Nestled in a lush bamboo forest in a mountain valley east of Taipei City in northern Taiwan, Shi Yang Shan Fang (食養山房) is a unique restaurant famous for its relaxing ambiance, fresh local ingredients, and lack of menus.
Please watch the following video of the Shi Yang Shan Fang restaurant in Taiwan.
Founded by a former construction contractor, Shi Yang Shan Fang is exquisitely designed in a minimalist style and purposely furnished in dark wood. With the perfect blend of Chinese and Japanese Zen art, the restaurant is like a monastic retreat.
The dining areas include a long and narrow hallway decorated with paper lanterns and large transparent windows that allow visitors to take in the beautiful surroundings while enjoying tasty meals.
The knee-high wooden tables and benches on tatamis-mat floors, ink paintings and calligraphy works, roll-up bamboo curtains, flowers and plants carefully placed in proper places, with Zen music in the background, make for the serene ambiance of the restaurant.
The restaurant serves one vegetarian or regular set meal according to the chef’s own menu of the day. The meals are relatively low in oil and salt and have plenty of vegetables. Different flavors of homemade fruit vinegar served between meals are also very tasty.
The restaurant uses the freshest local produce according to the season and serves about a dozen courses, including an appetizer and dessert, such as homemade tofu topped with wasabi and passion fruit dressing, rice with asparagus and mushroom, and salmon rolls with steamed eggs with dried scallops.
The most amazing dish is lotus chicken soup. After a waitress carefully places a dried waterlily flower on top of the hot chicken soup, the flower’s petals will slowly open in the black pot with a gentle scent right in front of the diners. The dried waterlily flower pedals are not only beautiful to look at, but are also edible and actually add a special flavor to the chicken soup.
The restaurant is particular about flavors and the art of food presentation. Dishes are beautifully arranged and garnished with flowers and leafy greens, and its utensils are carefully selected.
The waitress will interpret each dish when it is served while a book about philosophy or the arts is placed on each table for diners to read while waiting for meals.
Not only is Shi Yang Shan Fang a great place to dine, but it is also an ideal destination to experience a peaceful dialogue with nature. It is worthwhile to arrive at the restaurant early to enjoy the fresh mountain air and beautiful surroundings with a sea of trees, bamboos, exotic plants, a pond with koi carp, stone bridges, and a small waterfall.