Traditional Taiwan Coffeehouse
Next to the Taipei Botanical garden is the National Museum of History. Amongst other exhibitions, they had a traditional Taiwanese Coffeehouse. This one seemed to be a post World War II coffeehouse, with a view of the botanical garden. The presentation of coffee and snack was also nice:
I had coffee and not tea mainly because I was really thirsty from walking around the botanical garden. The museum has a tea shop on the 4th floor – though by the time I got up there, it was too dark to get a nice shot of the botanical gardens from up there.
Anyhow, back to the theme of coffeehouses – they became popular in Taiwan under Japanese occuptation. Since they served relatively wealthy people looking to unwind, they quickly became more than the cafes found in western countries. They were part coffeehouse and part cabaret club. The waitresses at these coffeehouses were termed 女給 (woman give).
The exhibition of coffeehouses had a lot of interesting memorabilia from the time Japan controlled Taiwan. Unfortunately, pictures were not allowed within the exhibit.
In any case, the fact that waitresses provided more than just coffee reminded me of Korea. Less so today, but still in existence, are coffeehouses and coffee delivery services where the waitresses will provide more than a cup of coffee. In Taiwan, the practice was stamped out immediately after World War II, when Japan lost control of Taiwan.
Alas, the effects of coffeehouses are still felt today. Coffeeshops seem to be the place to socialise here rather than teahouses. Teahouses do exist, but they are much less common. Perhaps that is the reason tea here ends up in products like Green Tea Wasabi Peanuts (see my entry from two days ago).