There are a number of characteristic stores around the Guangfu S. Rd. area where Pacific Business Hotel is located. From time to time, you might want to just relax and put aside the work on hand―visit some of the characteristic stores recommended by “Class B of Guangfu S. Rd.” and begin a one of a kind city tour. The rear section of Guangfu S. Rd. is in fact curved, and no elegant western-style old buildings or casual, graceful street views are to be found here. This is where old and new blend, where residential area is larger than commercial area, where you might walk to the end of an alley and thought, OK, that was it; only to find another exquisite little shop right in front of you after turning the corner.
This area, including Guangfu S. Rd., Yixian Rd. and Yanji St., is not far from Xinyi Commercial District. The magnificent view of Taipei 101 is in sight day and night. All you have to do is relax. Cafes, bars, juice shops, stores selling leather goods and daily appliances…a variety of shops and stores are gathering within this area; they call themselves “Class B of Guangfu S. Rd.”.
A Moment of Leisure in the Summer Afternoon
A Journey into Healing―Handmade Metalsmith Goods: Everyday is a Gift
Located on the second floor, Everyday is a Gift is easily missed by bypassers who aren’t paying close attention to finding the address. The two owners were both born in the 1990’s; they met in high school and kept in touch ever since, all the way into their adulthood. They attended metalsmith classes together, learning how to make silverware jewelries, and then finally decided to open their own store.
They provide their customers with not only finished products for sale, but also an opportunity to make one’s own metalsmith craft art (advance reservation required). This is why Jia-Hong Chen described it as “a store full of surprises”. Although it is quite risky opening the shop on second floor, the owner explained that the roomy indoor space along with the view of greenery outside the window were the two main reasons that they chose this spot. In fact, the natural light and window view of greenery are indeed attracting people revisiting the shop over and over again. It is amazing how happy we would feel when seeing every day as a present granted to us, and when putting our feelings and love into the artwork we created.
Everyday is a Gift―Facebook Page
Location: 2F., No.465-1, Guangfu S. Rd., Xinyi Dist., Taipei City 110
2 minutes’ walk from Pacific Business Hotel (170m)
Look Out for the Surfboard: Just Like Southern Beach―Dawn Surf & Co. Cafe
Pan, who worked in a bar for years, and Mi, who had years of experience working in cafes, had decided to combine their specialty and interest and open Dawn Surf & Co. Café, a place full of southern charm. The Café then became a favorite spot where Kao, a local, loves to hang out regularly.
Two surfboards were stacked on the beam above the bar; photos taken at the beach were used to decorate the wall. Though this is a café, Dawn Surf & Co. still found a way to make great use of Pan’s professional bartending skills. Their menu contains a classic drink: a non-alcoholic version Mojito; which is amazing in appearance as well as in taste. Finish the drink in one gulp, and enjoy the magnificent sensation it brings along.
Visiting Dawn Surf & Co. somehow resembles the experience of reading casually at seaside, or even just relaxing and doing nothing particular―which is also the unique charm of the beach.
Dawn Surf & Co. Cafe―Facebook Page
Location: No. 76, Ln. 419, Guangfu S. Rd., Xinyi Dist., Taipei City 110
7 minutes’ walk from Pacific Business Hotel (600m)
Imagining Yourself Drinking in Italy―Assaporando Bar Italiano
Assaporando Bar Italian is a peculiar place. It is both a restaurant and a bar. “Whenever an Italian moves to a new place, the first thing he or she would do is to find out where the nearest bar is. Go to the local bar, and they would offer help to provide you with resources you need in daily life. An Italian bar is more than alcohol and food; it is a public social place in the community;” explained Nelson, manager of Assaporando Bar Italian.
Different from other restaurants, the opening hours of Assaporando Bar Italian is 2 pm to 1 am. Besides, they encourage the idea of “eating slow”. Italians, while often showing low efficiency at work, care a great deal about the fun in life and food. One of the special forte of Assaporando Bar Italian is having more than 50 kinds of Grappa―a grape-based, fragrant pomace brandy of Northern Italian origin. Not as spicy and strong as whisky, Grappa has alcohol by volume around 37-43 percent, and shows a note of fruity fragrance.
Assaporando Bar Italian―Facebook Page
Location: No. 259, Yanji St., Da’an Dist., Taipei City 106 GoogleMap
3 minutes’ walk from Pacific Business Hotel (250m)
Walking into the Time Tunnel: Old House & Curry―Torarakuya-Taipei
It’s hard to describe the atmosphere one can feel upon visiting Torarakuya―a restaurant only serving curry; it gives a sense of paradise even before you step inside, as if your mind is travelling through time. As Jia-Hong Chen pointed out, the space in Torarakuya presents a kind of retro atmosphere resembling movie scenes; this also makes the food they serve to bring extra comforting and cozy feelings to the diners.
The curry on Torarakuya’s menu is a recipe the owner Kao learned from his mother. Throughout his childhood, there was always a pot of curry at home ready for him, recalled Kao; and the cold curry with rice became the irreplaceable delicacy embedded in his memory.
Apart from the curry, Torarakuya also serve amazing drinks. Gunpowder Milk Tea is named because of the smoked black tea used to make the drink; it has a rich and fragrant taste. And their Special Blend Coffee contains kumquat lemon juice and plum wine; the taste is sour and sweet with a note of slight bitterness, a flavor you could only experience here.
Under the warm, dim, cozy light, with a plate of curry and a glass of drink, the atmosphere inside Torarakuya’s narrow dining space creates not tension but intimacy between the diners.
Location: No. 294, Yanji St., Da’an Dist., Taipei City 106 GoogleMap
2 minutes’ walk from Pacific Business Hotel (120m)
The Memory of Military dependents' village: Spicy Hot Pot and Unforgettable Egg Dumplings―Wu’s Sichuan Hot Pot
The owner Jun-Hao Wu’s grandmother is from Sichuan; he and his parents wish to preserve the amazing recipe of hers, and this Sichuan hot pot restaurant, which passed on for three generations in the family, was thus opened.
Speaking of Sichuan hot pot, the stock of the soup and the meat are the two crucial keys to its quality. Wu’s Sichuan Hot Pot carefully selects Sichuan Da Hong Pao chili and ghost chili as base, and uses Taiwan’s facing heaven chili to bring out the flavor; this way, both the spiciness and the fragrant of the dish may be preserved. Meat such as marbled beef, chuck flap beef and boneless short ribs are all USDA Prime grade. Nevertheless, what you really don’t want to miss out in Wu’s Sichuan Hot Pot, is something that usually draws no attention on the dining table: egg dumplings.
The egg dumplings Wu’s Sichuan Hot Pot serves are made one by one by hand, starting from heating whisked eggs on the bottom of the pot. Pork fillings are wrapped inside the eggs, giving a rich taste. Besides, handmade Sichuan meatballs are also very popular. Moreover, no sauces/seasonings that are often seen in general hot pot restaurants―such as Sha cha sauce, white sugar and peanut powder―are provided here in Wu’s Sichuan Hot Pot; the only dipping sauce may be found here is chopped green onions with white vinegar. This is to allow the diners taste the original flavor of food while also toning down the heat when the hot pot is too spicy. How could you not love dining here?
Wu’s Sichuan Hot Pot―Facebook Page
Location: 1F., No.8, Aly. 61, Ln. 39, Tonghua St., Da’an Dist., Taipei City 106 GoogleMap
4 minutes’ walk from Pacific Business Hotel (250m)
Bistro & Bike: Secret Base for Fellow Bike Lovers―Taste by Sense 30
Turning into Lane 447 of Guangfu S. Rd., passing by the laundromat, pharmacy and neighborhood watch station and all the way to the end of the lane―there stands Taste by Sense 30, a glimpse of dim light shimmering from the window.
Multiple bike holders are provided inside the bistro; even bikers visiting alone would have no problem parking his or her bike indoors. What’s more is the B1 basement that only opens on weekends. It is a space of approximately 16.5 m2, providing professional bartending; and since it’s downstairs where noise wouldn’t be leaking out, the basement is opened till 2:00 am on weekends, making it a perfect place to be for night owls.
Taste by Sense 30―Facebook Page
Location: No. 447-48, Guangfu S. Rd., Xinyi Dist., Taipei City 110 GoogleMap
5 minutes’ walk from Pacific Business Hotel (400m)
Unofficial Meeting with a Psychiatrist―Digout Bar & I Caffe
The “Class B of Guangfu S. Rd.” stores are *in between of two districts. And once you visit the area, you would find that there are surprisingly a number of places for you to just relax and have a drink. Here’s how Digout introduced themselves on their Facebook page: “a place where you would visit anytime in life; when you are happy, when you are sad; when you are exhausted, when you are down; when you broke up, when you engaged; when you’d been to a wedding, or a funeral.” This is the words from the novel The Tender Bar.
As a café on Xinyi Rd., Digout’s opening hours is from 8 am to 6pm. And then it opens once again at 7:30 pm, now a bar that could dig out all the emotional burdens on your heart―this is why it is called “Digout” in the first place.
The bartender is, in some way, very much like a psychiatrist. Every person walking into the bar has his or her own story to tell. The bartender listens quietly, interfering not with words or medicine, but various drinks with different texture, flavor and taste to heal human’s hearts. Wayne, having over 10 years of experience as a bartender, is the life of Digout. He believes that bartending is more than providing delicious drinks; it is about listening and healing, about helping the customers to release pressure and emotional burden.
Wayne majored in psychology back in college; perhaps it is this background and a long time of observation in the bar that allowed him to create one after another amazing drinks with healing powers.
Digout Bar & I Caffe―Facebook Page
Location: No.307, Sec. 4, Xinyi Rd., Da’an Dist., Taipei City 106 GoogleMap
4 minutes’ walk from Pacific Business Hotel (270m)
Drinking and relaxing in the Lounge―Alphadog Craft Beer
Different from general beer houses and bars that are usually crowded and dimmed, Alphadog has a roomy interior space of approximately 100 m2; there are plenty spaces between each table, and the cozy atmosphere is everywhere in the air, no matter you are sitting at the window or sofa seats or even the large table for 6-8. The interior design resembles more of a light meal restaurant than a beer bar. Jia-Hong Chen admitted that his stereotypical idea of beers being bitter in taste had changed overwhelmingly after visiting Alphadog, learning a lot more about beer.
There are more than 200 choices of beers provided in Alphadog. This summer, their special forte is craft beer. Are you an Alphadog looking to have your emotions and feelings altered after a long day’s work? Visit Alphadog and relieve the emotional burden on your mind, let your pressure in life disappear with the beer bubbles in your glass!
Alphadog Craft Beer ―Facebook Page
Location: No. 270, Yanji St., Da’an Dist., Taipei City 106 GoogleMap
2 minutes’ walk from Pacific Business Hotel (170m)
Article from: Business Today (No. 1015) / Food Journal in the Alleys―A Guide to the rear section of Guangfu S. Rd.
Photos by Kun-Long Wu