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SOMETIMES A CITY FEELS LIKE FAMILY. At least that’s how Yao -Lung Cheng thinks of Taipei. “She’s like an Aunt,” he says, “one that makes you uncomfortable as she slurps soup with unbearable noise, but surprises you with her good taste in music and film. Over time, you discover things you share in common, adding strength to the knowledge that you’ll always be family.”
Yao-Lung has worked as a barista in Beitou, the hot springs area of Taipei, for three years and loves its slower pace of life. “In other parts of Taipei the traffic, rushing crowds and street signs can be overwhelming—even for a local like me,” he says. “Beitou is more like a small town and is close to nature. You can see the mountains in the distance and the buildings aren’t that tall, so you still get the sunshine.”
THOUGHTS ON BEITOU
I like going into shops and hearing owners chitchat with their customers. In Sanchong —the neighborhood I live in, in New Taipei City—people don’t know each other, but if I return to Beitou people remember me and we talk.
The coffee scene in Taipei is flourishing, with new cafes popping up all the time. I work at Sheme House in Beitou, located in a historic building formerly used to store rice. People come from all over the city for the coffee and desserts.
Hong-gah Museum in Beitou focuses on video art, with a corridor showing traditional paintings too.
Taipei is a basin—we’re surrounded by mountains and hills. North of Beitou is Yangming Mountain, the hot spring’s source, and there are paved paths to hike. I used to go there with my family to eat “Hot Spring Eggs,” a picnic lunch cooked in the hot springs.