Day-Good Restaurant

The Zhang Xiecheng Stone Factory (張協成石廠), established in 1904 during the Japanese occupation, is a historic building protected by the Taipei City Government Act. Today, the building houses a unique restaurant, Day-Good Restaurant (日好食堂). The interior features old wooden decorations, lanterns placed at the entrance, many green plants, and flowers. The smoky aroma of Chinese cured meat and relaxing piano music fill the space. Surprisingly, every distinct element blends harmoniously within this old building.

At Day-Good Restaurant, Chinese bacon is the signature dish. It is not something people eat daily since it is time consuming to produce. It is marinated in high-grade Chinese medicinal ingredients that follow ancient methods and comes in an original or spicy flavor. The delicious bacon brings many customers to the restaurant just for a bite .

Ms. Huang, Huilan (黃惠蘭), the owner of Good Day restaurant, is a fashionable, gentle woman. At first glance, it is difficult to imagine how she relates to such an old building and traditional food. 

She is busy preparing meals, using her bright smile and enthusiasm to greet the guests and introduce the bacon made from traditional recipes. She also takes the initiative to chat with guests and befriend them. After a deep conversation with her during a break, she shared the story behind her work –

Ms. Huang used to be a very reputable news anchor with a high salary in her late 20 and then married into a wealthy family. She lived a seemingly prosperous life, but financial turmoil led to huge changes in her career and relationship. She ultimately sold her properties and raised three children by herself. At one point, she had less than a hundred NT dollars (3 USD) in her pocket and couldn’t even pay for a dessert that her daughter wanted. However, she met Mr. Dong during her second-employment training in social welfare. He taught her his family’s renowned meat curing method. Afterward, Huang began to make and sell bacon, set up a business step by step, and established Day-Good Cultural and Creative Company, helping other single mothers find jobs.

Nowadays, Huang reflects on the tragic events of her past, humbly thanking many friends and the power of faith that helped her survive the ups and downs. Although she had never thought about renting this historic building initially, starting her business there has become a turning point in her life. Huang now aims to help people find a sense of comfort through her restaurant and make people who come here feel “like they are home.”

When asked what her favorite part of the old building is, Huang pointed at the green plants and flowers in the store. “I like the vitality of these plants,” she said. Without trimming and shaping these plants, “they grow by themselves. They symbolize different life stories, overcoming challenges and continuously moving on,” just like Huang herself.

Huang’s story starts from the Day-Good restaurant. She hopes to bring the original flavor of the food to the guests, and make the restaurant a home. Most importantly, she hopes to encourage friends and single mothers who are facing difficulties to embrace opportunities and experience different life stages through the restaurant and her story.

Interviewed on April 8, 2021 / Photography by Richelle Sze

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