Another cute cafe in a historic home in Tainan

Cafes

A fine place to stop and think for a while. See also: working cafés.

Baekje Hospital

The historic Baekje Hospital in Busan, originally constructed in 1922.

The former Baekje Hospital is a heritage building in Busan, the second largest city in South Korea. Built in 1922 by Choi Yong-hae, a Korean living in Japan, it is located in Choryang, Busan’s historic Chinatown. It was the first private hospital in the city but only remained in business for about a decade before the building was repurposed. Over the years the former hospital has been used as army barracks, police station, Chinese restaurant, wedding hall, and more. This was even the home of a consulate for the Republic of China (now generally known as Taiwan 台灣) at some point, probably long before diplomatic recognition ended in 1992.

A Proper Cup of Coffee

An ordinary cup of coffee.

A proper cup of coffee while waiting for a moment to arise. I snapped this at Chyi Woa Specialty Coffee 奇瓦精選咖啡, a modest cafe across from Wenzhou Park 溫州公園 in Taipei 台北. Nothing to write home about but I liked the aesthetics of the cup and saucer enough to memorialize them here on my ever-expanding compendium of everyday trivialities.

Roasting Coffee at Rufous

Taking a closer look at the coffee roaster at the back of Rufous.

Rufous Coffee is my favourite cafe in Taiwan 台灣. Nowadays I am living nearby so I have been dropping in fairly often to get my fix. Tonight I happened to stick around a little longer than usual and was delighted when the aroma of roasting coffee beans thickened the air of the cafe. Surprisingly, though I love coffee I don’t know very much about the roasting process, so I went over to the machine to take a closer look—and a quick photograph, seen here.

Tainan Working Cafes

Room A is a great co-working cafe in the western part of downtown Tainan.

What follows is a short list of serviceable working cafes in and around downtown Tainan 台南. What do I mean by a “working cafe”? I mean a cafe where students, freelancers, and remote workers will find the things they need to dig in for an extended period of time and get some work done. My criteria for a good working cafe: decent coffee, the availability of snacks or light meals, comfortable seating, wireless connectivity, unobtrusive music, reasonable prices, long opening hours, welcoming staff, and an ambiance conducive to creative work, especially programming. Of course, it helps if a cafe looks nice too!

Sungo Cafe 松果咖啡

Exterior shot of Sungo Cafe 松果咖啡.

Sungo Cafe 松果咖啡 is a small family-run cafe on the southeast side of Yuánlín 員林, a city I have spent a fair amount of time in while living in Taiwan 台灣. It is one of two cafes I frequent when I am in town—the other being Vicino coffee 右舍咖啡, a more upscale, designer cafe.

Gupu Cafe 古樸咖啡

Gupu Cafe 古樸咖啡 is a quaint little cafe just across the county line at the foot of Jingmei Bridge in Xīndiàn 新店. It’s a small place, only about five tables inside (with another two under the concrete awning outside), but it is almost never busy. In fact, I am usually the only one there—and I often work long hours in this cafe.

Gupu cafe from the street at night.

Vicino Cafe 右舍咖啡

Vicino coffee 右舍咖啡 at night.

Vicino Cafe, more commonly known as 右舍咖啡 (loosely translated as “Right House Coffee”), is a fantastic cafe in central Yuánlín 員林, a mid-sized city in central Taiwan 台灣. It occupies a historic building that has undergone extensive renovations, leaving the space bright and airy with huge floor-to-ceiling windows, exposed brick walls, and simple wooden furniture. Such an environment is eminently conducive to creative work so I find myself coming back time and again. Outlets are available on the ground floor but the second level is more of a reading and study space. The coffee is actually rather good, as are the snacks, particularly the matcha and lemon cheesecakes.