Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Fun and Games

Kaohsiung is pulling out all the stops for the World Games. After a day at the stadium, soak up the atmosphere at the city’s cool clubs, pubs and restaurants

Silk Road (Dragonair's in-flight magazine), July 2009

KAOHSIUNG, TAIWAN -- Not so long ago, Kaohsiung had little in the way of international dining and nightlife options.

What a difference a few years makes. Taiwan’s second-largest city has undergone a dramatic transformation in preparation for the World Games (16-26 July) including a makeover of the downtown Love River area and a slick new subway system.

A host of excellent new restaurants, bars and nightclubs has opened, especially in the area near the new Kaohsiung Arena, or “Giant Egg” as locals call it.

Now tourists can find top-end international cuisine along with trendy bars serving pub grub and imported beers. These newcomers complement the city’s traditional standbys – gourmet Chinese food at the city’s top hotels and the seafood eateries on nearby Cijin Island – to give visitors a wide array of choices.

And, of course, it wouldn’t be Taiwan without night markets. These hot and noisy establishments are where you can find all the local specialties, from stinky tofu to oamisua (oysters in a vermicelli-noodle broth). Liouhe Night Market off Jhongshan First Road near the old train
station is the most renowned in Kaohsiung.

The awards ceremonies for each of the 46 sports of the World Games will be held in late afternoon or early evening, so there will be plenty of opportunity to sample Kaoshiung’s dining and nightlife.

Here’s a taste of what’s on offer:


Pasadena French Restaurant
298 Heti Road, Sanmin District
+886 7 341 1256

For high-end, elegant dining you can’t go wrong with Pasadena. European antiques and décor create an Old World setting, complemented by a superb wine selection. The menu is eclectic gourmet: favourites include beef tenderloin and duck liver with truffle sauce (NT$2,300/about HK$540) and grilled short rib with Cajun spices (NT$1,900).

Harbour Buffet Restaurant
43/F, Grand Hi-Lai Hotel, 266 Chengkung 1st Road, Cianjin District
+886 7 213 5762

Offers an all-you-can-eat buffet (NT$780) with panoramic city views. Customers can also enjoy meals with a view at the hotel’s Oriental Restaurant (12/F), Teppanyaki Restaurant (45/F) and more.

Port City Restaurant

3/F, Chinatrust Hotel, 43 Tajen Road, Yancheng District
+886 7 521 7111

Locals swear by the Hong Kong style dim sum. Try its shrimp dumplings and spare ribs.

578 Heti Road, Sanmin District
+886 7 343 3045

A rarity for Taiwan, this Spanish style restaurant serves up tapas, sangria and the rice dish paella.

Miyamaru Japanese Restaurant
16 Lingjhong Road, Lingya District
+886 7 332 5587

This favourite of Japanese tourists features sushi, sashimi and other standbys, with ingredients flown in from Japan, private dining rooms and tatami mats.

Smokey Joe’s
318 Zihyou 2nd Road, Zuoying District
+886 7 960 7715

For a more casual setting, try this Tex-Mex restaurant. Great for large groups, the fare includes tasty tacos and quesadillas as well as pasta, pizza, and smoked ribs.

Enoteca Wine Shop & Bistro
562-1 Heti Road, Sanmin District
+886 7 345 1326

If you’re craving a European-style gourmet sandwich, such as prosciutto with provolone, or imported wines, stop in at this cosy, casual eatery. It also has good pasta and salads.

The British Consulate at Takao
20 Lianhai Road, Gushan District
+886 7 525 0273

The place to go for coffee or afternoon tea with a view. This former British outpost, on a rocky promontory overlooking the sea, is now a museum with a café.

Roof Park Thai Restaurant and Bar
15/F, 165 Linsen 1st Road, Sinsing District
+886 7 241 6666

A neon-washed lounge overlooking the city where Kaohsiung’s nightcrawlers come to sip cocktails. Also serves tasty Thai-style dishes.

Foster Hewitt’s Pub & Grill
30 Wenjhong Road, Gushan District
+886 7 555 0888

An upscale Canadian-run pub near the Kaohsiung Arena. Enjoy draft beer, darts and grilled grub.

The Lighthouse
239 Fuguo Road, Zuoying District
+886 7 559 2614

A favourite watering hole and sports bar. Get your Guinness draft beer fix here (NT$220), along with Chinese and Western bar food.

Lamp Discotheque
3/F, 42 Zihciang 3rd Road, Lingya District
+886 7 269 6527

Located opposite Kaohsiung’s landmark Tuntex skyscraper, this plush nightspot is popular with younger clubbers. Regularly hosts guest DJs and theme nights.

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