In recent years, Taipei has started on a path of artistic development. One example, Huashan 1914, is a shining beacon of the city’s new cultural era; a melange of art, food, and performance create the identity of this factory-turned space.
The building itself was a former wine factory, and was converted and renovated to its present state in 2007. Each individual section is comprised of open air spaces, high ceilings, and an influx of natural sunlight. What we love the most is that you truly can spend an entire day at Huashan: pick up lunch at one of many restaurants and cafes, browse shops displaying the finest of Taiwanese designers, or take a gander at a temporary exhibit housed in an old wine cellar. Whatever it is, Huashan is definitely a must visit for any visitor in the city. Below are our recommendations for exploring this cultural hub.
Another addition to the ever-so-popular VVG franchise, VVG Thinking is a two story bistro-cum-general store. The food stayed true to the company’s ethic: creamy risottos, light and refreshing salads, and innovative beverages and desserts. Upstairs, an entire store boasting cookbooks, vintage knick-knacks, and home ware is a beckoning call for any art or gastronomy lover.
Childhood-esque etchings line the brick walls of VVG Thinking.
This is a piece of a current exhibit in the restaurant. The artist creates little knit animals in a wide range of vibrant hues. Many other pieces are hanging up in the first floor dining area.
In addition to vintage goods, VVG Thinking also sells a wide range of cookbooks. Our favorites include guides by Heston Blumenthal, Gordon Ramsey, and Nigella Lawson, just to name a few.
VVG Thinking offers three types of lunch sets, and we chose one with 3 items for 880 NT. The salad pictured above is the pan-fried chicken and seared lemon salad with ginger-lemon vinaigrette. We loved the acidity of the dressing and paired well with the candied grapefruit. With the set came a cauliflower cream soup and a main of seafood in a white wine sauce; however, these two dishes were not particularly unique in any way.
The pan-fried sirloin steak and French fries with white truffle oil (580 NT). The steak was topped with Parmesan cheese and arugula, and the fries had a nice crispness and saltiness to them.
A standout dish was the scallop and mushroom risotto with white truffle oil (420 NT). Too often do we see over or undercooked risottos, a fate many a version of this Italian favorite is subjected to. This take on the classic was done perfectly.
The Marseilles fisherman soup (320 NT) was a strong and flavorful seafood broth that brought back images of a summer holiday in France. Running on the pricier side, this soup can be shared with another person.
LibLab is a bookstore that offers everything from novels to temporary tattoos. According to their Facebook page, LibLab is “an amalgamation of bookstore, restaurant, and event space, with the point of view of the publisher.” Next door, we found an adorable, kitchy sushi joint, which currently sits high on our list of new places to try out. Unfortunately, all the books in the store are in Chinese. More the reason to practice the language!
1914 Connection is one of many stores located on the Huashan grounds. Inside, a kooky amalgamation of pieces from Taiwanese artists are on display, including an adorable bunch of mismatched stuffed animals. Craving a cool treat? Pick up a scoop of gelato from the IceMan stand inside, which boasts unique flavors, such as a creamy black sesame.
Our favorite movie joint, Spot Movies, has opened a theater in Huashan. Mirroring that of their famed Zhong Shan North Road branch, Spot Huashan has two viewing rooms, a cafe, and a well-stocked design store. We’re currently waiting to watch LENNONYC, Silver Linings Playbook, and Rust & Bone.
Cheeky post-it notes from Huashan’s Design store