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ESCAPE

WILD FOOD

Pakelang Boat House

962 Changbin Township, Taitung County

Yes, it looks like a boat and owner chef Chan

Lah is a true hunter/gatherer, taking his daily

catch and supplementing it with produce from

his garden and the local market (

above

). He

creates a daily degustation menu entirely from

local ingredients which tastes fabulous and is

exquisitely presented as though styled for a

photo shoot.

CIFADAHAN CAFÉ

16 Lane 62, Daquan St, Daquan Village,

Guangfu Township, Hualien County

The restaurant is decorated with carvings

created by the owner/chef and the large

dishes, often featuring freshwater fish and wild

vegetables, come to the table ready to share.

The traditional Ami hot pot, brought to the

boil with fire-heated stones, is a highlight. It’s

a chance to try local foods such as fern tops,

pigeon peas, pumpkin leaves, chayote, Chinese

onion, miscanthus hearts and hyacinth beans.

Silks Palace

221 Section 2, Zhishan Rd, Shilin District,

Taipei City

First, wonder at the beauty and creativity of

Taiwan’s national treasures in the National

Palace Museum and then head next door to

eat them! The chefs at Silks Palace spend

hours painstakingly recreating imitations of the

revered Meat Stone, Jadeite Cabbage and Ting

Cauldron, with a curio cabinet full of sweet

‘ornaments’ for dessert.

Modern Toilet

2F, No 7 Ln 50, Xining S. Rd, Taipei City

This restaurant has a toilet/bathroom theme so

you sit on toilet seats and eat off a glass-covered

bathtub. Curries (

above

) and hot pots arrive in

toilet bowl-shaped porcelain containers, drinks

are served in variations of urinals and ice cream

comes out looking like soft serve poo. The food

selection is not so unusual and includes family-

friendly pasta, chips and nuggets. Strangely

there’s not an upright western-style toilet in the

actual bathroom, only Asian-style squat versions.

A-Jiang is a member of the Tsou tribe and spent his childhood with

his parents cultivating their land. Twenty years ago he left his job as

a boat builder and returned with his wife to Lalauya (or Leye), their

home village in Alishan, only to find it destroyed by Typhoon Herb.

They rebuilt on a new site using A-Jiang’s boat builder woodworking

skills to create a collection of buildings made of wood, bamboo, stone

and grass to recreate the warmth, happiness

and harmony of their former village.

Rested and well fed, our journey

continued as we followed the Mihu Trail

(an easy 2.3km), walking through a tall

bamboo forest and listening to the relaxing

sound of the babbling river as we crossed

the Lemi Suspension Bridge onto the

Fushan Ancient Trail. It’s a coffee growing

area and we made a welcome stop at a

local coffee house to sample a local brew

sweetened with honey and admired the

orchids growing close by.

One of the highlights of any visit to

Alishan is the chance to see a sunrise from

Jade Mountain, known as the ‘Roof of

Taiwan’ with its peak at 3952 metres. To

see such a spectacle requires a very early, pre-dawn start to the day

but the effort is rewarded by panoramic views of the surrounding

mountain tops dipped in cloud.

From the peak, we took a ride through the lush green mountains on

the Alishan Mountain Railway train to Zhushan and walked along the

Tashan Trail through the picturesque Alishan Forest Recreation Area.

On the trail we came upon a heart-shaped tree and two lakes known as

the Sister Lakes (or Jiemei Lakes) which, according to local legend, is

the site of a tragic end to the story of two sisters who fell in love with

the same boy. It’s a sad story but the pagoda on the lake is a pretty and

contemplative spot to stop and enjoy the reflections.

The narrow gorge

road makes for a

white-knuckle ride

for anyone game to

navigate its twisty

turns and rock arches

carved from marble

Road hugging Taroko Gorge cliffs

Tea plantation on the trail

18

| BNE July/August 2016