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Saturday, July 2, 2016

Taiwan Trip - Yonshin Tea & Cake Selection Bar

Located a one corner of the street in Gaoxiong, Yonshin Tea & Cake Selection Bar opted for a vintage concept for its interior. Another photoshoot place for those who likes to take vintage looking photos. Walking into the bar,  I felt that I was transported to another timeline, probably the 50s and I was mesmerized by this.
Some kind of old radio I guess. 
This radio was placed like it was meant to be there. I'm guessing its a radio, kinda forgot to ask. *haha* The place is warm and welcoming, just like a cafe, where I would love to chill and read a book to spend my afternoon or hang out with my friends. Instead of a cafe, this place serves tea, hot brewed and cold brewed tea. Cold brewed tea? Not literally hot tea with ice but prepared with 5 degrees water and placed in the fridge for 8-24 hours, depending on which kind of tea.
6 cold tea selections, available for take away too! 
Something different from what I usually drink in Singapore, I don't remember we have such cold brew tea, apart from getting my cold tea fix of Oolong from MUJI *haha*. 
Preparation counter, look at those tins of tea leaves.
Since cold brew tea is something different, I got a chance to try out their cold brew tea, served in wine glasses. As mentioned by the boss, to serve in wine glass is to bring out the taste of the tea, the fragrance and the colour.
The only decent photo I have with the tea wine glass. 
Had a chance to taste a few different teas and I think the one I like the most, and by far most, favorite of most ladies (according to the 店长) is the Hualian Honey Aroma Black Tea (花莲蜜香红茶). It has the light flowery smell yet not too strong on the taste.
Up close of the 6 Cold Brewed Tea that they have in store. 
Besides just tea and cakes and pineapple tarts, they also serve main courses! Their food isn't really westernised but retaining a little Taiwanese style and steering a little towards Japanese in taste and style. You can have a cold brewed tea first before meal and order hot brewed tea after meal, as suggested by the boss. Worth the try to spend a few hours there drinking and having meals, while catching up with life.

I even ate Rice Noodle Soup with Squid Taiwanese Style (小卷米粉汤), the taste of the soup overpowers the fact that I hate Rice Noodles. [Ok, besides the soup that was really nice, but because the boss was just standing there, it wasn't nice to say no to others who had already prepared a small bowl for me]
Rice Noodle Soup with Squid Taiwanese Style (小卷米粉汤)
Handmade Dumplings with Sesame Dressing
Pan Fried Sea Bass Filet with Rice. Credits:周杰克.
These were some of the dishes we had that day. I think my favorite of all the dishes I had there was the Stewed Pork Ball in Brown Sauce (I kinda forgot to take photos before I ate them) and the Onsen egg that appeared in nearly every dish (haha, who can resist eggs?!). 

Their bottles for takeaway cold brewed teas are pretty too~~~ And if you are planning to be there for a short stay, bringing the bottles back to them you are entitled to 10TWD off your next purchase.
Look how pretty the label is. I know, I know, I'm a sucker for such stuff. 
More photos to spam on the vintage place. 
One cozy corner to take photos. I think at least 5 people took their photos in that position. 
The busy staffs behind the counter. 
Some of the little souvenirs you can get. 
Before I end this post, after all the lovely little vintage details, tea and food......
Notice the word TEA in the middle?
I didn't notice the word TEA in the middle of the Chinese word 鳳 until the store manager pointed it out. What a clever design, combining the 鳳茶 in one word.

Address of 永心鳳茶 Yonshin Tea & Cake Selection Bar:
No. 404, Jhong Shan 2nd Rd., Lingya District, Kaohsiung City, Kaohsiung City 802, Taiwan
苓雅區中山二路404號, Kaohsiung, Taiwan 802

Tel: +886 7 536 2718
Official facebook: https://www.facebook.com/yonshintea/

Taiwan Trip - CHATEAU de CHINE, Muslim-Friendly.

Continuing from my last post Taiwan Trip - Smokey Joe's Apartment Hotel (冒煙的喬_就是公寓旅店), I had a chance to visit CHATEAU de CHINE Hotel, not to stay there, but to try out their muslim-friendly meal. In a Chinese populated country, it is hard to find muslim-friendly restaurant or eatery. Perhaps there are more in Taipei, but it is definitely harder to find in Gaoxiong. At CHATEAU de CHINE Hotel, they are certified as Muslim-Friendly restaurant.
Cert is shown in the private dining room itself. 
However, advanced reservation is required with a min. booking for 8 pax as they will only get the ingredients after they get a reservation to get the freshest halal ingredients for their customers. 

Two of their private dining rooms are available for booking for halal meals and they have a separate kitchen just to prepare muslim meals. When the kitchen is not in used for halal meals, they will only use it to prepare fruits. Their cutlery used for muslim-friendly meals are properly cleansed. I had the chance to try their 7 course meal, which was booked in advanced, as I traveled with a tour, thanks to Taiwan's Ministry of Economic Affairs, Department of Commerce.

Seasonal Vegetable with Red and Green Peppers in Mustard Sauce. Credits: 周杰克
A rather unique combination of vegetables, which I don't think I've ever ate it locally. Because of the light mustard sauce, the dish tasted a little sour-ish. I like the crunchy lotus slices and qq mushrooms. 
Pan Fried Sea Bass Filet. Credits: 周杰克
Roasted Vegetable Rice with Broth. Credits: 周杰克
At first I thought it was gonna taste like fried rice, the vegetarian version. But it didn't, this rice tasted a out of expectation. It had a little salty light taste, well blended with the vegetables. A good dish to have after so much meat.
Sautéed fresh prawns with mayonnaise & fruit. Credits: 周杰克
My favorite dish for the meal. The prawns are fresh and the mayonnaise did not over power the freshness of the prawns. The taste was well-balanced and it was so nice that I ate someone else's prawns while they were not looking. (Okay, I was kidding, they offered me)
Stir Fried Dice Beef with Sliced Garlic. Credits: 周杰克
Can't take beef, however, their beef are purchased from New Zealand. Verdict from the rest, well-cooked and tender.
Sweet Taro and Saga Soup. Credits: 周杰克
The soup is something different from what I usually have, this is rather thin in texture, quite refreshing as a ending dessert, before fruits were served. Not much of the Taro was tasted, probably because the saga is sweeter.

Overall the meal was fulfilling and full of surprise for me. Even though it was a halal meal, the presentation and taste overall was still Chinese in style :). Something worth the shot to try if you are in Gaoxiong.

Address of CHATEAU de CHINE:
No.43, Daren Rd., Yancheng Dist., Kaohsiung City 80341, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
80341高雄市鹽埕區大仁路43號

Tel: +886-7-521-7388
Fax: +886-7-521-7068
Call to make a reservation: (07)521-3899
Official website: http://kaohsiung.chateaudechine.com/

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Taiwan Trip - Smokey Joe's Apartment Hotel (冒煙的喬_就是公寓旅店)

Got the chance to visit Smokey Joe's Apartment Hotel (冒煙的喬_就是公寓旅店) at Gaoxiong during this trip and I was glad that we had two nights there. This Hotel is gorgeous and I love their design concept. Rather quirky and having the Texas feel in the middle of Gaoxiong.

When i walked it, I was greet by a lovely vintage turquoise car and the day we checked it, it was pretty late. I had the opportunity to see the lovely balloons lighting up the lobby in their brightest colours. I was awed away by the scene that I didn't want to go up to my room yet. *haha* But little did I know, my room was another wonderful little cozy area for photos too.
I love how the lights shines during the night. 
After playing around at the lobby, I finally lug my luggage up to my room, the double room. I was welcomed with a lovely pinkish room with a little western taste. I loved every single details in the room. The side lamp is actually in a shape of the tap, the dressing table is lovely though the mirror was a little too far for my liking but it is spacious enough for me.
I can sleep without worries when I have three animal heads looking over me 
The other side of the room, please pardon my luggage and the bags. 
They have like super cute toilettes too! It's like they branded everything to match the style of the hotel, with a little tint of cozy and cuteness in the little details of the room. Even the bath mat has the hotel logo, though I didnt take any photos, because I only realised after getting out of the shower *haha*.
Look at how cute the labels of each package are! Credit: 周杰克.  
Whoever is the designer has pretty much done a decent job to design each product here. Credit: 周杰克 
I had the chance to visit two other sizes room, that's the Quad Room and the Balcony Quad Room.
Quad Room, with two queen size bed. Credit: 周杰克
This room is a combination of English and British style, the posters in each room are randomly choose to be placed. BTW the toilet door is pretty cool too! It's a slide door which has metal poles as part of their design. Rather unique but heavy when i tried to close it.
Small cozy corner.
The sofa area, even the sofa is uniquely designed. And that's the staff from the Apartment Hotel. 
The Balcony Quad Room is a great room to book if you have kids and wants them to have some entertainment while you slip the tea/coffee complementary from the hotel. Or you want to have a home feel when you check into the hotel with your friends/ family, this is the room to book for. It is spacious enough to rest after a long day out on your trip.
The spacious living room
The living room is well equipped with a table hockey, lovely vintage sofa set and a vintage fridge. 
The table hockey that you can enjoy when you are back in the room. Credit: 周杰克 
There's a mini balcony to look out to the lovely view to relax after a long day out when you don't feel like staying in your room. The bedroom is exactly like the Quad Room, well-equipped with two cozy queen beds and a lovely armchair. 

Each room is labeled with an alphabet and room number. Using 24 letters out of the 26 standard letters, each label is well-designed, hand crafted too. As mentioned by the boss, the unit numbers are made up with screws, slowly done by the staffs. Bravos to them to do such a great job. I stayed at Room Z and here's a N for you guys. 
Each letter will light up when there are occupants inside the room. 
Since there are only 24 rooms, give it a try and guess which two alphabets are omit from their list (hehe).

If you are planning to visit Gaoxiong, do consider their hotel, if you like something western and a little vintage touch. 

Address of Smokey Joe's Apartment Hotel: 
91 Wufu 4th Rd Yancheng Dist Kaohsiung City 803, Taiwan
80344 台灣高雄市鹽埕區五福四路91號

Tel: 07-5210987
Fax: 07-5215688
Email to make a reservation: sjh-yc@smokeyjoes-hotel.com.tw
Official website: http://www.smokeyjoes-hotel.com.tw

Price: 
Double Room - TWD5,000
Quad Room - TWD8,000
Balcony Quad Room - TWD10,000