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Chinese Food: Last Bite

Fortune cookies? Oh please. Save room for shaved ice, frilly fruit tarts, and durian rolls

An avalanche of mochi, condensed milk, and sweet red beans tumbles down the sides of a green tea mountain. The Taiwanese have taken shaved ice to new heights, and at Class 302 (1015 S. Nogales St., Ste. 125, Rowland Heights, 626-965-5809), a fluffy variety known as “snow” is offered with such toppings as lotus seeds, purple taro, and grass-flavored gelatin. The Chinese passion for sweets borders on obsession, and the range of sugary delights shows a global influence. At Phoenix Bakery (969 N. Broadway, Chinatown, 213-628-4642), pastry shells filled with a Portuguese-style egg custard stay warm beneath a heat lamp. The glass case at the Taiwanese-owned Vanille de Patisserie (2968 Huntington Dr., San Marino, 626-286-3600) is stocked with haute couture cakes worthy of Paris. The odiferous durian fruit is among the fillings for mochi rolls at Phoenix Dessert (220 E. Valley Blvd., Alhambra, 626-299-1918). Or regulate your qi with medicinal turtle jelly at Nature Pagoda (312 W. Valley Blvd., San Gabriel, 626-570-8333). Smothered in syrup, it’s cooling, with a hint of licorice and not a trace of shell. 
 
Photograph by Alex Farnum