Goodness me, a week has past and I had no time to produce a single post. That must have been a busy week. Every evening is was flat out tired, and had just enough energy for a family meal, a glass of wine, and bed.
Another Saturday, another chance to prepare some of the photos which I took while on Taiwan for stories on food. I have so much material I do not know where to start. And on Wednesday I am on another busyness trip which will take me to Manila,which has a great cuisine, and Beijing. I guess there are some culinary delights in the making.
Well, but let’s get to Taiwan, to the city of Taoyuan to be precise. The “peach garden city” (that’s the literal translation of the name), alluding to a story of an oath (桃園三結義) being taken amid peach blossoms by three friends (Liu Bei, Guan Yu, and Zhang Fei) and warriors from the Romance of the Three Kingdoms a famous novel written by Luo Guangzhong.
Taoyuan is a rather dull town, clad all in grey of the many concrete walls and high rise buildings. There is little public space and not much green.
However, the more significant seems the attempt of an eatery to built on that particular lack of nature in the town and use it to its own advantage: “Spring Farm” could be such a venture.
It might fall into the category of so called “leisure farms” which are a model to attract city people and offer them a kind of unique experience.
We went there on a rainy Saturday to have lunch after a long morning meeting discussing anthropological research and land tenure questions.
I assume “the farm” was once at the outskirts of the city, and has now been “swallowed up” by urban sprawl.Set up a on a couple of acres of garden land, I would call it, it combines eating with other first hand benefits such as buying health food and ornamental plants from the producer. There is a lot of space around it where kids can play outside.
One of the sales rooms
When you enter, making your way from the car park to the main building, you do not get straight away to the restaurant but you are led through various sales rooms where various processed and dried foods, cookies, cake, bread, rice, oils, vegetables but also soap, fragrances and other odds and ends are on offer.
Shoppers paradise so to speak, all on your way to the dining room. It helps to acquaint you with what to buy on your way our.
Some veggie garden
From the dining room you can see a piece of garden where various vegetables are grown, a banana grove is seen in the back.There are a couple of different dining rooms, an indication that the number of people visiting is very large at times.
One of the dining rooms
Actually we were five people but I have only Prof. Yen Aiching, her son (left side), Prof. James Riddell and myself on this photo.
You order a main dish from the menu and get the entrée from a buffet type structure. here you will find a mix of Asian and European dishes and ingredients, and you can assemble a fusion first course for your meal.
As you can see I went for a healthy appetizer selecting Asian and non-Asian ingredients.My main dish would be salmon which turned out to be very tasty. There were other fish dishes on offer as the one further below cooked on the table in a steam boat.
My main dish
Fish on a steam boat
All in all the food was very good. The quality of the ingredients was excellent. The service very efficient. And the most important, we had a very relaxing time and great conversation over the dinner table. The only thing missing in my view was a good wine list. Instead various chrysanthemum teas were on offer. I guess that grape wine is not that high in demand.
On the way out we inspected the wares on offer which is always very educational. What products do people buy? These and other questions come to mind. Overall I think the concept pays off. Spring Farm tries to make a difference. It provides its customers which a unique experience in the middle of al large city.
Bread as in Germany
The bred counter made my German heart jump. There was so much on offer, amazing. In an Asian context bread has somehow an exotic flavour. In fact some of the creations can be quite surprising including non-traditional bred ingredients (such as green or red bean paste).
Various processed foods
Some dried beans etc.
The green house with ornamental plants
The porcelain dog says good bye (well he does not say that)
We had a great time. In Europe I would not patronize such a place but on Taiwan when all the time in the urban jungle, my soul was longing for some green, some plants, trees and fresh air.
PS: We found the place by searching the internet from a smart phone. Thanks for taking us Prof. Yen.