Interview by CHEE LU for Issue 2 of 25 Magazine
Though Taichung is quite big, I always walk when visiting downtown. If you are planning to visit this beautiful city, I recommend renting a motorcycle. Ride around and you too will find a favorite corner.
There are many great places to visit in Taichung and top of my list is Solidbean, a new coffee shop run by three women. Nicole Liu is the Head Roaster, Corey Chang manages the accounts, marketing and visual merchandising, and Dana Chang is the Store Manager and Coffee Educator. The trio are very creative and give a lot of thought to how the drinks and sandwiches are presented. Their beer coffee is a mix of the mature flavor of hops and coffee. You can also order a set menu of great coffee and delicious sandwiches, which are especially tasty and refreshing in summer. Dana likes to chat with the guests, and if you’re not sure about where to visit during your first trip in Taichung, you should definitely ask her for recommendations.
If you’re happy to make a reservation in advance, I recommend Hero Restaurant. I was hugely impressed with the work of its chefs, as most of their ingredients are sourced locally in Taiwan. Chefs Hsiao Tsun-Yuan and Lin Kai-Wei combine fine dining with the elements of traditional Taiwanese cuisine to create a new cooking style that provides local flavor and a wonderful dining experience. Tsun-Yuan has planted many different herbs, flowers, and vegetables in his mother-in-law’s farm, and these are used on their amazing seasonal dishes.
After dinner when the night breeze blows softly is a great time to get some street snacks. Whenever I visit Taichung, I never miss Uncle Ado’s Frozen Taro. There are two different varieties of this pleasantly cool taro soup, which are available in many flavors. If you have ever cooked taro, you will understand just how difficult it is to cook it thoroughly while preventing it from softening too much and breaking. Uncle Ado’s taro retains its shape, and the sweet taste infiltrates the clear soup, filling it with flavor. It is well worth a try.
As the night progresses and you are happily fed, you should consider a relaxing massage in a local foot spa. I recommend Chun Bu Lao (Foot Young Spa). I was astonished by its enormous size and stylish decor. It offers the best foot massage service I have ever experienced. You can choose from four blends of different herbs to add to your foot bath, and while your feet are immersed in the water, you can unwind with a shoulder and back massage. You are then moved to a most comfortable sofa where you can relax further with a gentle and authentic foot massage.
If you want to spend more time in the Taichung municipality, there are many coffee farms to visit, all of which are within an hour’s ride or drive from the city. Shen Gu Shan (Kabeya), located at an altitude of 900 meters above sea level, is an award-winning coffee farm in the Taichung area. Husband and wife team Rui-Hung Chang and Yu-Jin Chuang own the farm and are devoted to biodynamic farming. They are very open-minded about planting and processing coffee, regularly undertaking farming experiments. If you visit during the harvesting season, you will be able to explore this beautiful, wild coffee farm.
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