Category Archives: zhongshan (中山)

vegetarian/all-you-can-eat: spring natural vegetarian restaurant (春天素菜餐廳)

date september 25, 2011

contact 3F, No. 26, Changchun Rd., Zhongshan District, Taipei City/台北市中山區長春路26號3樓/02.2525.1622 :: o2.2525.1580

hours 7 days a week [lunch] 11:45-14:00 :: [afternoon tea] 14:30-16:30 :: [dinner] 17:45-21:00

price [lunch] adults/500NT children/300NT :: [afternoon tea] adults/350NT children 250NT :: [dinner] adults/600NT children/350NT

rating ♥♥♥ (4 out of 5 hearts)

nearest mrt Zhongshan MRT or Shuanglian MRT (捷運中山站或捷運雙連站)

website http://www.springfood.com.tw/ (Chinese Only)

My mom is visiting from the States and is a vegetarian, so for my cousin’s 38th birthday we ended up at Spring Natural Vegetarian Restaurant (春天素菜餐廳).

Spring Natural Vegetarian Restaurant is located on the 3rd floor of a building on Changchun Rd. (長春路). They also have a location on Heping E. Rd. (和平東路) at 3F, No. 177, Sec. 1, Heping E. Rd., Daan District, Taipei City (台北市大安區和平東路一段177號3樓). From the street the sign for Spring Natural is green and yellow and only in Chinese. When you see the sign, just walk into the building and take the elevator to the third floor.

When you step out of the elevator you should see this sign. If you don’t, you’re on the wrong floor.

The inside of Spring Natural is huge. I’m going to guess this place easily seats over 300 people. According to their website they have 52 tables. Our table sat 6, but you could have easily squeezed a few more at our table. It would have been tight, but it would have worked. My cousin had made reservations in advance for 9 at 11:30am on a Sunday. From the way this place filled up, reservations are a must.

Spring Natural has 6 different sections: cold foods, made to order, hot foods, soups/fruit island, drinks, and desserts.

The cold food section runs along the left side of the restaurant. They have things ranging from DIY salad to vegetarian sashimi. Some of my favorite cold foods were the king oyster mushroom salad, okra, and bamboo shoots in spicy peanut sauce.

The made to order section was frying up radish cakes (蘿蔔糕) that were really tasty; nice and fresh! It looked like they were also making noodles as well, although I didn’t try any.

The hot foods section had a lot of great stuff. The start of the line had some vegetarian dim sum. I really liked the pot of boiled spicy stinky tofu (麻辣臭豆腐), sauteed king oyster mushrooms (炒杏包菇), sweet potato and ginger soup, egg rolls, among many other things. The food just keeps coming out so every time you’re in line there are new dishes.

In the middle of the area with the hot foods and made to order foods is a soup/fruit island. Lots of fresh fruit and soups. They also had almond tea (杏仁茶) and chinese donuts (油條), which were delicious!

The drink station had a good variety of drinks. They have a coffee machine that makes lattes and cappuccinos, slushy machines, juice, tea, water, and a hot tea station.

The dessert area had a good selection of desserts. My favorites were the milk pudding and chocolate truffles. I tried the cheesecake, but it was kind of dense and a little dry. They also have a freezer to the right of the table that has 8 types of ice cream.

Overall, I think this place is pretty good for a vegetarian place. I’ve been to a lot of vegetarian restaurants and a lot of vegetarian buffets in Taiwan since both my mom and grandmother are vegetarians. This place definitely ranks up there as one of the better ones. All of the food is fresh and they have a great selection. Note that this place is Buddhist so don’t waste food! There are signs on the wall asking that you only take what you can eat (lavender sign), conserve water for washing plates by not using more plates than you need (pink sign) and that you don’t talk over the food for sanitary reasons (blue sign). Also, if you have a lot of left overs, the woman there will ask that you take it with you so you’re not wasting it since wasting food is a big no no for Buddhists.

Basically, if you are a vegetarian or need a place to take a vegetarian Spring Natural Vegetarian Restaurant is a good option.

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western/dessert: melange cafe (米朗琪咖啡館)

date august 31, 2011

contact No. 23, Ln. 16, Sec. 2, Zhongshan N. Rd., Zhongshan District, Taipei City/台北市中山區中山北路二段16巷23號/02.2567.3787

hours Store 1: Weekdays 07:30-22:00 / Weekends 09:30-22:00 :: Store 2: Everyday 09:30-22:00 :: Last call 40 minutes before closing.

price <300NT (10% service charge)

rating ♥♥♥ (3 out of 5 hearts)

nearest mrt Zhongshan MRT (捷運中山站)

website http://www.melangecafe.com.tw/ (Chinese Only)

For a mini reunion dinner with out of town friends we decided to try Melange Cafe outside of Zhongshan MRT Exit 2 (捷運中山站2號出口). I had never heard of Melange before my friend suggested it, but as soon as he said waffles I was sold.

We didn’t get to Melange until about 8pm. Apparently this place is really popular and usually has a really long wait. On Wednesday night at 8pm there was no wait for a party of 4. Melange has two stores basically next door to each other. They originally asked us if would mind sitting at an 8 person table and sharing with another group. We didn’t care, but luckily when we walked into store 2 a party of 4 had just left.

The menu at Melange is in Chinese, English, and Japanese. There are pictures of some of the items, but not all. It looked like all of their entrees are under 200NT, but they have a 100NT minimum drink order per person. We decided we’d share a bunch of stuff so we ended up with:

– Smoked Chicken Sandwich (燻雞肉三明治) for 130NT (?)
– Egg Salad Sandwich (蛋沙拉三明治) for 120NT
– Smoked Chicken & Ham Pizza (香燻雞肉火腿比薩) for 130NT
– Strawberry Cream Waffle (草莓奶油鬆餅) for 150NT
– Caramel with Ice Cream Waffle (焦糖香草冰淇淋鬆餅) for 130NT
– Cold Green Tea au lait (冰宇治抹茶歐蕾) for 120NT
– Chocolate Calda alla panna (歐式熱巧克力) for 170NT
– Mango Soda Float (芒果蘇打) for..I don’t remember.

The guys both got the Mango Soda Float (芒果蘇打). They seemed to have differing opinions about whether or not they liked it. Wes said he thought the ice cream was good, but the soda was blah. Eddie thought it was okay. Both agreed that it was unnecessary to have ice in an ice cream float.

Debory got the Chocolate Calda alla panna (歐式熱巧克力) for 170NT, aka hot chocolate. This hot chocolate was really rich and thick. It tasted like dark chocolate because it was pretty bitter, but I actually liked it better that way. Really an entire cup of this might have been kind of intense, but a few sips was nice.

I ordered the Green Tea au lait (宇治抹茶歐蕾) for 120NT. I thought this was not bad. You can get it hot or cold. Might have better hot. I found the green tea flavor to be kind of light. I would have preferred it to be a bit stronger.

Eddie decided to get the Egg Salad Sandwich (蛋沙拉三明治) for 120NT. It looked like there was a piece of ham, tomato, cucumber, egg salad, lettuce, and mayonnaise inside the sandwich. I did not have any, but the other members of my party all decided that it was pretty bland.

Wes ordered the Smoked Chicken Sandwich (燻雞肉三明治). I thought it was funny that the sandwich came with four Pringles stacked in the center of the plate. The sandwich itself had smoked chicken, scrambled egg, ham, tomato, cucumber, lettuce, and mayonnaise. Everyone agreed that this was the better sandwich. The chicken was pretty tasty; it was tender and had a slight sweet flavor, almost like a teriyaki.

Debory and I decided to share the Smoked Chicken & Ham Pizza (香燻雞肉火腿比薩) for 130NT. Although they call this a pizza, this is obviously not a pizza. However, there is a picture on the menu so we knew what we were getting. This is basically a thick piece of toast with tomato sauce, cheese, smoked chicken, ham and tomato on it; it also came with a side of egg salad. The “pizza” was pretty good, for what it was. It tasted like a pizza, but on toast, which is what it was. The egg salad was pretty much just mashed hard boiled eggs; it didn’t really seem like they added anything to it, which is probably why the Egg Salad Sandwich was so bland. I think I would get this again.

The main reason that people come to Melange is for the waffles. I had read reviews online prior to coming and every single review talked about the Strawberry Cream Waffles (草莓奶油鬆餅) for 150NT. Reviews said that the waffles were tasty; thick, crisp on the outside, soft on the inside. I agree. I thought the waffles were pretty good, but at the same time, because they were so thick, they were pretty dry if you ate it alone. The strawberries and cream were pretty tasty. The strawberry sauce was little sweet, but the cream was pretty light, so together they balanced each other out. Best bite is a little of everything: strawberry, sauce, cream, and waffle. This is definitely something to be shared. The four of us shared two waffles and still ended up taking some of it home.

The second waffle we got was the Caramel with Ice Cream Waffle (焦糖香草冰淇淋鬆餅) for 130NT. I think I might like this one more than the strawberry one. The Caramel with Ice Cream Waffle came with drizzled caramel sauce, vanilla ice cream, walnuts, almonds, and some kind of sweet powder. Something in this tasted like coffee, but I couldn’t tell where it was coming from. The only downfall of this waffle is that again, like the Strawberry Cream Waffle, if you don’t get a little of everything it’s pretty dry. The best part of the waffle was under the scoop of ice cream because it had soaked up the ice cream.

Overall I liked this place. The menu says that there is a two hour limit, but since there was not wait, they let us stay for as long as we wanted. Compared to other waffle places in Taipei, or so I’ve heard, you definitely get more for you money at Melange. I liked the waffles even though they were kind of dry alone, but the entrees were only okay. I would come back for the waffles, maybe not the entrees though.