For this post, I wanted to skip straight to the food. Why? Because that is actually one of the first things Mum and I did when we finally reached Jiufen (九份).
Perhaps it was the cold rainy weather but we were famished after visiting the Gold Museum. Taipei is pretty vegetarian friendly in general but we had a little difficulty when we were in Jiufen. Eventually we stumbled upon SIID CHA (吾穀茶糧 SIID CHA 食茶館) and decided to dine there for lunch.
Many of the restaurants and stores in Jiufen are perched along the slopes of the mountains; the scenery was breathtaking.
From the exterior, SIID CHA had a very industrial look. To bluntly put it, it looked like a slab of concrete. I quite liked the feel of it though.
There were four floors in total, they were:
- LVL 2 – additional seating and outdoor seating
- LVL 1 – main dining area and toilet
- GF – entrance and storefront
- LG – kitchen
It was quiet when we arrived but as we continued dining, more people started to enter. I wanted to sit on the second floor because it had a better view, however it was already occupied.
SIID CHA seems to be quite popular amongst ladies and university students.
The interior was also very simple, featuring plenty of natural wood. There was also plenty of sunlight; three out of the four walls were windows. There isn’t actually a lot of floor space but each level felt spacious and airy.
Our seat had a spectacular view; we saw the clouds and mist rapidly moving above the tree lines. Looking out the window put me in a meditative state. For those brief moment, I felt so at peace. I just sat there quietly for a while to take it all in.
To be honest, our decision to eat here was completely by chance. We didn’t know about SIID CHA prior to our visit, we just went with the flow. Our intentions was to eat at Ah Mei Tea House but we got lost.
Mum spotted Lei Cha on the menu and mistook it for dish rather than the tea, which was how we ended up there. Regardless, we still had a good time.
I tried their oats and apple tea. It sounds a little odd but I made the right choice. It was mildly sweet and tasted strongly of apples. If only I know how to make it myself, they’re the perfect winter treat! I must say, it’s quite filling. I would hold up on ordering this if you intend to eat more food.
Vegetarian options are a little limited from what I remembered. We had to make a special request for our dish to be made vegetarian but they happily complied. They served us a bowl of mixed dried grains whilst we waited. I never had anything like that before. I would’ve purchased some to bring back if the Australian quarantine regulations weren’t so stringent.
We ordered the kelp congee set. It was served with a side of salad, which had: orange slices, fresh pineapples, sliced cucumbers, greens, cherry tomatoes as well as fresh kombu. There was also a bowl of pickled bamboo shoot, kimchi, and more seaweed! The congee was really rich and thick, so the side dishes were a perfect accompaniment.
I fell in love with SIID CHA after this visit. Everything was perfect, from the interior to the menu, and even the wooden utensils. Absolutely everything!
I have no doubts that you will enjoy this place too. If you visit Jiufen, definitely make a stop here.