[Taipei] Friends often ask me for café spots in Taipei, and this has always been my *secret* recommendation.

Actually, this place is not considered unheard of the Taiwanese and even tourists, as many of them head over during the weekends, but somehow it is seldom talked about among Singaporeans.

So here’s introducing Huashan 1914 Creative Park 華山1914文化創意產業園區, a hosting ground for Taiwan’s most significant cultural activities.

With a sprawling 19,800 square meter floor area in Zhongzheng District of Taipei, it is Taiwan’s primary creative arts center. You can spend a couple of hours here, especially if you are into artsy stuff.

Its story reveals its role as a bridge to a unique architectural past.

Huashan originated from an abandoned sake and ginseng factory of Taihoku Winery built in 1914. Some young thespians of Golden Bough Theatre discovered it in 1997. The group fixed up a section, and staged plays in that unique and unconventional venue.

The word spread and eventually, local artists and art/literary giants began using the space as venue for their creative works.

To get there, ride the MRT Blue Line (Bannan Line) going to Zhong Xiao Xing Sheng Station (忠孝新生). Exit at Exit 1, then walk straight. After 1 block, you should see an underpass and a giant red diamond. Just cross the street and you will arrive at Huashan 1914 Creative Park.

Known as Taiwan’s creative pulse, Huashan 1914 is now home to many designers and artists. Probably considered any young hipster’s dream.

This art and culture hub has facilities for meetings, exhibits and performances, usually from remodelled brick warehouses.

You will see quirky shops of indie brands, stationery and bookshops, digital and interactive museums, a theatre, and even a concert venue. Music lovers will love the mini outdoor concerts featuring Taipei’s most promising young musicians.

Schedule your visit depending on your preference and desired experience. During weekdays, the park isn’t as full as during weekends. Actually, can be somehow empty.

If you just want to escape and read a good book while sitting in a café, go on a weekday. If you want to catch some events like exhibits or concerts, they will be more likely scheduled on weekends.

I know you are concerned about the food. Aside from the few eateries, third wave coffee shops are available, serving cold pressed coffee and pastries.

Some of the food places there include Alleycat’s Pizza, Al Cicchetto Huashan Restaurant, Trio Cafe, Piccola Botega, Deja Vu, Casa Della Pasta, VVG Thinking 好樣思維, 一碗來 and Fab Café.

Ah, and StarBucks.

The café that is most prominent there is Fujin Tree Landmark Cafe Huashan Store. Other than the fact that many instagrammers come over for a token #OOTD shot in front of the iconic wall, it is known for coffee and selection of cakes.

One of the partners is Berg Wu, who was honoured in the World Barista Championship in 2016.

Popular dessert choices would be the Castella Cake provided by Simple Kaffa (TWD180, SGD8.00), Tieguanyin Tiramisu (TWD220, SGD9.80), Ruby Black Tea Roll Cake (TWD180, SGD8.00), and Matcha Green Tea Roll Cake (TWD190, SGD8.45).

Available in limited quantities, the Castella Cake baked Hanjuku style (half-baked) is a must-order, where you can that incredibly soft and even slightly gooey texture. It also has that honey-sweetness which made it ultra-delightful.

The Matcha Roll Cake is made using Morihan Kyoto Uji Matcha powder known for its premium grade quality, it was both moist and airy. Loved that soft cream in the middle.

Huashan 1914 Creative Park has a young, cool vibe despite it being an old structure underneath.

The old, worn out pillars, walls, and other remnants of the old factory are but silent witnesses to the passage of time.

Perfectly encapsulates the motto, “Old is the New Young”.

Children will enjoy playing in the open-space patch of green, while adults can wander around and breathe in the various scents of creativity.

Or simply give in and indulge in people watching. You may even spot young couples doing lovey-dovey couple photo shoots. Ahh, the joys of young love.

When shopping for merchandise made by local designers, expect to shell out a considerable amount.

Creativity isn’t exactly cheap. It is your own little way of supporting local talent.

Huashan 1914 Creative Park 華山1914文化創意產業園區
No. 1, Section 1, Bade Road, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City, Taiwan 100 (Zhongxiao Xinsheng Station)
Tel: +886 2 2358 1914
Opening Hours: 9:30am – 9:00pm (Sun – Thurs); 9:30am – 10:00pm (Fri – Sat)
Google Maps – Huashan 1914 Creative Park

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The Lobby of Simple Kaffa (Dunhua South, Taipei)
Miracle Coffee (Neihu District, Taipei)
Sarabeth’s 紐約早餐女王 (Da’an District, Taipei)

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