Posts Tagged ‘Taichung’

finds: new taichung food and art places | part two: z gallery

August 8, 2010

Part two of a three part series of images, in this post you can explore the inside of Z Gallery. The gallery is located in an old covered market that independents are slowly converting into a series of artist spaces and shops.

At the moment there are five establishments nestled under the corrugated iron roof of the market: a contemporary art gallery, an independent film production studio and screening room, what looks like a literary space for writers, a vintage shop and a contemporary photography gallery and studio. The rent is super cheap in the area and because it’s so old, it looks like people can do what they want with their rented spaces. As a side note, the film studio plays screens independently produced short films from around the world every Saturday night. Entry is NT$50 per session.

Currently on display at Z Gallery are contemporary ink works by three Taiwanese artists, Lin Fan-wei, Tsai Yi-ru and Jung Jiang-je. I particularly love the art created by Tsai Yi-run.

Z Gallery.

Z Gallery.

Z Gallery. First floor.

Z Gallery. First floor.

Z Gallery. Window box.

Z Gallery. Window box.

Z Gallery. Third floor.

Z Gallery. Third floor.

Z Gallery. Another window box.

Z Gallery. Another window box.

Z Gallery. The bathroom.

Z Gallery. The bathroom.

Z Gallery.

Z Gallery.

Address: I’m not going to tell you. Part of the fun of this place is trying to hunt it down. I will say, however, that it’s somewhere near the corner of the art museum parkway (beside the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts) and Wuquan Street. Bring a fan with you as the whole place is unbelievably hot in summer.

Read part one of this series
Read part three of this series

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finds: new taichung food and art places | part one: elephant

August 8, 2010

In three parts, I will post a feast of images from two of my current favourite places in Taichung. I’ve taken photos inside an old covered market that has been converted into artist spaces and shops, all independently run, and inside Elephant, an awesome teensy restauant with probably the best (and cheapest) Western-style food in Taichung.

UPDATE | 27 February 2013 This restaurant has moved to a new location. It’s now two stories high(!), but thankfully still has the same great food and hole-in-wall atmosphere. You can find more information, including an address, on their Facebook page.

Elephant has everything from risottos to pastas (including a lot of vegetarian fare) to chips with gravy and cheese to fish and chips (yes!). I finally took J there after “discovering” it with a friend last week. Actually, the restaurant has been around since 1999 so it’s certainly not new to Taichung. However, it’s managed to stay relevant with simple architecture and stunningly cheap and tasty food. All pastas are between NT$80-$100, fish and chips are NT$130, you can get a vege, chicken or lamb kebab for only NT$80-$90, the chips with gravy and cheese are NT$100 and they have beer and a variety of soft drinks to wash it all down.

Elephant, near the corner of ZhongMing South and TaiZhongGang roads.

Elephant, near the corner of ZhongMing South and TaiZhongGang roads.

Chips with cheese and gravy, my newest obsession and only NT$100.

Chips with cheese and gravy, my newest obsession and only NT$100.

Lamb kebab, packed with shredded lamb and tons of veg. Only NT$90.

Lamb kebab, packed with shredded lamb and tons of veg. Only NT$90.

Elephant. The menu.

Elephant. The menu.

Inside Elephant.

Inside Elephant.

Elephant. Wall adornment.

Elephant. Wall adornment.

Elephant. Street-side signage.

Elephant. Street-side signage.

Address: 9-1, ZhongMing S Road, Taichung City.

Read part two of this series
Read part three of this series

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News: JoB is back, but probably still sporadically

July 14, 2010

I’ve been tied up with nearly one million things of late: planning for my impending wedding here in Taiwan, travelling over the mountains on a scooter from Taichung to Hualien and back, editing and writing (well, mostly editing) for Art Radar Asia, writing an article for new Taichung ex-pat mag, Guanxi, and counting down the days until I finish up as an English teacher with Hess.

So, poor old JoB has been completely neglected over the past few months. But, as I recently noticed that people are still actually visiting this space, I’m going to try my darnedest to remedy this by posting short, informative posts on interesting stuff.

Some things to look forward to:

  • A picture feast of adventures over the spine of Taichung on a scooter.
  • A round-up of my articles published on Art Radar Asia recently, including a link to my impending interview with seminal Taiwanese contemporary artist Tsong Pu.
  • A copy/link to my article on comedy group Taichung Improv in the soon-to-be released first issue of Guanxi magazine.
  • Other stuff that I feel like posting on as I see fit.

Lots to stop by for, huh?

Travelling along Taiwan's mountain highway, Highway 14.

Travelling along Taiwan's mountain highway, Highway 14.

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reads: what I read for work

May 11, 2010

I am lucky enough to have to read magazines on Asian art for work. I’m also totally in love National Geographic; I admire both the writing and the photography. Here are my recent purchases:

National Geographic – May 2010
artasiapacific – Issue 68 – May/Jun 2010
C Arts – Volume 12 – February/March 2010

All purchased from this Eslite bookstore.

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write up: the refuge

May 6, 2010

Peace and love is alive and well in Taichung. The city has it’s very own commune complete with militant hippies and music makers, The Refuge.


We visited The Refuge on Sunday, up in the Dakeng mountains, for Scott Cook’s Hobo Happiness, who played with a number of other bands. It started at 2 pm but we got there at about 4 pm. The place is literally a huge old mansion that the current residents took over about 10 years ago. It seems as though it was once a gated community for the rich, but apparently everyone moved out when the big 1999 earthquake struck. There was a lot of damage done to the Dakeng area and people got scared.

The Refuge describe themselves on Facebook as a place that “provides Creative Outlets for both seasoned and budding Artists, Musicians, Bohemians & Truth Seekers to come explore, create and make new connections with others.”

The party was in the backyard, which has it’s own bar and lots of homemade seating and tables. There was a BBQ going on down the back and what looked like the old living room had been made into a stage, open to the backyard. There weren’t too many people there when we arrived and we managed to find a great posy in the trees near the bar. It was a beautiful warm day, perfect for drinking beer in dappled shade and chilling to some rocky blues.

We stayed for a couple of hours, leaving when the music changed from blues to country western. Country music is really not my thing and I gave it a go but ended up having to depart to preserve my ears and dignity. I’ll be keeping an eye out for other chilled Sunday events at this place. Generally I vie away from such 60s revival scenes, but I’ve decided this place will have to be an exception to my rule.

The Refuge hosts a ton of events throughout the year and also organises a number of festivals at other locations. Keep an eye on their Facebook page. Contact them here for address details.

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write up: kiwi kafe is choice

May 3, 2010

I was skeptical when I read about Kiwi Kafe and Angel’s Kitchen. Skeptical because I didn’t believe it could really feel Kiwi.

Long ago, once upon a 2009 Christmas, I gave Jonny a hand-made gift voucher with which I promised to take him to Angel’s Kitchen, the fine dining half of the two restaurants.

So, we went on Saturday night. You have to book in advance and decide what kind of main you would like. Then the rest of the meal is tailored to your preferences. Angel, the chief and owner, hand-designs the menu which you can take home as a souvenir.

The entrees included homemade bread and dips, a seafood chowder and a seafood salad with fresh fruit and a huge, top quality scallop.

I had a main of dukkah coated NZ lamb while my boyfriend had the white fish. The lamb was amazingly tender, but the fish was a little dry on the outside.

For desert, we were treated to a richly chocolate slice of cake and a hand constructed almond wafer with apricot Haagen Dazs ice cream.

We were nearly the only ones in the tiny upstairs seating area. The service was wonderful; our waiter was warm and attentive, answering our questions about the food, although he was a little nervous about having to speak English.

We meet with owner, Angel, after our meal and had a good chat. She spent 15 years in Chirstchurch, in the South Island of New Zealand, where she studied cookery, and was more than thrilled to meet some fellow Kiwis. It’s obvious she misses the place.

Altogether, the meal cost us NT$2,200. Not bad for such high quality food coupled with a jovial and relaxed atmosphere. Dining at Angel’s Kitchen is by phone appointment only.

And, just to make it even more special, my boyfriend of eight years surprised me with a proposal. Yes, I’m engaged. Ah! He presented me with a ring taken from a key ring. A friend in Australia, who works for this art gallery, will get a ring designed for us. I am a very lucky lady.

The downstairs Kiwi Kafe is open during the day, for breakfast, lunch and snacks. It has been decorated by the owner and is immactulate. Much of her produce comes from New Zealand and her paninis are only just over NT$70. You can visit every day of the week bar Thursday.

And yes, it really, really feels Kiwi. In fact, it made me more than a little homesick.

Kiwi Kafe and Angel’s Kitchen
Taichung: 471 XingAn Road, Section 2 (興安路2段471號)
(04) 2243-7171

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baking teensy: edition 6 (the NZ lolly cake disaster)

April 30, 2010

Well, my streak of bad luck seems to be never-ending. I should have known from the beginning that my attempt at participating in an extracurricular activity would be thwarted. I have never really had much success with group activities.

You know how I wrote here about making some sweet NZ treats to sell today at the International Food Festival at Feng Chia University?

Well, I decided to only make lolly cake. I asked a creatively inclined friend and fellow teacher to draw a cutesy border on a piece of paper within which I was going to print the recipe to give out with each piece of cake sold.

I bought all the ingredients from Jasons. I couldn’t find Malt Biscuits so used Digestives. I also couldn’t find anything like eskimos so I used some tiny marshmallows my mum sent me from NZ and some soft jelly lollies. It’s pretty easy to make, you just put everything in a big bowl and stir it together.

With very sticky hands, I made the mixture into a log shape and rolled it in the coconut flakes. I covered it in plastic wrap and went to put it in the fridge. The fridge didn’t seem very cold, though. Then, I looked in the freezer. Everything was melted: the ice in its trays, the (no longer frozen) peas, the ice cream…

Our fridge had broken down.

So, at 11.30 pm at night, we had to throw out all of our food, of which we had a lot, and it meant that I couldn’t set the lolly cake. I admit to shedding a tear or two over the incident. I’m really not good at dealing with disappointment.

In a desperate attempt to salvage the situation I decided to place the lolly cake (not)-to-be in the freezer which was still a little cold. I left a quickly softening ice pad (the blue thing in the picture below) in there to see if that would keep it cool. It didn’t. Don’t you think the cake looks like a giant poo?

I went to bed, hoping for no nightmares of being crushed by giant lolly cake logs.

When I woke, I checked on the cake. Not set, still squishy. It’s now in the bin.

So, with my hopes dashed, I went to the food festival anyway, expecting to be cheered by the sites and smells (and purchases) of global flavours. However, the event which I thought began at 10 am actually didn’t start until 12 pm. I had to leave at 12 pm for a Skype meeting at one.

Was today a good day? No sir, it was not. I am now waiting for the electrician to arrive to fix the fridge. Our land agent promised one would be here before 4 pm. It is now 3:44 pm.

Does any one else have any group activity nightmares they want to share? If so, post a comment. It might make me feel better to bask in other people’s failed attempts at participating in extracurricular activities.

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JoB likes: MOVING HOUSE

April 6, 2010

While nearly everyone I know was at Spring Scream this weekend, I moved house. Moving house in Taiwan is so easy compared with back home. Where it would take a week to get your internet hooked up in New Zealand, in Taiwan you move in and two hours later a lovely man from a local internet company is there with a ton of cables. A most lovely friend found a truck for us and a kindly gentlemen to drive it and it only took one truckload to haul our stuff from one place to the other. So overall, the move was painless.

Here’s some pics I took of the apartment. Still got lots of work to do but the main stuff is done.

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write up: match cafe

March 26, 2010

Today, my lovely friend and work colleague introduced me to Match Cafe, a comfortable and  eatery near the corner of TaiZhongGang Road and Wenxin Road here in Taichung.

The cafe is full of designerly ambience: the book shelves are filled with literature on design (and other topics) which you can browse while you sip. You can also browse a number of different hand-designed/made items for sale, from stationery and clothing to biscotti and computer accessories.

There is an English menu with a small but satisfactory selection of bagels, sandwiches and sweet things, and an extensive selection of coffees, chocolate drinks, juices and teas. I had a smoked salmon sandwich with lettuce, tomato and mustard on brown walnut bread. Yum. The hot chocolate was more than decent, too.

My friend likes to visit the store because of the free wireless internet access. The shop apparently has a meeting for Mac users once a week, I can’t remember which day though and I think you’d need to speak Chinese or go along with someone who can.

I recommend you try it out. It’s one of the best cafes I’ve had the privilege to relax in here in Taichung. So thank you lovely friend and work colleague – you know who you are!

Match Cafe, 60-3, TaiZhongGang Road, Sec. 2, Taichung City

http://www.match-cafe.com/

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critique: is taichung soulless?

March 22, 2010

Can we really say that Taichung is a soulless city? Well, I kinda think yes.

A recent article is doing the rounds of all the English language newspapers in Taiwan. It discusses the possibility that Taichung is a soulless city, a city searching for it’s identity. After having lived here for a year, I must say that I think it is. It seems that there was once potential for it to become a culturally active city, but I feel that it has let those opportunities pass, or hasn’t promoted what it already has.

Stock 20

Being an inland, centrally positioned city often has its disadvantages and Taichung is not quite near the coast and not quite near the mountains. While the Dakeng Scenic Area is only a short scooter drive from Taichung’s Beitun District and is a really nice hiking trail area, the coastal areas near Taichung Port are underdeveloped and lacking promotion. In the same regard, central Taichung (the area around Taichung Train Station) has fallen into disrepair: “it would take at least five to six years to complete urban regeneration of the downtown area, the city’s earliest developed region which has lost its luster after business activities had moved elsewhere as Taichung developed into a multi-core city.”

Art Street

The article in the China Post goes into more detail regarding the past, present and future-planned developments of Taichung so I’ll let you read it for yourself here.

There are really only a handful of great places to eat, drink, view art and listen to music but overall, I feel there is a slim picking of cultural events, particularly public cultural events, to choose from each year. Perhaps I feel this way because I can’t access information in Chinese but I feel that after living here for a year and a bit I would know about at least the big events.

Sunday movies at Cat Lair

Of course, I don’t think the city is completely without soul. Here’s a quick list of my cultural, soul-growing spots and events:

Cat Lair (I just discovered that on Sundays they play movies outdoors just after the sun sets)
Stock 20
National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts
Art Street – particularly the shop Hukurou
Taiyuan Flea Market
Taichung Jazz Festival
Taichung International Food and Music Festival

Let me know if you know of any other eateries, bars, galleries or events by leaving a comment. I’d LOVE to learn more about the city. Prove Taichung’s soul to me!

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