One of our favorite places in Danshui (淡水, or Tamsui) is Cafe Gigi. On one of my sick days, Philip and his friend, who was visiting, were trying to find the Fort San Domingo 紅毛城. The fort was originally built by the Spanish in 1629. The literal translation of the Chinese name, Red Hair Fort, was in reference to the Danish, who took over the fort in 1642. Like always, when we try to find something, we rarely find said thing. Instead, they found the lovely Cafe Gigi. Cafe Gigi is like how I want my house to be if I was artistic, had any talent for decorating, or a green thumb. The tea is delicious and lovely, it has the only wine I've had in Taiwan that wasn't a little too well aged, and the food is scrumptious and filling. If you ever trek up to Danshui, you must stop here.
The first thing that catches your attention are the paintings on the crumbling stucco outside of the place. They are so not Taiwanese and stick out amidst the Taiwanese architecture. Taiwanese architecture is hard to classify. They seem to be going for the very boxy, stapled together, corrugated tin roof, and if you have the chance to cover things with pool tiles, you really should style. Needless to stay these paintings kind of stand out.
Also, you can't beat the patio on a sunny day.
The tea is yummy and brewed with fruits and roots and comes out looking beautiful.
The dinner selection is limited. There is curry (meat or not) and also the pork meatballs. Both are delicious, reasonable, and filling. She also has small, but tasty selection of wine.
In Taiwan, disgusting, big-enough-to-eat-tropical-sized-cockroaches, spiders mean good fortune. At the lovely Cafe Gigi, we were lucky to have a lot of good fortune on the wall 2 feet from our table, who-wa.
Getting there from Danshui MRT
It's pretty easy to get there in that impossible sort of way. Exit the MRT, turn left. The road you want is Zhongzheng Rd, but of course, that road sign is in Chinese. Basically, there is a fork in the road. You want the road to the left of the bank on the corner and to the right of Starbucks. Keep walking until you see the first temple on your right hand side, Longshan Temple. On the wall of the Longshan Temple you will see the Cafe Gigi sign. It looks like this:
Take a right, and head up the steps:
Follow the steps until you see another sign directing you to your right:
Take the right and walk up the ramp until you see the paintings. You will see the cafe sign just past the paintings. The garden entrance is on your left-hand side.
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