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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Traditional Taiwanese tea house 無為草堂, 台中

A wonderful afternoon in a Taiwanese tea house

My first visit of my dear friend Cherry in Taichung couldn't have started better. She invited me to a traditional Taiwanese tea house named 無為草堂 (Wu Wei Cao Tang), which was an unique sensory experience for me, something I haven't experienced before on my previous trips. And since I am always interested in Chinese traditions, architecture, culinary delights and tea, I couldn't be happier.

By entering a gate our journey has begun.

The main gate of 無為草堂.

We crossed a lovely small creek upon entering.

A marvelous image delighted our eyes: A pond with Japanese koi fish.

Like in the old days, except it's in the middle of a big city. 無為草堂 (wú wèi cǎo táng) is hard to translate, it means something like "Thatched cottage of leisure". A place to relax, enjoy some tea, food and good company.

You can choose a small room for yourself. We sat on the floor, it was made of tatami.

I ordered smoked duck, that came with rice, vegetables and a soup. It was delicious.

Cherry ordered grilled salmon with rice, vegetables and soup.

The view from our room was soothing and relaxing.

Another lovely sight of the wooden pathway.


We ordered the traditional Taiwanese tea and a girl showed us the old Taiwanese tea ceremony. It is called the Kung fu tea ceremony [工夫茶道] and you can read about all its details here. The tea we had was called Alishan Oolong [阿里山烏龍茶]. Oolong is somewhere between green and black tea, but it tasted more like a green tea to me. Cherry ordered the mild version, but the flavor was still intense, but not too strong. It was perfectly enjoyable for my taste buds, but that's because I like mild teas.


Taiwanese tea is really one of the best in the world! You don't only hear that from Taiwanese, but many Chinese from the mainland and even Japanese come to Taiwan to enjoy the incredible tea and they would confirm that statement. And so would I. On the photo above you can see informational sheets about how to make the Taiwanese tea the proper way, both in Chinese and English.


My lovely friend Cherry was in charge of the tea, after the girl left. And she did a great job: the tea tasted superbly good and we enjoyed it to the last sip. Cherry was a great host, guide and driver around the wonderful city Taichung (more about our day here).

A nice room for you. Do you want to come?

The inner yard with the pond. The fish were very lively.

The pathway. We were walking around the whole facility.

Koi fish. They're said to be very expensive.

We saw a room, that displayed old Chinese furniture.

This is another room on the other side. But our small tour came to an end here. We soon left the tea house, but we could stay there for hours. If you have the time and chance, I highly recommend you to experience this wonderful and peaceful place, even if it's just for tasting the tea. But be sure you have great company with you, the tea will taste so much better.

All together, the food (both dishes) and the tea for two people, cost around 650TWD, which is around 15€ (or 20USD or 68RM). Not expensive for Western standards. I must mention that Cherry treated me the whole time and would not allow me to pay for anything. I feel very appreciated by that. Thank you again, my friend!

Address of the restaurant:

無為草堂人文茶館
台中市公益路二段106號

106, Kung (or Gong) Yi Road,
section 2, Taichung

Their website:
http://www.wuwei.com.tw/

[Taichung][Taiwan][All photos by MKL, 2010]

36 COMMENTS:

Nice...although, I never knew that Taiwan had tea houses or tea ceremonies. I always thought it was only the Japanese who have those.

@Van: Franky, I also didn't know, I was a bit surprised. But they have their own ceremony, maybe less formal than the Japanese one. I don't know, but that was my feeling.

ohh the food looks great! i thought they only served tea in tea houses

@Manju: Do they only serve Macs and Donalds in MacDonald's? O_o Sure tea houses serve food in Taiwan. Food is everywhere and part of everything. If you come here, I will bring you to the stinkiest stinky tofu place and you will hate me all your life :P

Or we can just have tea :P

I've been to a Japanese tea house in San Francisco, it was an amazing place and I had a jasmin tea there. This post reminded me of that experiance.
Great pictures :)

@Kasia: Thank you. And your experience must be wonderful indeed.

I'm with Manju, I also thought they only served tea and simpler dishes in tea houses. After all, they don't serve meals like that at coffee shops:)The place looks amazing, I think I would have loved going there. How nice t get a room, as apposed to at cafes where you can never be really private because you never know who's listening.

But hey, when You're posting pictures of your friend, maybe one of you and your lady soon, huh? :)

How quaint and lovely and charming! I love the atmosphere of cozyness in that place :) I wish we also have those here. Or maybe we have, but I haven't experienced going to them yet.

And I love watching koi fishes. The pond we have at the office has lots of them. So relaxing :)

Taiwan tea is the best! I tried honey green tea for the first time there. It is not for sale coz the family, who invited me to try it, makes it for their own consumption only. It is green tea steeped in Longan honey in a air-tight jar for a minimum of 2 years. Delicious and its not as sweet as you think.

I remember Taiwan more for their bubble tea than their traditional Chinese tea.

This looks a great conducive place to relax and chill out. ^_^

@Carina: Well, here coffee shops serve meals, too. Food is everywhere to get here :)

Carina, I posted tons of pics of me and my girl on Facebook. If you're on, you can add me.

@Krissy: Yes, the atmosphere is really soothing :)

@Lizzy: Oh, here's really so many teas of all kinds, I have so much to explore in this regard.

@Shingo: Bubble tea is as famous as their other expensive high quality teas.

So cute. And very ethnic. I've never really visited an oriental tea house before.

@Andhari: It's fun to visit, if you have a chance, go for it :)

Wonderful place. Now i feel like building a tea house in my back yard.
Ah Koi is amazing!! No wonder they are called Koi. You can really get crazy for them just by watching. Beautiful colors.

@Saša: Thanks. You should open a place like this in Zagreb, hehe :P

wow...this is so beautiful! It does look peaceful... XD

The tea house is so so amazing. I would be going there forever. Its so beautiful and ethnic.

The place is truly awesome!

can't believe it! Its really traditional. I love all the wooden pathway the creek! wow! magnificent!

I would really like to try the Oolong tea some day :)

Maybe I should go and look for the tea leaves here in Kuching ahhahaha

BTW, those teapot set are special stuff! A very expensive one!

Thanks for sharing :)

btw, Im going Macau on 25th if im not mistaken hahahahha lets see if fate would allow us to meet :) very hard to meet up since Im following a tour group.. but who knows hahahaha

@Reech, Daisy and Harini: Yes, indeed :)

@Netster: It's awesome and the tea is really good. Maybe you can find in Kuching, yeah. Maybe you have a place like that there? You have many Chinese in Kuching, btw, you're Chinese yourself. Open a teahouse bro! Open!!! :P

wow, that place looks so relaxing! :) at the university i work at, there is a japanese gardens that is like that except its not a restaurant.. its nice to go there and just think. haha! ;P

that's so cool.. the tea ceremony was called kung fu tea ceremony??

and 20USD for both dishes and tea is SUPER CHEAP!!!!!!!!!! 20USD here will get you one small dish at a nice restaurant.

p.s - this morning as i was getting ready, i was blogging in my head again and thought to myself "seee neeno!!! i do blog in my sleep... well half asleep. haha!"

tai-lou! that place is so amazing & romantic!!!!1 omgd. i LOVE that place (even though i haven't been lol)

It is a very tasteful dining room.
It has an Oriental atmosphere.

Wow that's so serene and beautiful! Ugh, reminds me of the Geisha movie for some reason. I would love to visit here and go to a tea house one day :)

@Kym: Yes, the place is nice and the price is fine. :) Wow, thinking of me half asleep? So honored :P

@Ejann: It's romantic! Come with your loved one, hehe.

@Ruma: Yes, very oriental.

@Karen: The tea is great in Taiwan, it's really a must-go, if you come here :)

looks so serene. the food looks japanese though. but since you have your lovely friend... the food doesnt bother u all i am sure... lol!

@zewt: You nailed it, bro ;)

That looks so serene! Very beautiful place. reminds me of so many Zen-ish movies.

@Nashe: Well said. It's really a nice place.

I don't know if you've been to the Wisteria Tea House (紫藤廬) on xinsheng south road.

Though its location makes it seem unlikely, I find that it's one of the best spots to escape from the city. A definite gem in the middle of Taipei

@Sean: Thanks for the tip, I haven't known about this tea house. My wife knows it and we plan to visit :)

So glad to come across your posts before my trip to Taiwan. You definitely helped me pin some unique points of interests. This tea house happens to be one of my favorites. Thanks for the awesome job!

@Khanh: That's great! Glad you've enjoyed to read my blog. Have fun in Taiwan :)

as an overseas Taiwanese, your beautiful article really warmed up my heart in this piercing cold winter evening,I miss Taiwan so much.

I definitely will visit this place someday

@Jae: I'm glad you like it. You can explore more of Taiwan by checking my various pages such as Uniquely Taiwanese things and travel in Taipei :)

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