the tourist doesn’t know us right now.”
Taiwan Ice Cream & Poke is at 34940 Emerald Coast Parkway in Destin.