Field Trip: Paper & Tea 柏林選茶

Information: Paper & Tea| Address: Zhongshan North Road, Section 2, Alley 36, No. 18, Zhongshan District, Taipei, Taiwan| Phone:  02 2523 9860| Hours: 11:00am-9:00 pm| MRT Station: Zhongshan, Red or Green Line| 中山區中山北路二段3618

One of my favorite places in Taipei is the Zhongshan (中山)area.  It’s not as crowded as some areas in Taipei, and there is always something new to discover in the many lanes and alleyways off the main road.  The time, we visited Paper & Tea, which is a combination eatery and homewares shop.

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Field Trip: Afternoon Tea at Humble House, Taipei, La Farfalla 寒舍艾麗 La Farfalla 儀式餐廳下午茶

Information: Humble House Hotel: La Farfalla Italian Restaurant Songao Road, No. 18, 6th Floor, Xinyi District, Taipei, 110|Phone: 02-6631-8060| Website: www.humblehousehotels.com | 寒舍艾麗酒店 台北市 信義區松高路18 號六樓|

Taipei has really taken afternoon tea to a different level.  It’s gotten to a point where it’s no longer acceptable to just have tea, a scone, maybe a slice of cake, and/or a savory.  Instead, afternoon tea in many places actually constitutes an entire meal.  Buffet style!

Please note, some places do afternoon tea poorly.  First, you have to line up in this everlasting queue to just even set foot into the restaurant,  then you have to line up for ages just to get your food.  If that wasn’t enough, you have to go through more undignified jostling to get desserts and coffee afterwards.  The entire experience becomes a “grab what you can, while you can, before someone else gets to it first.” By the time you finish your afternoon tea, you are a grumpy, carb and sugar overloaded mess.

Thankfully, there are some places such as Lar Farfalla, at Humble House  that gets it just right.

Located on the 6th floor of Humble House Hotel, you are transported in to a bright and airy space as soon as you alight from the elevator.

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Field Trip:Second visit to classic Taipei tea house: Cha Cha Thé 采采食茶下午茶時光 (第二訪)

Information: Address: No.23, Lane 219, Sec. 1, Fusing S. Rd., Da-an District, Taipei City 10685, Taiwan | Phone: 02-2781-8289 | Directions: MRT Fuxing Station, Exit 3, Turn right at the first alleyway, walk 6 blocks, turn left before you see 7-11. |台北市復興南路一段219巷23號

Cha Cha Thé in my opinion, is one of the classic tea houses in Taipei.  Whenever I have visitors visiting from overseas, I want to take them here to enjoy some of the most serene and delightful afternoon tea experiences in Taipei. The service is always friendly and accommodating, and the food and tea are flawless.  During this visit, they were preparing for a private dinner event, but they were kind enough to accommodate us anyway.

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The afternoon tea menu changes seasonally, but it’s always lovely to be surprised with different desserts. (you can see the desserts from my first visit here if you like!) 

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Field Trip: ASW Teahouse 永樂市場最平靜的角落

I love Taipei’s fabric district, especially Yong-Le Market.  It’s where I search for fabrics and ribbons for a lot of my projects.   The selection is vast, but there is so much condensed into one area that sometimes you just need a quiet spot for a break.  I found a gem of a teahouse upstairs from the bustling market area, called ASW Tea House, and it’s a perfect place to rest your mind (and feet!).

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ASW Tea House feels like a library. The walls are painted a dark green and there is soft, ambient lighting.

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Hello Hong Kong! My Favorite Foods

During one particularly tedious day at work, a message popped up on my phone saying “Hong Kong, this weekend, yes or no?”   After glancing at the teetering stack of papers on my desk, my first impulse was to say no.  Just then, my office phone rang, and in the process of picking it up, I (accidentally) knocked the entire stack onto the floor.  Right then and there, I took that to be a sign from the universe, and messaged back “YES!”  So that’s how this spontaneous trip to Hong Kong came to be.

It’s not really in my personality to take spur of the moment trips. During my previous trips, I would always make meticulous plans about what to do.  This time, I just went with the flow, and was pleasantly surprised at how most of the trip unfolded.  For this trip, I’ll do a quick series of posts on my favorite eats, and some travel tips I’ve picked up along the way, and what to do if you don’t feel like shopping.

I realized that whenever I go to Hong Kong, I tend to eat a lot of the same things, because I love them, and because they don’t taste the same anywhere else. I’ve included my top 4 food items, and number 5 as a bonus tip.

Number 1: Hong Kong Style Milk Tea 

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Field Trip: Afternoon Tea at TWG (新加坡創立品牌 TWG 微風分店)

Information: TWG Tea at Breeze Breeze Center, GF, No. 39, Sec. 1, Fuxing South Road, Taipei City 105, Taiwan| PH: + 886 2 8772 4519| Opening Hours: Sunday to Wednesday, 11am to 9:30pm, Thursday to Saturday, 11am to 10pm| Please note they do not take reservations. 

Before taking friends to a particular place for afternoon tea, I like to try the places out on my own first, to make sure the atmosphere is right, the service is attentive and the food is scrumptious. I read about TWG’s opening on Vogue Taiwan’s website, and decided to stop in for a quick cup of tea while I was in the neighborhood. TWG (which stands for “”The Wellbeing Group”) is a Singaporean company that specializes in curating teas and tea ware from around the globe. They have locations in the United States, and throughout Asia, and just recently opened up shop in Taiwan. The TWG described in this post is located in the basement level of Breeze Department Store. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it is quite a generous space for afternoon tea. The front of the shop has curved glass windows, the interior is a mixture of yellow, gold, black and dark wood furniture. The chairs are wicker and black velvet and quite comfortable. More importantly, there is plenty of space between the tables, so you can sit and chat without being too distracted by the neighboring tables. The tables have crisp, white table cloths (my favorite!) and crisp napkins to match.

I ordered their afternoon tea set, where you can choose either to have a scones or muffins, or a dessert from their dessert cart, and a pot of tea from their vast selection. The tea selection was about 10 pages long, which is to be expected from a tea specialist.  However, you start to lose your focus a bit after paging through the third or fourth page.  (I find that Smith and Hsu’s hands-on way of selecting from their collection of teas, to be much more user friendly, and entertaining, since tea is much more than a visual process, it’s a tactile and sensory process too) I chose a lemon tart from their dessert display. There were also different tea infused cakes and macarons to choose from, but I had the most desperate craving for lemon tart, so that was my first, only and number one choice.

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Field Trip: A Gift from Taiwan~spending the afternoon at Cha Cha Thé ~ 采采食茶的下午茶時光

My cousin and cousin in-law were in Taiwan for the Chinese New Year holidays a few weeks ago. Since they spend most of their time overseas, I wanted to take them somewhere special for afternoon tea.  The first place that popped into my mind was Cha Cha Thé, a gorgeous modern-day tea house with lovely decor and teas.

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I arrived a few minutes early, and had a chance to really soak in the decor and atmosphere. The luxuriously spacious interior consists of mostly subdued earth tones, combined with soft music, the atmosphere was serene and tranquil. You could easily spend pleasant swathes of time here, either in quiet conversation, or just reading on your own.

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One of the focal points of this room was that there was an entire wall constructed out of bricks of tea. It didn’t smell as fragrant as I imagined it would (yes! I took a quick sniff when I thought no one was looking… Good thing the wall wasn’t made out of chocolate bricks or I would have been seriously tempted to take a bite).

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I have to mention that the staff at Cha Cha Thé are super nice.  They seated me right away, even though I was early and my party at not yet arrived. She also poured me a full glass of water and waited I was sitting comfortably in my chair before placing the menu in front of me. The menu was also beautifully presented~ with a pretty cover and heavy card stock pages and clearly written in both English and Chinese.  There is a selection of teas listed on the menu are: Pekoe Green Tea, Shihchao Jinshuan, Lightly Roasted Oolong, Beipu Oriental Beauty, Dream of Fruit, Roast Tieguanyin, Darjeeling Black Tea, and the option for iced tea is Exquisite Alishan Oolong.

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Field Trip: Afternoon Tea at Smith & Hsu’s

One of my favorite places for afternoon tea in Taipei is at Smith & Hsu’s. Their tea selection is vast, with an eclectic sampling of both local and imported teas.  They also have some of the best scones I’ve ever tasted in Taiwan.  They have several branches in Taipei, and I usually go to the one in the Hankyu Department store, which is one of their smaller sized shops.

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