Every time I come back to Taipei, I discover something, someone, or some place that touches my heart so deep it makes me want to run to my computer and tell the world about it.
This time, it’s “good cho’s”. Nestled in one of the few remaining military family communities near Taipei’s 101, “good cho’s” is a lifestyle café that serves innovative bagels freshly made on-site alongside hamburgers, soups, scones and coffee and teas. Its bagels come in a variety of more than 10 surprising flavours like roselle and walnut (洛神花核桃), and brown sugar with red beans and sweet potato (黑糖紅豆蜜番薯). However, this is not the point. The loft-like setting, bar seating, antique wood furniture and friendly energetic staff are all not the point. The point is – this is Taipei, and I’m not talking about geographical location you see. I’m talking about that very human spirit that defines Taipei and its very charming residents.
The story begins with the Simple Life Festival I talked about in my blog earlier. Simple Life Festival first started in 2006 as a biannual event defined by the philosophy of its organizers, “Do what you love, and let what you love create value,” combining musical performance, local organic farm produce and handicrafts, forums and outdoor markets. “good cho’s” is an extension of this concept in the form of a permanent café housing all these wonderful characteristics under one roof. What’s more, this permanent establishment is located nowhere but at one of Taipei’s most historical addresses – the original “44 South Village”, one of the oldest remaining military family communities in Xinyi District near the 101 Tower.
Military family communities are, by definition, where military families were one housed when Chiang Kai Shek’s Kuomintang retreated to Taiwan from China in the 1940s. Most of these communities are now demolished and replaced with modern high-rises, but their memory remains and represents an important and emotional part of Taiwanese history. My mother, having grown up in a military family compound in Kaohsiung, still tells stories of her growing up in a military community with longing and fondness in her eyes – a day and age when doors can be kept unlocked, and everyone, whether from Sichuan, Shanghai, or Heilongjiang, lived in harmony with each other.
Today this community is a little park separated from the hustle and bustle of the Xinyi district by little hills that resemble bomb shelters, the perfect venue for the Simple Life Markets that are held here every Sunday afternoon and “good cho’s”.
“good cho’s” is a direct translation of its Chinese name 《好,丘》, but also a short form for “good choice”. Like what is written in its blog Chinese :
You will discover that goodness comes not in an instant, but slowly from this walk in life. Whether rain or shine, you are welcome to good cho’s, and taste the goodness of life.
Good Cho's is at Xinyi Public Assembly Hall (corner of Songqin Road and Zhuangjing Road)
tel: (02) 2758 2609