Taichung, Taiwan. It was a Friday afternoon when I first saw the Miyahara building. I was casually strolling around the Taichung Station area after my lunch and that’s when I saw the huge crowd gathered under the red-bricked building. My first thought was, “I bet there’s something good to eat there” and I wasn’t wrong.
Chances are, those of you who have been to Taichung in Taiwan would have definitely visited this place. If you haven’t heard of the Miyahara building, or the ice cream, then I’m delighted to be able to share with you my Miyahara experience at Taichung.
The building itself is separated into three parts: the ice cream parlour, the tea parlour and the main building which is made up of a pastry shop downstairs and a cafe and restaurant upstairs. I didn’t visit the tea shop, so this post will cover the ice cream parlour and the main building.
Upon approaching this building, you will notice groups of people outside the building, each holding a big bowl of ice cream. Now, you may think, “All this for ice cream?” Stay with me here.
The Miyahara ice cream may be one of the prettiest ice cream bowls I’ve ever had in my life. As explained in my Taiwan desserts post, customers have the choice of either one, two or three scoops of ice cream. You can guess which one I went for.
To my delight, the ice cream not only looks pretty, but it tastes really good as well. I chose the fruit and tea flavours since it was quite hot that day, and I really loved the light and fruity combo. Aside from that, I also chose the special toppings and I would really recommend that option because you get to choose your own toppings, which include a variety of biscuits, cakes and dried fruit which tastes delicious and adds a little colour if you want to take a picture of it. We ordered one three-scoop ice cream bowl for the both of us and it was really filling.
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Now, for the real reason why I really wanted to visit this place: the beautiful architecture and interesting history.
For history and architecture buffs, you must pay a visit to the main building after you’ve had their ice cream. I dug around on the internet and I foudn out that this ice cream parlour and tea shop are housed in a stunning building ripe with history.
This red-bricked dream used to be the largest ophthalmology clinic in Taichung during the Japanese colonial period. It was the brainchild of Miyahara Takeo, a Japanese ophthalmology doctor in 1927, hence the name ‘Miyahara’. After Japan’s surrender in 1945, the building was converted into Taichung’s Health Bureau. However, after years of neglect and natural disaster strikes, this once beautiful building started to lose its shine and it gradually decayed until it became a real hazard for occupants.
Then along came Dawn Cake, a pastry company famous for their pineapple cakes. They bought the building and thus began the restoration and renewal. They preserved the beautiful red bricks and archway of the exterior and redesigned the interior to look like the magical Hogwarts from Harry Potter.
The first time I walked into the building, I was in awe for one full minute. I felt like I was in the set of a 1940s Harry Potter movie. The interior has an old-world library charm to it and the staff were all dressed in vintage Ming blue and white qipaos.
I spent a good amount of time marvelling and taking pictures of the beautifully-intricate packaging of their pastries. They also sell the biscuits and cakes that they use as the Miyahara ice cream toppings, so if you’re interested, definitely check out the pastry shop.
For those of you thinking of souvenirs to bring home from Taiwan, you can have your pretty package wrapped and tied with colourful ribbons at the packaging area. We didn’t buy anything since we were traveling around Asia, but we saw a lot of beautiful packaging options at the counter.
If you’re thinking of taking pictures here, and I definitely recommend it, be mindful of the restaurant on the second floor. The entrance is on the middle landing of the stairs and we were kindly told to move along when we wanted to take pictures there, so as to not block the entrance to the restaurant.
So there you have it! I love combining history, architecture and food during my Taiwantravels and I hope that you loved reading this post as much as I did researching for this! Have you been to Taichung when you visited Taiwan and if so, did you visit the Miyahara building? If you did, please leave a comment because I would love to hear from you!
Until next time!