Patrick

If one was to ask 100 people to describe Taitung in 100 ways, the last word that would come to mind is “luxurious”. However, owner of French restaurant Dulan Crap, which situated in the heart of Dulan Village, precisely uses this word to describe Taitung.

When he first arrived in Taiwan, Patrick was living a busy life in Taipei. After a while, however, his natural instincts for nature and romance kicked in, inspiring him to find a new place to settle where he can just breathe. It took one trip around Taiwan with his wife, Ru-Jun, to decide that Dulan, Taitung would be their new home.

Why didn’t they choose Hualien? After all, life in Hualien is considered to be more convenient than Taitung. “We hadn’t even gotten to Hualien yet, and he was already sure!” says Ru-Jun, without giving Patrick a chance to answer. During the entire interview, besides getting a better understanding of why this chef from northern France loves Taitung so much, the atmosphere was relaxing and entertaining, in particular the cute squabbling between husband and wife. It was clear that this unusual French-Nepalese pairing, which chose to settle on the east coast of Taiwan, didn’t anticipate that their destiny would be this wonderful.

“Look! Look! There are beautiful mountains right outside our door, and the beautiful sea right outside our windows. This kind of environment is luxurious!” says Patrick. This was the first time I had heard anyone describe Taitung as luxurious. Having said that, he is correct. Where else can you find a place with mountains on one side, and the sea on the other, and not to mention a low cost of living? It is evident that only Taitung fits this criteria.

Patrick

Perhaps it is his inner French romantic that stops him from worrying about how he is able to make a living by only opening from Thursday through Sunday in the evenings. “I watch many friends working hard and living a busy life just to save money to buy things and pay their bills. I don’t want to live that kind of lifestyle,” he adds. In his restaurant, with no definite opening hours, he is able to go to the market to buy food, row his kayak, and even just clean his kitchen and organize furniture which he brought over from France. This easy day-to-day lifestyle makes him happy. With Patrick preparing broccoli on the one hand, and Ru-Jun washing romaine lettuce on the other, there’s a sense of rhythm with each other, as they work non-stop to finish preparing a meal for their customers who will be arriving in thirty minutes.

After meeting their current landlord about five years ago when they arrived in Taitung, who rents to him at a reasonable rate, Patrick and Ru-Jun renovated and designed the interior all by hand from scratch, resulting in an authentic French style. “I try my best to use the freshest ingredients in my dishes, and although my Chinese is poor, I am able to communicate to my customers through my food.” Although he was speaking English during the course of the interview, his heavy French accent was still evident, and highlighted just how much he loves this piece of land. But going back to what he said in the beginning, surrounding oneself by the mountains and beautiful sea view, whilst enjoying some good food, is the ultimate luxury in life.