Waking up early the morning at Vienna Pleasance Cottage and seeing the sun rise from the distance mountain range in Nantou Taiwan was quite an experience. This magnificent but short-lived moment reminded me how short life can be and there’s more to life than just chasing paper qualifications, career advancement, money or bearing grudges over petty disagreements. Good morning to Day 2 at the minsu and we are looking forward to our tour of Hehuan Shan, CingJing Farm as well as 2 very important meals served at Vienna – our breakfast & dinner!
After a quick wash up, I left the room first with my trusty handy cam to snap a comprehensive walk-through from the main entrance of the minsu to our room. Did you catch the heart-warming morning greeting from Xue Li Jie?
By the time I was done and back to the dining hall, my travel mates were just stepping out from our room!
Being the only guests during the low peak period in January, we had the luxury to choose any seats we want. The fake fireplace proved to be a pretty cosy corner.
Our 4 course 爱心 breakfast consisting of salad, toast, egg, bacon, sausages and a hot beverage of our choice was served shortly. Simple fare but very nicely presented.
Sipping a warm cup of coffee along the balcony while appreciating the cherry blossoms made my breakfast so much more special.
I make it a point to check out Momo the cat at his usual spot.
I still fondly remember Momo sitting quietly in my lap while we move back and forth gently on the garden swing. Glazing at the majestic mountains in the distance, I wish this carefree moment would last forever.
Our moment of peace (Mine alone, Momo seem more than happy to be left on his own) was disturbed by the arrival of our Tour Bus for Hehuan Shan. Tata for now, we will be back for dinner.
Vienna Pleasance Cottage in the evening exudes yet a different charm.
We were so glad to be back after a full day of activities from Hehuan Shan to CingJing Farm and finally a slow relaxing trek down to the minsu.
Behold the menu for the evening! Our preferred steamboat has been pre-ordered in the morning before we set for the tour.
Xue Li Jie doing up the final touches before dishing out our steamboat.
Priced at only NTD$300 (S$12.50), this elaborate steamboat set dinner was a steal!
I ordered the 燒酒鸡 steamboat. Shao jiu 燒酒 literally means ‘liquor that burns’ in mandarin and they are worthy of their reputation with extremely high alcohol content of 50% or more. Having braved the snowy ice-caps on Hehuan Shan, the presence of liquor in this tasty soup base warmed my inside and also made my face go red! A number of Chinese herbs also went into the soup making this quite a ‘heaty’ steamboat but I knew what I was in for when I ordered it. The chicken was surprisingly tender, I always thought that kampong chicken meat was supposed to be tougher.
Damian went for the Mushroom Chicken Soup which was significantly milder in flavour compared to mine. They were really generous with the assortment of mushrooms and Chinese herbs were added in as well. This is a very healthy steamboat that probably girls will love but I like my soup base to be intense.
Slices of beef, eggs, fried tofu skin and vegetables were thoughtfully provided on the side for us to add into our steamboat.
Of course, Taiwanese rice was the stable of our meal. The next time you visit Taiwan, make it a point to sample the native produced rice on its own. I love the aroma of plain white Taiwanese grains and they pack quite a flavour on their own. Perhaps that’s the secret behind the popular Braised Pork On Rice 滷肉飯. No wonder our restaurants in Singapore can never achieve the same oomph!
We ended our dinner with a cute orange rabbit! Try doing one at home after dinner.
The auntie who prepares our meals daily shared with us that she was from Tainan. She was really grateful to the minsu owner for giving her a job and taking care for her accommodations and meals. For staffs who are not natives in Nantou, the minsu owner arranged for them to stay at a small cottage located just next to the main guest cottage. It is touching to know that there are employers who value every staff and look after their welfare rather than just trying to squeeze out every ounce of work possible and deducting staff welfare benefits from their pay simply to lower labour cost.
But of course it takes two hands to clap. I can clearly see from the auntie’s eyes that she is sincerely appreciative of her employer effort and is prepared to return the favour by working hard to deliver delicious and well-presented meals to the guests.
Probably because it was the non-peak period, the minsu owner and the staff had their dinner while we were enjoying ours as well. From their conversations and actions, it’s not difficult to tell that the team has a strong bond and extend care and concern to one another almost like a real family. I can sense that everyone is genuinely happy working at Vienna Pleasance Cottage.
I wonder if many Singapore employers have the same personal touch as well as care and concern for our staff. Many friends have complained of bosses who emphasizes solely on work performances and neglect the well-being and feelings of their employees. I know of a local start-up with amazing staffs who do not mind working till crazy hours to achieve great results for their clients. They are willing to go the extra mile because their bosses are willing to get their hands dirty, plough together through tough deadlines and in good times ever approachable to discuss concerns on a personal level.
We should perhaps reflect on how we can strengthen the bonds and rebuild the trust between management and staff. Let’s not take good work for granted and be quick to pinpoint on mistakes. Take the additional effort to better understand your staffs’ development objectives and offer opportunities for growth in their preferred area as and when possible.
Because the minsu owner takes care of staff like Xue Li Jie and the auntie from Tainan, they feel valued. Hence they are more than happy to go out of their way to delight guests and that in turn creates a strong differentiating factor from the rest of the minsu nearby. Satisfied customers like myself will definitely recommend Vienna Pleasance Cottage to friends who are planning to visit CingJing, Nantou in Taiwan.
If you are interested to find out more about Vienna Pleasance Cottage, read more here
You may also like to check out my posts on other exciting travel destinations here