Photography courtesy of Cloud 9

Although it might be too light for some over stimulated palettes, xue-hua-bing or Taiwanese snow ice is a refreshingly clean and natural alternative to the usual dairy-heavy and processed treats we as Americans and in a broader sense the Western world are accustomed to. A trend for years now on the West Coast, snow ice tastes exactly how it sounds. The snack sized bowl goes for around $5 and it is nothing short of a more than generous heap of curvy rippled mountain top. For an extra 69¢ the finely shaven ice is complimented with your choice of drizzles and pieces of fruit and other Asian regulars (such as red beans) that give the treat authenticity interwoven with healthfulness.

Though most people might take offense to the extremely subtle sensibilities present in the flavor of this traditionally Asian confectionery, this extremely economic frozen treat parlor delights the aesthetic senses. From the colorfully domed lights, to the biodegradable cutlery, the place screams of youthful, pop-arty relevance.

I went with a friend around 8 p.m., taking advantage of their later hours. Not only were the staff helpful and excited, they were still awake. What really did it in for me was their incredible customer service. When living in the common decency desert, strange politeness seems like a refreshing lifesaver. Once I drank the life-giving drink of genuine consideration, I had the mango ice with a sweet condensed milk drizzle and pieces of kiwi. The whole thing was under $7 and for someone who doesn’t really have a sweet tooth, it was delicious.

The thing is, in the summer when you indulge yourself with two scoops of say strawberry ice cream in a waffle cone or dive into a Choco-Taco, it leaves some stomachs feeling queasy. For example, I tend to feel like there is sugar coating lining my stomach. For people who are lactose intolerant or can’t stand dairy in the heat this place is perfect. Also, people with combative digestion can benefit from not feeling like that heavy aching feeling. The cumulus texture of this whisper-like diminutive dessert will calm your stomach and your sweaty forehead, as the sun beats down at you from the unforgiving Chicagoan heavens.

Cloud 9
604 West Belmont Avenue
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 857-1255

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