The Happy Buddha
Text by Andy Macdonald Translated by Ann Lee
Photos by Jimmy Kang
223, BoAi 2nd Rd
Hours: Open daily from 6-late closed Sundays
The alluring warmth seeps through the small rectangular windows of the Happy Buddha and welcomes you with authentic Oriental charm. This pub, where Asia meets the West, has become a well-deserved staple in the Kaohsiung pub scene.
Upping the ante in pub fodder, the Buddha offers large portions of Western food at reasonable prices. Owner Catvi Ou wanted to create an atmosphere that was an extension of her personality. A place where her friends and others could eat, drink and have fun without spending too much money. The menu offers a great array of sandwiches, pizza, burgers, Tex-Mex and other assorted dishes with quality ingredients. For a healthy appetite consider the new Sirloin Steak and Cheese Sandwich (NT$210) featuring diced steak coupled with melted Swiss cheese on a ciabatta bun. Or, for a deli flavor, try the popular Pastrami and Swiss Cheese Sandwich (NT$200) on a hearty bun specially made for the Buddha's menu. For a lighter choice opt for a Tomato and Mozzarella Salad (NT$160). And, in the highlight of the new menu, the Buddha has added a Thai Chicken Red Curry with Rice (NT$200) to the list, a genuine Thai recipe with gourmet ingredients.
Keep an eye out for the daily specials or start your Saturday night off right with NT$100 Murphy's. The drink menu offers the usual suspects, from Corona and San Miguel to import items such as Kilkenny draught and Krombacher wheat lager (NT$200). With an extensive bartending background, Catvi has an impressive list of cleverly named cocktails and has concocted a unique cocktail of her own: the Passionate Buddha (NT$180), a mix of vodka, grenadine, grapefruit and soda. If you're feeling adventurous try a shot of absinthe (Fruko NT$100 or Bairnsfather NT$150).
Head down the the pub, mingle with your friends and chill out to the background of Asian beats and world music while rediscovering the Happy Buddha.