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TAIWAN FUN MAGAZINE, September, 2005.

Hui Liu

Hui Liu (Tea house and vegetarian food)
(02) 2392-6707
9, Lane 31, YungKang St., Taipei City
Hours: 11:30 am-10 pm daily
Visa and Mastercard accepted.
No smoking

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By Claire Tyrell Translated by Ann Li

It was the enticing entrance surrounded by plants, and a welcoming little patio dining area that drew me into Hui Liu. A tea shop and vegetarian restaurant with tasteful decor and relaxing but unobtrusive classical music, it continued to work its spell by enhancing the idea of Taiwanese tea itself as relaxation.
A showcase for tea and ceramics, tea time (1:30-5 p.m.) here offers organic teas for NT$180, which includes a service charge. Teas, ranging from NT$80 to NT$110, include the popular Iron KuanYin and BaiHao Wulong, while seasonal recommendations vary. For those who are not sure what to order, the staff is helpful in recommending a tea to suit your preference, whether it is of a strong flavour or a lighter touch. I was recommended the wonderful Alishan tea, and also encouraged to enjoy the leaves' aroma.

The menu (in Chinese and English) offers flavours of Mexico, Thailand and Taiwan amongst its dishes and a good variety of side orders and desserts.
On this occasion, I went for the Double Layer Open Ravioli (NT$480), a large offering with fresh tasting pasta, and a light tomato and cream sauce over perfectly crunchy vegetables. Meals, which are all very visually enticing, come with a chunky soup, a side dish, fresh fruit and coconut dessert. I also tried a side order of plum sauce pressed tofu squares, and an audible "mmm" escaped my lips as I tucked in!

Finally, a bowl of tea arrived, and the tea keeps coming until you take yourself away, back out to the busy streets.
Although there are several vegetarian restaurants in Taipei that promote organic products and health, the food at Hui Liu is undeniably fresh, wholesome, and bursting with flavour. Dining out is often tinged with pangs of guilt. Dining at Hui Liu, however, is a reinvigorating experience that will only make you smile.

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