Hui Liu’s Story
When Hui Liu opened its doors in 1990, the main offering was tea. Tea seemed the perfect activity and ally for the quiet and relaxed mood we wanted to provide. Tea is at the same time humble and elegant, simple and cultured, traditional and creative, solitary and social….Our teas are from established species from Taiwan and China, grown by organic and wild cultivation and hand-processed by methods which are traditional and creative.
We soon learned that tea drinkers could get quite hungry. It wasn’t too difficult for us to provide them with the same simple vegetarian food we enjoyed ourselves. Taipei people, like urbanites everywhere, are always on the lookout for new and different eateries and soon, "non-tea people" discovered our little shop, at that time tucked down a narrow lane. That’s how it started. From that time we had to clarify our own ideas about food and what we would offer. People would ask, "What style is this?" and we would reply, "It is Hui Liu." It still is.
We still consider ourselves a tea shop and we do our best to creatively satisfy the hunger of our guests in the same spirit of tea, i.e. natural, clean taste, color and aroma that keeps the palate fresh and receptive. A Japanese magazine wrote that Hui Liu is a "café-style tea shop", (one that provides meals). A friend told us, "Hui Liu is not a café; it is a cha-fe!"
From the beginning, our emphasis has been on light taste, freshness, health and creative cross-cultural cuisine. We now can get produce from a growing number of motivated and industrious local organic farmers and suppliers. Taipei people have become increasingly health and diet conscious but we try to influence people to be as much concerned with eating well to maintain the vitality of the land as they are for the health of their own bodies.
Simply put, Hui Liu cuisine is:
1. Vegetarian: no animal dies for our menu.
2. Healthy: we use organic materials whenever available. Cooking methods and preparation aim to bring out and combine the inherent natural flavors of a wide variety of ingredients and maintain balanced nutrition of each dish.
3. Creative: the menus blend traditional Chinese tastes and styles with those of other cultures and those of our own inventive chefs while maintaining a close relation with the spirit and bounty of the season.
4. Accommodating and Practical: while some guests come in groups and may be entertaining friends, others are solitary. We keep in mind that a group needs a stimulating variety of tastes while an individual needs a satisfying balanced meal. We make constant efforts to control costs and provide variety and value so that our patrons can come as often as they like.
5. Nurturing the Spirit: "Live to eat or eat to live?" We are constantly attentive to balancing the need to provide enjoyable, creative food with the reality that the only use for a well nourished body is as a vehicle for spiritual work. We hope our food and the atmosphere we have worked to provide will inspire all our guests.