The slow simmer of everyday beauty
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The slow simmer of everyday beauty
Features & Amenities
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Discover the wonder of the lodging.
Traveling through the bustle of the Yizhong Street shopping district, you stroll like a cat at a leisurely pace. You nonchalantly turn down an unfamiliar alleyway and, as you walk away from the markets, the hubbub becomes fainter with every step. The entire neighborhood before you is bathed in peaceful sunlight, as incense from the altars of the Temple of the City God weave a protective blanket throughout the everyday lives going on around you. Suddenly, an old building across the street arrests your gaze, its thick window frames painted Tiffany Blue. Its large windows reflect and reveal the arching eves of the Temple, your unmoving figure, and the green-tinted lives unfolding within. Ming Xing B&B projects a warm humanity that comes from the slow simmering of everyday beauty. It transports you to the enchanting everyday life of Taichung City, and writes chapters in the memory books of those who visit.
Gathering the everyday beauty of Taichung
You step through the open doors and into a small porch greenhouse with the sun on your heels, and your eyes open wide at the abundance of greenery bathed in golden light. An antique bicycle leans to one side of the porch, a box engraved with the logo of the Vitalon beverage brand affixed above the back wheel and full of potted plants. “Hello and welcome!” comes the amiable greeting from your host, Karen, as she invites you into the ground floor space. Karen took over this space which housed a welding shop operated by her father for over thirty years. The terrazzo tile floors still bear burn marks where molten metal was spilled. Some of her father’s welding instruments have been converted into iron hangers from which pots and pans hang above the open-concept kitchen. Having studied food sciences in university, Karen has used her culinary craftsmanship to infuse the space with local Chinese-style cuisine. Besides the opportunity to sample culinary delicacies made by Karen and her work companions, you also get to enjoy skillfully arranged displays all throughout the space: flower-print Datung tableware, cutely-patterned drinking glasses, and small items for sale that will certainly catch your eye. It is as if stories are hiding in every corner, waiting to relate to you the beauty of former days.
Follow the terrazzo tile stairway up to the spacious second floor where fair sunlight fills the space. The ornate stitch work on the chair cushions brings you back to earlier times, and a figurine of the Datung Company mascot sits on the traditional inlaid wall shelving characteristic of old homes to remind travelers of youthful days. Choosing a comfortable spot, you taste a bite of Karen’s handmade roselle cake while sipping a cup of rich and nourishing licorice tea. Time slows as you savor the comfort of the moment.
Two guestrooms offering ease and elation
Both upstairs guestrooms are spacious, consisting of a full floor each, as per the considerate planning of your host Karen. The third floor Traveler’s Suitcase room takes its name from Karen’s previous guesthouse endeavor, and offers comfort and leisure in warm colors. The sun streaming in through floor-to-ceiling windows acts like a warm iron on the bedding. Open the curtains and behold the graceful presence of the Temple of the City God where the prayerful incense wafts on a cheerful breeze up to the plants on your balcony. Slowing down your pace, you select a volume of Karen’s vintage manga collection from the inlaid shelves and sit beside a cute teddy bear thumbing through the pages. Or you might take a few moments to sit at a corner table with your travel journal and record some of your impressions thus far.
The Seaside Cabin room on the fourth floor is like a secret base of operations, with its private balcony, rattan sofa furniture and ample natural lighting. Karen brought many beloved elements of Kenting back to Taichung; an old surfboard, wooden flooring and the many ocean-themed decorations fill the space with the flavor of southern Taiwan. After dark, turn on the driftwood nightlight and enjoy the soft glow from Karen’s handmade loofah lampshade as you drift into slumberland. Come morning, enter your private bathroom which resembles a small surf shack shower. Enjoy the soft morning light filtering into the space as you savor the the warmth of the Taichung sun on your damp hair and welcome the day, clean and fresh.
Local breakfast adds zest to life
The delicious aroma of food draws you eagerly downstairs where Karen has finished preparing a memorable breakfast of delicious local flavors. Tender yet substantial soy-braised pork on rice almost melts in your mouth and goes down easy. Rice with shredded chicken is seasoned with spring onion, celery and cilantro, and drizzled with a homemade marinade to tickle your taste buds. Be sure not to miss the multicolored vegetable and braised pork noodles! Karen has improved upon the traditional fried noodle breakfast beloved by the people of Taichung, incorporating nutritious vegetables, tasty side dishes and homemade chili sauce. Karen insists upon using only the freshest local ingredients prepared with meticulous care in order to fill your belly with delicious foods, and provide you with an energizing and healthy start to the day.
Upon departure, you carry with you a wonderful night’s sleep, a warm belly full of food and a satisfied smile as you commit all the tender moments of your stay to memory. You know that Ming Xing B&B will be waiting here for you, full of sentiments from former times when Karen’s father inhabited this old house. And regarding the slow simmer of everyday beauty, you know that, next time you visit, another exquisite encounter with life surely lies in store.
Meet the moving story of the host.
Wearing a delicate green sweater and a navy blue denim apron, Karen, the host of Ming Xing B&B, is standing beside the bar to welcome us with a candid smile on her face. Her smile causes her eyes to curve like crescent moons, while the southern sun shines peacefully upon her wheat-colored complexion. She once left home to pursue the brilliant sunshine of Kenting, but left it behind to return to her hometown and succeed her father at the head of the welding shop he had operated for over 30 years. Speaking of this old house, and of Chinese cuisine, Karen’s eyes fill with firm conviction. She has used her inspiration and exquisite craftsmanship to preserve her memories between the walls of this old building, while her contemporary attitude allows the warmth that she recalls to endure.
Longing for the ocean waters of Kenting
After highschool, Karen attended National Pingtung University of Science and Technology where she studied in the Department of Food Science and fell in love with the ocean waters of Kenting. Originally planning to find work in Kenting after graduation, she moved back to Taichung before she could realize that desire. Back in her hometown, she threw herself into the catering industry. However, her longing for the freedom of life in Kenting only increased over time. Four years after returning to Taichung, she resolved to quit her job and move once again to Kenting. She began to work in various travel lodgings and, bit by bit, progressed toward the ideal lifestyle she longed for.
After the birth of her daughter, Xiaomi, Karen used her experience working at guesthouses to create a B&B of her own, giving her a more flexible schedule better suited to motherhood. It was in this way that she began sharing her ideal lifestyle with travelers. At around five or six in the morning, Karen awakes to go chase some waves. After returning to shore, she enjoys a cool beer in the warming afternoon. Sometimes, having finished her household chores, she hangs a sign in the doorway which says “gone surfing” and rushes back out to the beach. Only once the sun falls lower in the sky and orange light begins to ripple on the water does she reluctantly head back up the shore.
“If you’ve visited Kenting, you’ll just want to stay there,” she says with her elbows resting casually on the wooden tabletop. She speaks gently, her eyes full of longing for the sea. She never imagined that she would have to return so suddenly to Taichung. It was more than a decade after leaving her hometown that she received some unexpected news from her father. Out of the blue, he had begun to suffer from ALS, or Lou Gerhig’s disease, and his lifestyle was slowly becoming limited by the stiffening of the body that characterizes ALS. Unwilling to ignore her father’s misfortune, Karen put away her surfboard without hesitation. Taking Xiaomi by the hand, she returned once again to her father’s old house in Taichung.
Inheriting a love deep in the blood, carrying on a family’s memory
“Everyone says that my father was able to pass on so quickly after I came home because he knew someone was there to take care of this old house.” The tranquil tone of Karen’s abridged speech only thinly conceals her profound grief at the loss of her father. With one shoulder, she now bore the burden of her own courageous resolution. Unwilling to allow the collapse of the welding shop that her father had operated for over 30 years, she maintained her father’s original company name and took over the old building and all of the memories it contained. She filled it with all the miscellaneous goods that she adored, recreating the youthful scenes from her distant memories, and reinterpreting and remodeling the space according to her own attitude toward life.
Karen will remember with longing every little moment she spent living with her family in this space. She has perfectly preserved every authentic vestige of her father’s welding shop, every one of the houses’ ornate tiles and memorable objects. Karen points to a corner of the second-floor public space, to a metallic figurine carrying a diver’s scuba tank, “That was made by dad, so I suppose my love of the ocean comes at least in part from him!” Thinking about how her father loved to go up into the mountains or down into the sea, Karen recalls how, as a young girl, she would always go diving with her father. Once Xiaomi was born, she liked to take her to the beach to enjoy the sunshine. It is as if father and daughter shared the same freedom-loving spirit. No matter what Karen relates to us about her father, we can sense her love and longing for him in her words. It had been a very long time since he had done anything at all to obstruct Karen’s search for freedom. On the contrary, he had always been very encouraging of her, and was the source of her courage in forging her own way through life. As a result, when he was most in need of Karen, his daughter felt bound by duty to return to his side, and to use her own way to continue their deep familial bond, to write yet another chapter in the book of their familial love.
Treasure the commonplace blessings of ordinary life
“My father just happened to love a meal of rice with soy-braised pork, pig’s blood soup, and other local Taichung breakfast foods. So I make the kind of traditional breakfast that Taichung people love.” Karen uses her craftsmanship to improve on the fine breakfast foods of former days. With her work companions in her open-concept kitchen, Karen painstakingly cooks and stews the flavor of everyday life into her guesthouse. With a laugh, she says that she and her work companions all love to travel, so the guesthouse holiday roster uses a kind of honor system. When someone feels like going on a little trip, everyone around them helps to cover their shifts, because they know their turn will come. “If you want to go to Japan today, then we just cover the work. If I want to go diving today, then it’s your turn to cover for me.” Beyond the trust they have for each other, they also treasure each other’s passion for life. At Ming Xing B&B, everyone must persist in their attitude toward this kind of lifestyle. They welcome the warm sunshine of Taichung and share in life with all their traveling guests.
“We never know what tomorrow will bring, so we need to live each day to the fullest.” Karen speaks with determination in her eyes, and laughs when she describes herself as a vagabond. At times, she is like a child running after the waves, and at others, she pursues her high ambitions courageously, seizing all the ups and downs that life has to offer. Ming Xing B&B conveys the warmth of memory, taking the experiences, stories, and longings of life, collecting them into a traveler’s suitcase, and transforming them into fuel for life. A disposition at once candid, free, and at ease is used to add spice to everyday life, and to treasure every hard-won happiness that today may hold in store.
NTD 1,500 ~ 1,900/room
Breakfast not included, On the 3rd floor, In-room bathroom, 1 double bed, Single-person bathtub, Up to 1 extra person (with extra bed) (more)
NTD 1,500 ~ 1,900/room
Breakfast not included, On the 4th floor, In-room bathroom, 1 double bed, Up to 1 extra person (with extra bed) (more)
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