Twist is a tiny little depot that specializes in cold Taiwanese desserts. They’ve got smoothies and juices, but what you really need to go to Twist for is the shaved ice. Though we’re sure there are similar offerings sprinkled around the Taiwanese enclaves Hongqiao/Gubei, we’re positive that in Shanghai proper, Twist has the freshest and most authentic ingredients meant to sit atop a mound of shaved ice.
Thick red beans, pineapple chunks soaked in sweet plum juice, hand brewed tapioca and flan pudding are all available options, most of them cooked and nurtured at the owners’ home the night before. Everything and anything you order has imported brown sugar sauce drizzled on it, a supposed recent trend in Taiwan towards premium, unprocessed ingredients. Whatever, it sure tasted good.
In fact, it’s this dedication to quality ingredients and flavor that results in the biggest complaint we’re aware of. Once the last of the ground taro or sweet yams is used up, they close up shop no matter how early in the day it is. Started by two high level creative directors in big advertising agencies who got tired of the exhausting pace of the work, Twist is their attempt to do something small but perfect. If you’re hankering for icy treats after sunset, make sure you call ahead of time. And with a seating capacity of about nine people, be prepared to squeeze in as Twist has become quite popular with both homesick Taiwanese expats and locals looking for something a bit different.
Twist – No. 708 Weihai Lu, near Shanxi Lu (威海路708号, 近陕西北路). Tel: 6258-9938.
Eric Hu is Shanghaiist’s Food Editor. Email tips, recommendations, and news and gossip about Shanghai’s food scene to food at shanghaiist.com.