Is it rude to photograph food in (Taiwanese) restaurants?


Recently, I was somewhat taken aback to read an article in The Weekend Australian that suggested it was the height of rudeness to take photographs in restaurants.  The article then went on to slam people who (like me) photograph food and then later blog about it, saying that:

“… it’s the photography of dishes destined for blogs that have become a hot issue among chefs, who not only resent their food being shot without request by amateurs in often poor lighting conditions but also the too-common outcome – when those images end up accompanying ill-informed restaurant reviews. The art of food photography is a difficult enough discipline for accomplished professionals, let alone the critiquing of the cooking itself.”

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The Guest House


The Guest House conjures up images of a small eatery hidden inside a boutique hotel or B & B.  But instead it is a luxury restaurant located in the Sheraton Hotel that welcomes with relaxed, unhurried charm.  The restaurant describes its modern Chinese chic interior as reminiscent of a Su Dynasty tea shop.  I think this is a bit of a stretch, but its mix of Asian antiques and modern furnishing is classic and elegant. 

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Recipe: Golden Banana Kingdom Cake


Taiwan’s bananas are famous.  The Japanese established vast hectares of banana plantations during their 50 year period of colonial rule (1895 to 1945).  Then in 1967, Taiwan became the first country to export bananas to Japan.  Bananas were an expensive, luxury item at that time – six bananas cost as much as an imported suit – and Taiwan’s bananas were especially prized for their quality. Taiwan exported over 400,000 tonnes of bananas per year, amounting to a third of Taiwan’s foreign trade, earning Taiwan the moniker “Banana Kingdom”.  The curved shape of the island of Taiwan even resembles a banana; well, sort of.

Golden Banana Kingdom Cake, ready for serving

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Chinese Cookbook


Chinese Cookbook, an unpretentious local-style restaurant walking distance from Taipei 101, dishes up family-style dishes at a reasonable price.  This restaurant stands out for several things, one of which is cleanliness.  Unlike some family restaurants in Taipei, this restaurant is scrupulously clean.  I watched as they diligently (and briskly!) cleaned tables between sittings – no sweeping things under the carpet here. 

Toffee sweet potatoes, a complimentary dessert at Chinese Cookbook

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Win a working summer holiday at a L'Hotel de Chine hotel in Taiwan


The L’Hotel de Chine Group, a luxury international five-star French hotel with Asian influences, has launched a competition to encourage young people to travel to Taiwan.  The prize is a ‘working holiday’ in Taiwan for up to a month, with the choice of staying at one or more of the L’Hotel de Chine Group hotels: the Palais de Chine hotel in Taipei, or other hotels in Sun Moon Lake, Xinzhuang, Hualien, Chiayi, Taoyuan or Chungli.  The winner will also receive NT$10,000 (USD$330) per person plus a NT$1,000 (AUD$30) per day food credit allowance. Continue reading

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Win a working summer holiday at a L’Hotel de Chine hotel in Taiwan


The L’Hotel de Chine Group, a luxury international five-star French hotel with Asian influences, has launched a competition to encourage young people to travel to Taiwan.  The prize is a ‘working holiday’ in Taiwan for up to a month, with the choice of staying at one or more of the L’Hotel de Chine Group hotels: the Palais de Chine hotel in Taipei, or other hotels in Sun Moon Lake, Xinzhuang, Hualien, Chiayi, Taoyuan or Chungli.  The winner will also receive NT$10,000 (USD$330) per person plus a NT$1,000 (AUD$30) per day food credit allowance. Continue reading

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Taiwanxifu now in Centered on Taipei Magazine


I have taken what is to me a giant leap towards my goal of being a published writer.  I have now begun writing for the Centered on Taipei Magazine!  You can read my most recent article on snacking in Tainan in the May 2011 (Volume 11, Issue 8) issue. 

Centered on Taipei is a lifestyle magazine published by the Community Services Center, a non-profit organisation that provides information and assistance to the international community in Taiwan.  (They also conduct some good cooking classes, led by Ivy from Ivy’s Kitchen.)  The Centered on Taipei magazine includes articles about life in Taiwan, including shopping, food, culture, art, family, travel and relationship issues.  I plan to write regularly on casual dining in Taiwan.  The magazine is free and available online and in many locations in Taipei including the Center.

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L'Idiot


L’Idiot means, as you may guess, idiot. Why? Well, its owners hope that after eating there, patrons will feel happy and stupid. Like the donkey they have chosen as their motif (the Chinese translation of L’Idiot is ‘Donkey Restaurant’).

The donkey logo on a cookie, which we were given as a take-home present. Cute!

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L’Idiot


L’Idiot means, as you may guess, idiot. Why? Well, its owners hope that after eating there, patrons will feel happy and stupid. Like the donkey they have chosen as their motif (the Chinese translation of L’Idiot is ‘Donkey Restaurant’).

The donkey logo on a cookie, which we were given as a take-home present. Cute!

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Forest Baths in Jiaoxi Hot Springs Park


A few weeks ago I took a day off from work to spend with a good friend who was visiting from Australia.  It was a beautiful, early spring day so we decided to head for the hot springs town of Jiaoxi (also spelt Chiao-hsi or Jiaosi), near Yilan (also spelt Ilan).  Jiaoxi is only a short 45 minute drive from Taipei, yet it feels like another world.  Ever since our day-trip I have been raving non-stop to anyone who will listen about our hot springs bathing experience.  I believe we have found the best Japanese-style hot springs bathing house.  And the best thing is that hardly anyone knows about it — yet.

Jiaoxi Hot Springs Park

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