There are some large Eslite bookstores in Taipei, a city with a population of three million. Either the people read a lot more books or they have mastered the art of selling books by blending it with lifestyle offerings. The nicest Eslite store is the one located next to the Songshan Cultural and Creative Park 松山文創園區 – Eslite Spectrum Songyan Store 誠品生活松菸店. It is an impressive and interesting bookstore and lifestyle mall. Some floors are taken up by restaurants and some areas designated for tea room and handicraft spaces. We stopped by at one of the restaurants, Kao Chi Restaurant 高記 at Eslite Spectrum to have a light meal.
The focus at Eslite Spectrum seem to be local products and handicraft. On one of the levels, an entire stretch was lined with tea shops. The tea culture seems to be alive in Taipei. There were also shops providing handicraft lessons for consumers. The most unusual one being a glass blowing and glassware making facility. Novices get hands-on instruction to make some glassware on the premises.
There are restaurants distributed throughout the Eslite Spectrum Songyan store, but the basement (known as Gourmet Heaven) only has restaurants. Some western, some Japanese, some Taiwanese. Kao Chi Restaurant is one of them.
高記 Kao Chi Restaurant at Eslite Spectrum Songyan
We were not really hungry but stopped by at Kao Chi Restaurant at Eslite Spectrum Songyan anyway as it looked like a interesting place. It is decorated like a traditional Chinese restaurant but with added ‘glam’ in the form of chandeliers. We did not know then, but it seems that Kao Chi is said to rival the more famous Din Tai Fung. Some commentors on TripAdvisor even consider their xiao long bao better. If we had known all that then we would have tried some for comparison.
Here are some pictures of the Kao Chi menu. We placed our order for a beef noodles (NT$260) and fried squid cakes.
Beef noodles and xiao long bao seem to be the most highly rated food in Taipei. We were served a large bowl of beef noodles at Kao Chi. The soup was mildly spicy. The beef was chunky and tender. We thought it was pretty good. At NT$260, it was a generous serving.
We ordered the squid cakes out of curiosity. They turned out to be like fish cake, but made of squid instead. The texture was nice and chewy. They make a pleasant snack.
Overall, we thought that Kao Chi Restaurant at Eslite Spectrum Songyan was a good place for a pit stop for visitors to Taipei as it is within a zone with a few tourist attractions. The Songshan Cultural and Creative Park is next door. Old buildings have been converted into shops and spaces for creative activity. The Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall 國父紀念館 is a 20 minute walk away. We have a few pictures of these places for you.
#B2 Eslite Spectrum Songyan
No. 88 Yanchang Road, Xinyi District
Tel: +886 2 6639 6589
Open daily from 11am to 10pm