Penghu Island, Revisited

In July 2017 we made our first trip to Penghu Island. We enjoyed scootering around and exploring the small island and swimming at the beaches. Back then, the only downside to the island was that we struggled to find good food.

Penghu, an archipelago of 90 islands!
Fresh Eyes

Recently, our friends have been visiting Penghu and telling us, “You have to go to Addict. It is the best food on in all of Taiwan!” or “You need to check out Beacon, it is the best beer bar in all of Taiwan!” With recommendations like that along with the scootering and beaches that we love, we decided it was time to return to Penghu with fresh eyes!

Found this colorful creature washed up on the shore. It’s a type of crown jelly fish, and it was 2 feet in diameter!

We knew that eating was going to be a big part of this trip, so before we booked our flights, we booked a dinner and brunch at Addict and another reservation at Bang Bang Banana. This also marks the first time we have been on an airplane since the pandemic started.

Again, from a recommendation, we stayed at Mahalo B&B right next to our favorite beach on the island, Shanshui.

Mahalo B&B has all the beach gear you could want.

The water around the Penghu is breathtakingly clear and warm this time of year. Great for snorkeling and diving, and when the winds pick up, it’s a slice of heaven for kiteboarding and windsurfing. We enjoyed snorkeling at 浮潛秘境海底郵筒 (aka, the secret submarine post box). There was a decent diversity of colorful fish, plus the most and LONGEST sea cucumbers we’ve ever observed. They look like this!

Early morning SUP’ing at Shanshui Beach
Food Scene

Our first night on Punghu we had our dinner reservation at R&R’s Addict restaurant. The restaurant had a fantastic menu with a focus on locally caught seafood and fermented beverages like kombucha gin & tonic.

Addict would not be out of place in a big city like Taichung or Taipei, but there was something strangely familiar about the place. We asked our server how long the restaurant has been around, and she told us about 5 years, and that it started as a food truck. That rang a bell with us. We pulled out our phone and referenced our 2017 blog and showed her this photo:

Meeting Roy & Rachel in 2017

“That’s me!” our server told us, “I’m Rachel!” Then we remembered that R&R is Roy and Rachel, and this is their restaurant, now named Addict. Back in 2017, they were making the best cuisine on Penghu island, serving it from a truck in the middle of a big field. It is fun to see good people follow their passion, grow their businesses and find success!

Roy & Rachel today

The next day we visited Beacon, a beer bar. Because we are old and don’t stay up late anymore, we arrived when it opened at 7pm. It was quiet, and gave us the chance to get to know the owner, Denny, which was a highlight.

Beacon is tucked behind sleepy residential buildings and quite hard to find, intentionally so. Taiwan has a thing for “secret places”. We loved the backyard lounge area, which is something you don’t see much of in Taichung.

Denny, the owner of Beacon. He used to work at Taihu in Taipei (our favorite Taiwan Brewery) but decided to open up his own place in Penghu. He also loves IPA’s.

Near our B&B is a bright red shipping container called The Garden Tapas and Bar. They serve tasty small bites and artisanal cocktails.

Zoom zoom Pickles
Relaxing way to end the day.

Our second reservation was at Bang Bang Banana, which has been re-named to Moz after the owner’s nickname, but everyone still calls it Bang Bang Banana. It’s a french-inspired set course meal. The single room, big enough for just 3 parties, has a cozy atmosphere, decorated with Moz’s eclectic antiques from her travels.

We asked about the beautiful wooden installation leaning against the wall and learned it was a game her friend handmade (think Price Is Right’s Plinko). She said if we could navigate the marble into the mouth located at the top, she would give us free cocktails. Sarah nailed it, and earned herself a “Sour Bitch (work hard/play hard)”, Moz’s favorite. Like the food, the cocktails are very good.

Having fun with Moz + team after dinner

Our last foodie recommendation is Pino Gelato. After almost 6 years in Taiwan, we have NEVER seen mint chip chocolate ice cream or gelato, until now…

You have to go to a remote island to find THIS flavor!

Sarah has inquired about this missing classic flavor at other ice cream shops, and the reply is, “The flavor is too sweet for the Taiwanese palette.” However, shaved mango ice with a can of condensed milk poured over top is not. Go figure.

That’s a wrap on our fresh eyes, full belly tour.

The flight is less than an hour from the Taichung airport. We really wish borders would open up, so you could visit us and places like this!

Small dreamy island life

Love,
Pickles & Passionfruit
(Written during our quarantine, published upon our release.)

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Safest flight on the planet goes to …

the Taichung to Penghu leg! After a 2-year flying hiatus, this was a pleasant re-entry to the friendly skies. Despite the fact that there are no domestic COVID cases (only imported and all caught in quarantine), Taiwan still isn’t messing around with covid even on domestic flights. No food/beverage services because that would require removing your mask, and that’s what a virus is looking for… your big cake and nose hole.

Flight attendants in their COVID uniform.

3 thoughts on “Penghu Island, Revisited

  1. What another grand adventure for you two! I would spend a lot of time there for sure! I know those sea cucumbers you speak of. Their segmented bodies and bobbit worm/feather mouths are quite intriguing. Scooters, great food, cool people. You guys are my favorite travel gurus! Hugs!

    1. Ciao, mi amica! Of course, you know about these cucumbers and their feathery mouths. They’re fascinating and meditative to observe! It’s nice to get your note, my dear. Miss you from way over here, my Italian Chili Pepper. I hope you get the chance to dive in these waters and some of Japan’s most southern islands some day… and hopefully with me! xo

  2. “your big cake and nose hole”… Oh my gosh that made me laugh! So glad you got this trip in! So good!

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