If you’re looking for the perfect place to start your day with a cup of coffee and a delicious pastry, look no further than Fong Da Coffee (蜂大咖啡). This iconic coffee shop in Taipei has been around for over 60 years and is a popular spot among both residents and tourists.
Take the Bannan/Blue line on the MRT to Ximen Station. Exit the station through Exit 1 and walk straight along Chengdu Road until you see Fong Da Coffee on your left-hand side.
The Story of Fong Da Coffee
Fong Da Coffee, established in 1956, has an interesting background. The founder of the business, also the father of the current boss, was previously a beekeeper and operated Honey King (蜂蜜大王), which sold honey and coffee. After taking over, the current boss, Mr Cao Shihua, renamed the business to Fong Da Coffee (蜂大咖啡) and converted it into a coffee roastery, café, and retail shop that focuses mainly on coffee.
As time passed, Fong Da Coffee’s popularity grew, both domestically and internationally. In fact, in 2012, USA Today named Taipei as one of the top ten cities in the world for coffee consumption, and Fong Da Coffee was one of two recommended coffee shops mentioned in the article.
Despite the proliferation of trendy coffee shops, Fong Da Coffee’s nostalgic ambience remains its primary attraction, drawing in numerous patrons. What distinguishes it from other cafes is that they roast their own coffee beans on-site and serve traditional old-fashioned pastries with their coffee instead of the typical fare like croissants, muffins, and cookies seen at other coffee shops.
The Pastries at Fong Da Coffee
Upon approaching the shop, you’ll notice an array of handmade cookies and pastries presented in large glass jars at the entrance, just like an old-school provision shop.
Fong Da Coffee offers a selection of delicious pastries, which are freshly baked and highly popular among customers. Among the various pastries available, the walnut crisps are the most sought-after. According to the owner, these baking skills were acquired from a biscuit master in Macau and have been passed down to his son.
In addition to the walnut crisps, they also serve other sweet and savoury options, including moon cakes. All of their pastries are baked in-house to guarantee the highest quality and freshness.
The menu at Fong Da Coffee is available in both English and Chinese languages, catering to a wider range of customers.
During our first visit, we tried three varieties of syphon coffee and shared a slice of mille crepe cake.
Fong Da House Blend 蜂大綜合咖啡
This coffee is a blend of various types of coffee beans, resulting in a rich and robust taste with a charcoal roasted aroma. It has a slight acidity which becomes smoother and creamier when milk is added.
Taiwan Coffee 台灣咖啡
The first sip of this coffee may taste bitter, but as you continue to drink, it becomes pleasantly sweet. It has a light acidity with a subtle berry note. The fragrance is mellow and spreads in the mouth, with a lingering aftertaste.
Blue Mountain No. 1 藍山咖啡 No. 1
This coffee is full-bodied with a fruity aroma. It has a slightly sour taste, but also has hints of sweetness and bitterness.
All the coffees are served without sugar, but sugar can be added from the canister on the table if desired.
Mille Crepe Cake 千層派
This cake was mediocre, with a denser texture and less fluffiness than preferred.
On two more occasions, we stopped by to purchase some pastries to take away.
Chicken Biscuit 鷄仔餅
The chicken biscuit had a light peppery taste and is very flavourful, similar to the taste of a Chinese dim sum pastry called “char siew sou”, which contains pork. It has a salty and sweet taste, and is greasy and delicious. The biscuit is very hard and cannot be easily split apart with fingers, but requires biting.
Abalone Biscuit 鮑魚酥
Despite its name, there is no abalone in this biscuit. It is named after the shape of an abalone, and is crispy on the top with a hard and crunchy bottom. It is also very fragrant.
Peanut Cake 花生糕
Moist and smooth with a strong nutty flavour.
Caramel Pineapple Cake 焦糖核桃鳳梨酥
Slightly sweet taste with a soft pineapple filling and crunchy walnut bits.
Sesame Cake 芝麻糕
Soft and moist with a strong black sesame aroma.
Almond Cake 杏仁糕
Intense almond flavour. Love this!
In conclusion, Fong Da Coffee is an excellent place to visit for a morning coffee fix. With its rich history, unique coffee blends, and delectable pastries, it’s easy to see why Fong Da Coffee has become a cultural icon in Taiwan. Whether you’re a coffee enthusiast or simply seeking a comfortable spot to unwind, Fong Da Coffee is a must-visit spot. So, the next time you’re in Taipei, make sure to drop by this coffee shop and indulge in their delightful offerings.
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