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Cover Story :

Yung-Kang: a fashionable foray in the heart of the city
By Josephine Lin Translated by Elliot Billings

       If parallels can be made between Taipei's vibrant HsiMenTing District and Tokyo's Shinjuku, then Yung-kang Street is the local equivalent of Jiyugaoka, or "Freedom Hill." It is refined, but not aloof. It is tranquil and trendy, yet down-to-earth. Yung-kang proper refers to the business area surrounding Yung-kang Park (LiShui and YungKang Streets, including the intersection at HsinYi Road, Sec. 2; and parts of ChinHua Street). Snack food vendors and eateries from Taiwan and Mainland China opened shops here generations ago, giving rise to the name "District of Delicacies." Later, as international restaurants, cafes and boutiques began to settle in, Yung-kang emerged as a fashionable enclave. It's a "must see" on the tourist route, and is a local favorite for leisurely shopping and strolls.


*Ting Tai Feng (02) 2321-8927
       This famous restaurant is found at the intersection of Hsin-yi Road, Section 2 and Yung-Kang Street. The house specialty is hsiao lung pao -steamed juicy dumplings wrapped in delicate dough and filled with crabmeat, chicken or other tasty tidbits. The queue often stretches down the block, so reservations are advised.
*Kao Chi (02) 2341-9984
       You can sample dishes of Shanghai, Canton and other regions at Kao Chi. The taste is so authentic you will feel as though you have been transplanted to distant lands with each mouthful. Try traditional snacks, like steamed dumplings, crabmeat, shredded radish pancakes, and bundles of rice and sweet meats wrapped in bamboo leaves (tsung-tsu), or choose from fried rice, noodle dishes and a generous selection of Hong Kong style dim sum.

*Cheng Chi Nanking Dried Pressed Duck
       In business for over forty years, the popularity of Cheng Chi¡¦s authentic Nanking Dried Pressed Duck, Salted Dried Chicken, and Honey Grilled Spareribs make dining reservations a must. Also try the lu-wei, or sweet and sour stewed meat and vegetables a la carte.

*Cheng-Chi Vietnamese Noodles (Pho) (02) 2321-1579
       Nothing is more versatile than Vietnamese "pho", a delectable noodle soup synonymous with the country. Create your own combo of noodles (wide, chewy "he-fen" noodles or thin rice-flour "mi-fen" vermicelli) and soup stock (sha-cha, curry, sweet-sour or clear broth). You can also add seafood, beef or pork.
*Ping-kuan (02) 2394-8279
       Ping-kuan ("The Ice House") is an unpretentious stand serving bing - a refreshing snack of shaved ice crowned with fresh fruit. Sliced plump strawberries drizzled with homemade sweetened milk is popular in winter months. Summertime options include chilled chunks of mango and sweet cream. These treats are worth the wait in line!
*Hui-liu (02) 2392-6707
       Hui-liu Teahouse, blending classic charm and modern chic, serves vegetarian fare and teas. The "Pocket Salad", a sesame seed bun stuffed with lettuce, fruit, and a thick layer of cheese, is the hot choice. All menu items are healthy and delicious.

*Ching-kung Imperial Kitchen (02) 2322-4429
       The Imperial Kitchen sells over thirty different authentic Hong Kong-style all natural sweets. Many include ingredients revered in traditional Chinese medicine that enhance beauty and vitality.

*Janny¡¦s Curry House (02) 2341-1371
       The Indian proprietor and his Taiwanese wife serve exceptional curry dishes based on traditional recipes. Gourmands relish the Pumpkin and Sparerib Curry.

*Chi Lou (02) 2392-1626
       This stunning pasta house, opened by Fan Tsung-pei the famous Taiwanese violinist, is worthy of an encore. The four-item menu changes daily, but Carbonara with Pine Nuts and Jade Mushroom Alfredo remain perennial favorites. Limited portions are prepared fresh daily and receive the chef's full attention. Customers are encouraged to place orders early.

*Mustard Cafe (02) 2351-6375
       Step into Mustard and leave your worries outside. Everything, from decor to tableware, is designed with relaxation in mind. Of course, what better way to relax than with great food like mouth-watering dishes of Mango Chicken Curry, Noodles with Blackened Fish and Sliced Garlic, and German Honey Glazed Pork Knuckles. The freshly made Tiramisu and Japanese Pudding are delightful.

*Yung-kang Chieh (02) 2392-3719
       Selected as one of Taipei's finest flower garden cafes, Yung-kang Chieh offers verdant vistas from its windows in addition to delicious beverages. The specialty is Herbal Coffee with a delicate scent of purple Perilla mint. Tea Latte is another original creation that's rich and aromatic. Caffeine-free drinks are available.

*Tuan-Ti Wan Coke Cakes (02) 2351-0733
       Ko-leh cakes, Taiwan¡¦s answer to the croquette, are a scrumptious mix of mashed potato and luscious fillings rolled in breadcrumbs and lightly deep-fried. You'll find the best at Tuan-ti Wan, a modest storefront vendor offering nine flavors. Seafood, Ham and Cheese, Thai-style Sweet 'n Sour, Curry Chicken and Pepper Steak top the list. Ko-leh are crunchy on the outside, savory on the inside. Those
prepared at Tuan-ti Wan are never oily. Just ask the crowds waiting for a taste!

*Black Forest (02) 2392-2447
       The proprietress learned her culinary tricks from her German mother-in-law. Black Forest serves Roasted Pork Knuckle in Beer, Bratwurst, and over 20 different desserts. The Bavarian Vanilla Pudding is incredible. German patrons claim the food is as good as home!

*Alpine Garden (02) 2341-2359
       The proprietor of Alpine Garden, former resident of Switzerland, has created a charming teahouse with Swiss ambiance. The herbal teas are imported from some of the countries most distinguished tea companies; all carry beneficial effects. Special concoctions aid weight loss, enhance the complexion or reduce stress. Whichever you choose, a leisurely cup enjoyed in the vanilla-scented rooms of
Alpine Garden will put you at ease.

*Hsi-la Feng-ching (Mediterranean) (02) 2396-938
       Arched Grecian doorways and vine-covered trellises set the mood for a romantic interlude, but it's the cuisine that will win your heart. Treat yourself to traditional Mousaka, lamb and eggplant pie, or Greek Rice, a long-grain variety flavored with aromatic spices, onion and garlic.

*Mediterranean Dream
       The proprietress of Mediterranean Dream, a former art student in France, employs color and music to create a Southern European-style setting. Vegetarian pastas, like Spinach and Tomato Lasagna, are the signature dishes.

       Shopping in Taiwan conjures images of a fierce tug-of-war between buyer and seller, but negotiating prices in the Yung-kang District is more low-key. Prices are higher considering the quality. If you're looking for a one-of-a-kind gift, you may want to start here. If you enjoy window-shopping, wonders are waiting along its checkerboard-patterned lanes.

*Kitty¡¦s Corner (02) 2357-8690
       Kitty's Corner attracts cat lovers. Just imagine, specialty imports from around the world - "Hello Kitty DollsTM, ornaments and other fun feline furnishings. Special requests are taken.

*R+D Doll Collectors (02) 2357-0450
       R+D specializes in vintage Barbie TM, from 1959 originals to revamped models dressed in DKNY and Christian Dior designer wear. Some of the most intriguing Barbie dolls were produced in Taiwan from 1968 to 1989 and reveal true engineering genius when compared to other dolls of the day. R+D caters to the collector; special orders can be arranged with delivery taking approximately three weeks.

*Betty¡¦s House (02) 2321-2303
       There are no fakes here. Betty's House boasts American authorized Betty Boop clothing and accessories for distribution in Taiwan. Those who wear their Betty Boop proudly, but prefer non-Western sizes, should definitely stop by.

*Cara Kitty (02) 2391-9504
       The mysterious charm of Cara Kitty makes for a steady stream of customers. You'll find Cara Kitty bags, change purses that fit in the palm of your hand, travel totes, Cara Kitty leisure wear, Japanese-style uniforms and captivating household furnishings.

*Weaver Girl (02) 2394-9149
       Are you looking for period costumes from the late Ching or the early Republic of Taiwan? Perhaps you like ethnic clothing, rare textiles or unique accents. Weaver Girl is a treasure trove for the collector or those who want to make a smashing fashion statement.

*Yuan-man (02) 2356-4528
       Yuan-man, newest arrival on the Yung-kang scene, carries soft cloth handbags in silks and cottons imported from Thailand. The selection is comprehensive. Luxury items, like tissue holders, slippers and kitchen utensil bags, are also on hand.

*Yung-kang Ju (02) 2341-5301
       Yung-kang Ju, designed along traditional lines, carries folk art from Taiwan, fine calligraphy, and tools and instruments from the 1930's. Da-wei Foreign Antiques, Art, and Ornaments, a subsidiary outlet, is great for treasure hunters interested in pocket watches, rare timepieces, bronze ware, jewelry and ceramics. Price range varies.

*Tsang Chen Curios & Crafts (02) 2358-7938
       Silver and jade ornaments, carved gourds, Buddha statuettes and other trinkets are the star attraction at Tsang Chen Curios & Crafts. Each carries a personal story, which the owner is happy to share if you've got the time.

*Yung-kang Park
       Yung-kang Park is a favorite destination for young and old. The grounds make for a welcome stroll after a sumptuous meal or window-shopping, or even a leisurely take-out picnic. It's a great escape during crowded holidays. You may happen upon a live performance held on a small stage within park environs.

       take #0 East¡B20¡B22¡B38¡B106¡B204¡B209¡Bor 294 in the direction of Hsin-yi Rd. Get off at the intersection of Yung-kang St. and Hsin-yi Rd. Drivers can park at Ta-an Park or at the Jian-kuo Parking Lot and proceed to Yung-kang St. on foot.

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