As you walk in, the glow of the orange lanterns welcomes you before the sheer size of the menu overwhelms you. There's certainly no lack of choices with Taiwanese and Hong Kong style desserts as well as drinks on offer. The vast majority of the menu is priced around $6-$8, which makes for a very reasonably priced dessert.
The gigantic menu can be broken down into the following:
Taiwanese Desserts (in black bowl/plate) -
Taro, Herbal Jelly, Black Glutinous Rice, Puddings, Tofu Puddings, Snow Ice and Crushed Ice.
Hong Kong Desserts (in orange bowl) -
Sago or Black Pearl Soup, Tofu Pudding, Black Glutinous Rice, Grass Jelly, Ice Cream.
Fruit Smoothies (in clear plastic cup) -
Drinks with some choices containing predefined ingredients or you can build your own combinations.
Choose your category, then choose the specific item number. It's best to order by number rather than name because the names are very similar. You may be asked if you'd like your dessert hot or cold. I generally go with cold because I like to eat the ice. If you choose hot it will come in a warm soup. After ordering at the counter, you'll be given a number on a little stand. Staff will compile the ingredients, find your number and deliver the order to your table.
I'm not a fan of the Herbal Jelly or the Grass Jelly. I think they must be an acquired taste in a similar way to Vegemite. I've tried most of the other categories and my pick of the entire menu is #15 - Taro Balls with Honey Bean, Coconut Jelly, Pearls ($6.80). I love the different textures and flavours. This one is quite filling as well so can be shared between two people if you're not overly hungry.
The fruit smoothies are fun too, especially if you enjoy different textures in your drinks like pearls, jellies or fruit. Here's one of the set options: Mango Coconut drink ($5.90).
It's also important to note that the ice shaving machine is a penguin. This is awesome because he's cute (see red bow tie), appropriate (penguins and ice go together), and useful (he shaves ice for the cold desserts).
I strongly believe that the negative reviews online are mostly due to the fact that people in Adelaide have no idea what to order. This is completely understandable as we've never had this kind of dessert shop in Adelaide before. It takes a bit of patience and adventure to navigate the myriad of choices, but it's well worth the effort. Dessert Story in Adelaide is one of my favourite stops for sweets because their desserts are different, affordable, and fun.