Wine Talk with Alice Swift
2019 Hidden Gem of Changbin Township (Taitung, Taiwan): A visit to Sinasera 24 Restaurant
In the first part of August this year, I had the opportunity to visit Taitung to co-teach a culinary camp along with my husband Daniel for the second year in a row. During our visit, we scheduled some time to learn more about Taitung County, which is home to a majority of the 16 recognized indigenous tribes (along with Hualien County).
Each county is made up of different townships, and this year, we continued our explorations by visiting Changbin Township, in the northernmost township in Taitung County. The residents of this township are primarily made up of the Amis tribe. This area is less frequented, and is a nice place to visit if you enjoy peaceful, more tranquil environments.
We were fortunate enough to be introduced to Daylight Resort, nestled amongst agricultural lands. This beautiful resort only has a handful of rooms, and provides an intimate experience. The hidden culinary gem of this resort is a fine dining restaurant, Sinasera 24. Sinasera translates to “the earth” in the indigenous Amis language, and the number refers to the 24 solar terms of the traditional Chinese calendar (originally created to align with agricultural/farming advices).
Chef Nick Yang (楊柏偉) is the executive chef of Sinasera 24, and the menu is inspired by local/traditional Amis and French cuisine. He has worked in the culinary industry since the age of 15, and even spent some time in France working in a three-Michelin star restaurant, Le Petit Nice - Gérald Passedat. Chef Yang’s vision for the restaurant is to “吃當季、食在地” (direct translation: “eat the season, eat the ground”). The restaurant aims to reduce the distance from farm to table, sourcing local, fresh ingredients that are based on what is seasonally available. Locally available marine life and wildlife, wild food plants and other Chinese herbs are integrated to enhance the dishes while reflecting the culture of the place. The combination of locally sourced ingredients with Amis (Taitung, Taiwan) culinary influence served in the form of a fine dining prix fixe menu is quite the rare experience.
The restaurant has an intimate setting, with 30 seats, which include a private dining room, and bar seats that butt up to the bar and kitchen so you have a front row seat to all the action. The restaurant is filled with young, inspired culinary staff who live up to Chef Yang’s Michelin-star quality standards.
There are three tiers for the dinner package (plus a children’s meal option); however, they should all include the following: appetizers, two breads, a range of dishes depending on package selection, dessert, small bites and tea or coffee. Below is a selection of photos from our meal and experience. The most unique course was definitely the appetizer course, which came in the form of a mini “tree” and we removed and ate the “leaves,” which were paper-thin breadfruit chips. The favorite dishes of the night were the flower-shaped fresh-caught mahi mahi sashimi, and the locally-sourced chicken dish.
If you ever have the chance to visit Taiwan, I would highly recommend visiting the Huatung (Hualien-Taitung) regions and see what this region has to offer: the beautiful landscapes, stimulating outdoor activities, creative takes on food and beverage, rich history, culture and art of the aboriginal peoples, the experiences are endless!
Sinasera 24 website:
Dawn Resort website:
September 2018 WineTalk article introducing Taitung during my previous visit:
Until next month, Cheers~!