Minimalistic dessert shop brings frozen Taiwanese treats to San Francisco

Snow delicious

Julia-Rose Kibben, Managing Editor

Crystalline shavings of flavored ice gather together in cups of snowy goodness at Powder, the Taiwanese ice cream experience that opened on Divisadero Street about a month ago.

During a San Francisco heatwave with weather in the high 70s, Powder was a refreshing treat that satisfied a sweet-tooth hankering. While the parlor only offers five “snows” — resembling a dessert  halfway between ice cream and shaved ice, it offers the fresh and flavorful ones: black sesame, Vietnamese coffee, strawberry, horchata and matcha green tea.

The regular-sized snow appears to be large, but weighs significantly less than it looks to be since the shaved ice isn’t weighed down by sugary syrups or heavy cream like ice cream.

The Vietnamese coffee snow is rich and milky, unlike its dense popsicle rival from Bi Rite Creamery, a block away.

The horchata snow, flavored like the traditional Mexican cinnamon-spiced rice drink, was better than most horchatas at taquerias, mostly because it’s thankfully not as rich or dairy-heavy.

Each dish comes with a crunchy waffle cone cracker to shovel some of the snow into one’s mouth — a subtle touch which satisfies the traditional ice cream cone lover. The frozen yogurt fanatic is also in luck, as Powder’s menu boasts more toppings than flavors.

Unlike ice cream, there are no to-go pints available for purchase for binge eating while watching Netflix. Downing a gallon of this stuff would be no impressive feat because it’s so light, it might feel like eating air. A taste of Powder will require getting out of bed to order and wait for the freshly-made, frozen treats.

The shop can be difficult to locate. After 10 minutes of driving and searching, it appeared to be a dark, closed space, with a marker-on-paper sign in the window declaring that it closed early. The shop would have stayed open another two hours, if it had enough product left to last through the day.

A small space limits seating for customers, but an accommodating public parklet outdoors offers a place for customers to sit down and enjoy the refreshing snows.

The purist’s plain and simple regular cup of snow starts at $4.50,  and daily specials include $5.50 “S’nome Picks” which offer two sundae-style snow options with prefixed toppings. Only one flavor is available per order, so optimally, customers go in pairs, order different flavors and share dessert then leave having tried half the menu.

Powder is located at 260 Divisadero St. and is open on Tuesday through Sunday, noon to 10 p.m.