Monday, March 8, 2010

Traditional Taiwanese tea house 無為草堂, 台中

A wonderful afternoon in a Taiwanese tea house

My first visit of my dear friend Cherry in Taichung couldn't have started better. She invited me to a traditional Taiwanese tea house named 無為草堂 (Wu Wei Cao Tang), which was an unique sensory experience for me, something I haven't experienced before on my previous trips. And since I am always interested in Chinese traditions, architecture, culinary delights and tea, I couldn't be happier.

By entering a gate our journey has begun.

The main gate of 無為草堂.

We crossed a lovely small creek upon entering.

A marvelous image delighted our eyes: A pond with Japanese koi fish.

Like in the old days, except it's in the middle of a big city. 無為草堂 (wú wèi cǎo táng) is hard to translate, it means something like "Thatched cottage of leisure". A place to relax, enjoy some tea, food and good company.

You can choose a small room for yourself. We sat on the floor, it was made of tatami.

I ordered smoked duck, that came with rice, vegetables and a soup. It was delicious.

Cherry ordered grilled salmon with rice, vegetables and soup.

The view from our room was soothing and relaxing.

Another lovely sight of the wooden pathway.

We ordered the traditional Taiwanese tea and a girl showed us the old Taiwanese tea ceremony. It is called the Kung fu tea ceremony [工夫茶道] and you can read about all its details here. The tea we had was called Alishan Oolong [阿里山烏龍茶]. Oolong is somewhere between green and black tea, but it tasted more like a green tea to me. Cherry ordered the mild version, but the flavor was still intense, but not too strong. It was perfectly enjoyable for my taste buds, but that's because I like mild teas.

Taiwanese tea is really one of the best in the world! You don't only hear that from Taiwanese, but many Chinese from the mainland and even Japanese come to Taiwan to enjoy the incredible tea and they would confirm that statement. And so would I. On the photo above you can see informational sheets about how to make the Taiwanese tea the proper way, both in Chinese and English.

My lovely friend Cherry was in charge of the tea, after the girl left. And she did a great job: the tea tasted superbly good and we enjoyed it to the last sip. Cherry was a great host, guide and driver around the wonderful city Taichung (more about our day here).

A nice room for you. Do you want to come?

The inner yard with the pond. The fish were very lively.

The pathway. We were walking around the whole facility.

Koi fish. They're said to be very expensive.

We saw a room, that displayed old Chinese furniture.

This is another room on the other side. But our small tour came to an end here. We soon left the tea house, but we could stay there for hours. If you have the time and chance, I highly recommend you to experience this wonderful and peaceful place, even if it's just for tasting the tea. But be sure you have great company with you, the tea will taste so much better.

All together, the food (both dishes) and the tea for two people, cost around 650TWD, which is around 15€ (or 20USD or 68RM). Not expensive for Western standards. I must mention that Cherry treated me the whole time and would not allow me to pay for anything. I feel very appreciated by that. Thank you again, my friend!

Address of the restaurant:


106, Kung (or Gong) Yi Road,
section 2, Taichung

[Taichung][Taiwan][All photos by MKL, 2010]

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