A Taste of TaiwanCover Story
December 17, 2023
Story By: Dining Out Team | Photos by: LAWRENCE TABUDLO
Meet Fresh is fairly new to Hawaii, but this Taiwanese brand has locations across the mainland, including more than a dozen in California. It’s known for its refreshing herbal grass jelly and sweet and chewy taro balls, both of which can be served over bowls of shave ice.
According to its website, this dessert chain was the brainchild of a brother and sister who came from a farming family in the Feng Yuan district of Taichung, Taiwan. Their taro balls and herbal jellies are crafted following traditional processes that garnered them a global following.
We caught up with Eric Li, Meet Fresh Ala Moana Center owner and franchisee, to get the inside scoop.
DO: What’s the story behind the name Meet Fresh?
EL: It originated from the brand’s Chinese name, which combines “fresh,” “taro” and the abbreviation for “grass jelly.” In addition, “taro” in Chinese is pronounced “meet.” Thus, we use the play on words to emphasize the freshness of our ingredients and items.
DO: What are some of the unique ingredients Meet Fresh features?
EL: Our grass jelly, taro balls, mini q (mini taro balls) and potato balls (potato taro balls with taro-and-sesame filling) are toppings that set us apart from other dessert shops. Over the years, American customers have become familiar with boba and we also have that as an option.
DO: What are your three most popular dishes?
EL: Our Double Taro Signature ($10.75) combines our most renowned toppings — taro balls, grass jelly and grass jelly shaved ice. The taro paste and ice cream add to the taste of this dessert bowl and make for an excellent dessert. Our shaved ice items (prices vary) are also very popular. Each shaved ice item combines multiple toppings and the portion is perfect for families and friends to share. Last but not least, our tofu puddings (prices vary) are authentic Chinese desserts. You can taste the fragrance of the soybeans. Then you add your favorite toppings to take it to the next level.
DO: What’s your favorite menu item?
EL: The Double Taro Signature. You cannot find other places serving something similar in the United States. We import our ingredients from Taiwan and follow traditional recipes. The taste is authentic and the same as what you would taste in Asia.
DO: Do you have any pro tips for dining at Meet Fresh?
EL: If you are a new customer trying our grass jelly dessert bowls, I recommend you first try it without adding the complimentary creamer to get the authentic taste of pure grass jelly. Once you add the creamer to the dessert, you will experience a richer taste. This way, you get two different levels and experiences in one bowl.
DO: Do you have any specials we should know about?
EL: We have a December Tuesday deal where your second dessert is 20% off every Tuesday this month. Also, we are open until 10 p.m. on Christmas, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. We invite you, your family and your friends to stop by and have dessert after your holiday meals and get-togethers!