Wanderlust Taiwan- Cafe Sole at Songshan Cultural and Creative Park 松山文創園區, A Heritage Site

I was at Songshan Cultural and Creative Park 松山文創園區 for a playdate with my artist friend and her children. Songshan Cultural and Creative Park had been a tobacco plant since the Japanese colonial days in 1937. In 2001, the Taiwanese government designated the location as a cultural heritage site. In 2011, it was transformed into a creative hub for local artists to exhibit their work to the public. We walked around the center visiting the exhibits, got hungry and stopped at Cafe Sole for a snack and breakfast.

Cafe Sole is not only about coffee but also about creating a dialogue between the environment and the taste of coffee. The environment of Songshan, its history and creativity, brings a uniqueness to the coffee in Cafe Sole. (ok, I did not make this up. This is a direct translation of their About Cafe Sole in the Chinese site). Cafe latte. Cute bear. Excellent coffee. Cafe Sole sources internationally award-winning coffee beans that are produced out of small villages in central Taiwan. Shame on me- I had no idea that Taiwan produces coffee beans let alone award-winning ones. Ham and Cheese Panini. Made with love. Very well executed and presented.Raspberry Vinegar Tea. This is not something you see everyday in New York. Vinegar tea is very popular in Taiwan; it’s similar to the idea of drinking apple cinder vinegar to boost your immune system. The vinegar tea is usually combined with a variety of fruits and flowers.Chocolate muffin. It’s made with good dark chocolate. 🙂

Afterwards, we got freshly squeezed watermelon juice. Nothing can compare to delicious watermelon juice on a hot, scorching tropical summer day. It was a perfect day with culture, friendship, fine coffee and tea. Cafe Sole is a great stopping place for tired feet. Songshan Cultural and Creative Park should be on the list for international visitors.

This experience took place at

CAFE SOLÉ 日出印象咖啡館
at Songshan Cultural and Creative Park 松山文創園區
No. 133, Guangfu S Rd,
信義區台北市 Taiwan 110
+886 2 2765 1388
台北市光復南路133號
Mail: cafe.sole.tw@gmail.com

Wanderlust Taiwan- RaoHe Street Night Market Visit 饒河街觀光夜市

This is my only visit to the night market this year. RaoHe Street Night Market, 饒河街觀光夜市, is famous for its food and as-seen-on-TV products. Click here to watch a Magic Comb demonstration from a night market vendor. Click here to read about my prior visit to Linjiang Street Night Market last year.

For those who have never been to an Asian night market, it’s hard to imagine the crowds, noises, smells, lights and the sights. The only thing that came close to the Asian night market is the Plaza Jemaa el Fna in Marrakech, Morocco. It’s an overwhelming experience of the senses.  The temple next to the entrance  A sign demonstrating the proper way of queuing for the stand. 
The queue was long and this was what everyone was waiting for, a Japanese snack from Osaka that looks like a cake and has layers of cabbage, bacon, eggs, and shrimps. Grilled on both side and topped with mayo, Bonita flakes and wasabi.Charcoal grilled abalones and escargots
Fried squid with a multitude of seasonings to choose from Plum candies Pig feet  Eggs cooked by tea leavesBlack sugar cubes. Drinks made from winter melons with black sugar. Waffles with some special flavors: caramel green tea, Yu-Ching mango 
This entire stand is based on the chicken pieces that this man pulled and shredded by hand A variety of handmade dried tofu: sha cha, original and spicy 
This is luxurious night market eating because these people got seats. Most of us eat out of a paper box or a plastic bag while walking and browsing.

Do you think you would enjoy something like this?

Typhoon Soudelor in Taipei, Taiwan – PreArrival

image Thursday, 8/6/15 in the Daan District in Taipei, Taiwan

5:40pm on Fridy, 8/7/15, in the Daan District in Taipei, Taiwan

The locals are very nonchalant about the Typhoon.  Around 1pm today, the City officially cancelled work and school for tonight.  No decisions have been made about business and school closings tomorrow. Most people in the City are expecting Soudelor to simply blow over.

Wanderlust Taiwan- Bento Box 府城蘭香便當. Simple and Delicious Taiwanese Food.

This is a local place that serves a limited number of dishes. The fake plastic food look inviting in the windows. The restaurant has a door, new wooden chair and tables, ACs running, and lots of locals dinning in and more taking out the bento boxes. Seems like an easy win so I went in and ordered today’s special – the fried pork chop with rice and vegetables.
The menu! This is why nearly 1.2 billion people or 16% of the world population speak Chinese. All for the food! I had the item that is labeled No 1 in the middle of the picture.
I waited five minutes for my fried piece of pork and it was so worth it. Worthy of every minute. There is tofu, fish cake, and vegetables on top of rice.
These are spicy pickled vegetables with fish. Excellent with the white rice. White rice rules.
This is a help yourself type of place. With each plate, you can gather the spicy pickled veggies, soup, and a small yogurt drink, Duo Duo. A complete meal for one costs less than $3 USD or $80 TWD.

Mind you, it’s not a lot of food. But it’s complete nutritionally speaking and enough calories to keep fit. I notice that I always eat a lot when I first arrive (the amount of the US food intake) and gradually eat less and less (the amount of the Taiwanese food intake). Because I am without a car in Taipei, I walk everywhere. This is a perfect set up to be fit and stay fit. Click here to see Asian’s expectations for fat percentage.

Would I return? Absolutely. This is a win! Cheers to simple and delicious Taiwanese food, especially when someone else cooks it for you. So lucky to spend a month here.

This experience took place at

府城蘭香便當
Address: No. 5號, Chongde St
Xinyi District, Taipei City, Taiwan 110
Phone:+886 2 2738 3778