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TAIWAN FUN MAGAZINE,
foray in the heart of the city
By Josephine Lin Translated by Elliot Billings
If parallels can
be made between Taipei's vibrant HsiMenTing District and Tokyo's
Shinjuku, then Yung-kang Street is the local equivalent of
Jiyugaoka, or "Freedom Hill." It is refined, but
not aloof. It is tranquil and trendy, yet down-to-earth. Yung-kang
proper refers to the business area surrounding Yung-kang Park
(LiShui and YungKang Streets, including the intersection at
HsinYi Road, Sec. 2; and parts of ChinHua Street). Snack food
vendors and eateries from Taiwan and Mainland China opened
shops here generations ago, giving rise to the name "District
of Delicacies." Later, as international restaurants,
cafes and boutiques began to settle in, Yung-kang emerged
as a fashionable enclave. It's a "must see" on the
tourist route, and is a local favorite for leisurely shopping
Tai Feng (02) 2321-8927
This famous restaurant is found at the intersection of
Hsin-yi Road, Section 2 and Yung-Kang Street. The house
specialty is hsiao lung pao -steamed juicy dumplings wrapped
in delicate dough and filled with crabmeat, chicken or
other tasty tidbits. The queue often stretches down the
block, so reservations are advised.
Chi (02) 2341-9984
You can sample dishes of Shanghai, Canton and other regions
at Kao Chi. The taste is so authentic you will feel as
though you have been transplanted to distant lands with
each mouthful. Try traditional snacks, like steamed dumplings,
crabmeat, shredded radish pancakes, and bundles of rice
and sweet meats wrapped in bamboo leaves (tsung-tsu),
or choose from fried rice, noodle dishes and a generous
selection of Hong Kong style dim sum.
Chi Nanking Dried Pressed Duck
In business for over forty years, the popularity of Cheng
Chi¡¦s authentic Nanking Dried Pressed Duck, Salted Dried Chicken,
and Honey Grilled Spareribs make dining reservations a must.
Also try the lu-wei, or sweet and sour stewed meat and vegetables
a la carte.
Vietnamese Noodles (Pho) (02) 2321-1579
Nothing is more versatile than Vietnamese "pho",
a delectable noodle soup synonymous with the country.
Create your own combo of noodles (wide, chewy "he-fen"
noodles or thin rice-flour "mi-fen" vermicelli)
and soup stock (sha-cha, curry, sweet-sour or clear broth).
You can also add seafood, beef or pork.
Ping-kuan ("The Ice House") is an unpretentious
stand serving bing - a refreshing snack of shaved ice
crowned with fresh fruit. Sliced plump strawberries drizzled
with homemade sweetened milk is popular in winter months.
Summertime options include chilled chunks of mango and
sweet cream. These treats are worth the wait in line!
Hui-liu Teahouse, blending classic charm and modern chic,
serves vegetarian fare and teas. The "Pocket Salad",
a sesame seed bun stuffed with lettuce, fruit, and a thick
layer of cheese, is the hot choice. All menu items are
healthy and delicious.
Imperial Kitchen (02) 2322-4429
The Imperial Kitchen sells over thirty different authentic
Hong Kong-style all natural sweets. Many include ingredients
revered in traditional Chinese medicine that enhance beauty
Curry House (02) 2341-1371
The Indian proprietor and his Taiwanese wife serve exceptional
curry dishes based on traditional recipes. Gourmands relish
the Pumpkin and Sparerib Curry.
Lou (02) 2392-1626
This stunning pasta house, opened by Fan Tsung-pei the famous
Taiwanese violinist, is worthy of an encore. The four-item
menu changes daily, but Carbonara with Pine Nuts and Jade
Mushroom Alfredo remain perennial favorites. Limited portions
are prepared fresh daily and receive the chef's full attention.
Customers are encouraged to place orders early.
Cafe (02) 2351-6375
Step into Mustard and leave your worries outside. Everything,
from decor to tableware, is designed with relaxation in mind.
Of course, what better way to relax than with great food like
mouth-watering dishes of Mango Chicken Curry, Noodles with
Blackened Fish and Sliced Garlic, and German Honey Glazed
Pork Knuckles. The freshly made Tiramisu and Japanese Pudding
Chieh (02) 2392-3719
Selected as one of Taipei's finest flower garden cafes, Yung-kang
Chieh offers verdant vistas from its windows in addition to
delicious beverages. The specialty is Herbal Coffee with a
delicate scent of purple Perilla mint. Tea Latte is another
original creation that's rich and aromatic. Caffeine-free
drinks are available.
Wan Coke Cakes (02) 2351-0733
Ko-leh cakes, Taiwan¡¦s answer to the croquette, are a scrumptious
mix of mashed potato and luscious fillings rolled in breadcrumbs
and lightly deep-fried. You'll find the best at Tuan-ti Wan,
a modest storefront vendor offering nine flavors. Seafood,
Ham and Cheese, Thai-style Sweet 'n Sour, Curry Chicken and
Pepper Steak top the list. Ko-leh are crunchy on the outside,
savory on the inside. Those
prepared at Tuan-ti Wan are never oily. Just ask the crowds
waiting for a taste!
Forest (02) 2392-2447
The proprietress learned her culinary tricks from her German
mother-in-law. Black Forest serves Roasted Pork Knuckle in
Beer, Bratwurst, and over 20 different desserts. The Bavarian
Vanilla Pudding is incredible. German patrons claim the food
is as good as home!
Garden (02) 2341-2359
The proprietor of Alpine Garden, former resident of Switzerland,
has created a charming teahouse with Swiss ambiance. The herbal
teas are imported from some of the countries most distinguished
tea companies; all carry beneficial effects. Special concoctions
aid weight loss, enhance the complexion or reduce stress.
Whichever you choose, a leisurely cup enjoyed in the vanilla-scented
Alpine Garden will put you at ease.
Feng-ching (Mediterranean) (02) 2396-938
Arched Grecian doorways and vine-covered trellises set the
mood for a romantic interlude, but it's the cuisine that will
win your heart. Treat yourself to traditional Mousaka, lamb
and eggplant pie, or Greek Rice, a long-grain variety flavored
with aromatic spices, onion and garlic.
The proprietress of Mediterranean Dream, a former art student
in France, employs color and music to create a Southern European-style
setting. Vegetarian pastas, like Spinach and Tomato Lasagna,
are the signature dishes.
Shopping in Taiwan conjures images of a fierce tug-of-war
between buyer and seller, but negotiating prices in the Yung-kang
District is more low-key. Prices are higher considering the
quality. If you're looking for a one-of-a-kind gift, you may
want to start here. If you enjoy window-shopping, wonders
are waiting along its checkerboard-patterned lanes.
Corner (02) 2357-8690
Kitty's Corner attracts cat lovers. Just imagine, specialty
imports from around the world - "Hello Kitty DollsTM,
ornaments and other fun feline furnishings. Special requests
Doll Collectors (02) 2357-0450
R+D specializes in vintage Barbie TM, from 1959 originals
to revamped models dressed in DKNY and Christian Dior designer
wear. Some of the most intriguing Barbie dolls were produced
in Taiwan from 1968 to 1989 and reveal true engineering genius
when compared to other dolls of the day. R+D caters to the
collector; special orders can be arranged with delivery taking
approximately three weeks.
House (02) 2321-2303
There are no fakes here. Betty's House boasts American authorized
Betty Boop clothing and accessories for distribution in Taiwan.
Those who wear their Betty Boop proudly, but prefer non-Western
sizes, should definitely stop by.
Kitty (02) 2391-9504
The mysterious charm of Cara Kitty makes for a steady stream
of customers. You'll find Cara Kitty bags, change purses that
fit in the palm of your hand, travel totes, Cara Kitty leisure
wear, Japanese-style uniforms and captivating household furnishings.
Girl (02) 2394-9149
Are you looking for period costumes from the late Ching or
the early Republic of Taiwan? Perhaps you like ethnic clothing,
rare textiles or unique accents. Weaver Girl is a treasure
trove for the collector or those who want to make a smashing
Yuan-man, newest arrival on the Yung-kang scene, carries soft
cloth handbags in silks and cottons imported from Thailand.
The selection is comprehensive. Luxury items, like tissue
holders, slippers and kitchen utensil bags, are also on hand.
Ju (02) 2341-5301
Yung-kang Ju, designed along traditional lines, carries folk
art from Taiwan, fine calligraphy, and tools and instruments
from the 1930's. Da-wei Foreign Antiques, Art, and Ornaments,
a subsidiary outlet, is great for treasure hunters interested
in pocket watches, rare timepieces, bronze ware, jewelry and
ceramics. Price range varies.
Chen Curios & Crafts (02) 2358-7938
Silver and jade ornaments, carved gourds, Buddha statuettes
and other trinkets are the star attraction at Tsang Chen Curios
& Crafts. Each carries a personal story, which the owner
is happy to share if you've got the time.
Yung-kang Park is a favorite destination for young and
old. The grounds make for a welcome stroll after a sumptuous
meal or window-shopping, or even a leisurely take-out
picnic. It's a great escape during crowded holidays. You
may happen upon a live performance held on a small stage
within park environs.
GETTING TO YUNG-KANGBy
take #0 East¡B20¡B22¡B38¡B106¡B204¡B209¡Bor 294 in
the direction of Hsin-yi Rd. Get off at the intersection of
Yung-kang St. and Hsin-yi Rd. Drivers can park at Ta-an Park
or at the Jian-kuo Parking Lot and proceed to Yung-kang St.