Hana kitchen: Modern indigenous cuisine in Taiwan’s Alishan mountains
Updated: Feb 18, 2020
When you venture deep into the Alishan mountains of Taiwan, the last thing you’d expect to find is a white, South African woman serving delicacies across from an indigenous suspension bridge. But behind this beautiful, open, wooden hut is a love story that proves love knows no race, nationality, language, or country.
Hana kitchen is the story of a beautiful love story. Chef Hana “got lost in the mountains” and met an indigenous man from the Laiji tribe. The Laiji tribe is a clan of the Zou tribe, one of the 16 tribes currently recognized on the island of Taiwan (Taiwan’s population is 95% Han Chinese, people with origins from mainland China). Hana fell in love with this man, married him, and then opened her restaurant in the middle of the tribe’s village.
What to order at Hana kitchen:
Almost all of the ingredients are locally sourced from the surrounding area. Chef Hana makes her own, handmade bread served daily. Definitely try:
The meat platter, served with mountain boar, sausage, sweet potato, and lettuce
The bread platter served with butter, jam, dried and fresh fruits
The soup of the day
Vinegar drinks (萬壽醋飲)
For even more recommendations, check out Taiwan Everything’s article.
With a member of the Laiji tribe
Hana restaurant sells handmade souvenirs made by members of the Laiji tribe.
The suspension bridge is across from the restaurant and is accessible to all customers.
How to get to Hana Kitchen:
As the restaurant is deep in the Alishan mountains, you will have to travel by car. Local residents can rent a car from the Chiayi High Speed rail station and follow the directions below. Visitors can hire an English-speaking tour compay, such as Toah Tours or MyTaiwanTour to drive and guide you up the mountains.
Despite it’s remote location, reservations are recommended as the restaurant does get quite packed. To make a reservation, call the number listed on Google Maps: