The Taipei I reside in is very different from the city my parents grew up in. When he was a little boy, my Dad lived in a timber house built during the Japanese colonial era in what is now a parking lot near the Taipower Building MRT stop. As fun as it is to nostalgize those buildings, living in them during the 1950s and 1960s wasn’t always that enjoyable (for one thing, the wood frames hosted a lot of insects). They are now becoming increasingly rare, however, and some Taipei City residents are keen on saving the few houses that are left scattered around the city. Several of them have been turned into cafes or stores, which is great news for me because I love getting a peek into how my family once lived. National Taiwan University recently invited some business owners to renovate old faculty housing that had stood empty for many years. Minfu Chien (簡銘甫), who is known as the founder of vintage furniture importer Mooi, took the opportunity to open a combination cafe and store called Mooi Trouve (找到魔椅).
The inside of the cafe is decorated to highlight the ceiling with its hinoki (or Japanese cypress) beams. I love the smell of hinoki wood, especially during the summer. The store sells vintage housewares from Germany, France and other European countries. They are pricey because Chien imports them in small lots from his trips abroad, but I love checking out the well-curated selection. For more information about Mooi Trouve and its address, please see my recent Taipei Times article.