Inflorescence: A Japanese Oasis飛花落院 私享日料秘境

TRANSLATION | Eugenia Yang

After fulfilling the dream of buying a piece of land in Taichung ten years ago, Sandy Wei, the director of Inflorescence, transformed the original three-section compound sitting on the hillside of Xinshe District into her own ideal architectural design and won the Platinum prize for 2021 MUSE Design Award. So take a closer look, and you will find that each corner hides Sandy’s unique style and heartfelt design.

Director of Inflorescence, Sandy Wei.

禪意美學 竹林密語

舌尖風味 五感體驗

The tearoom is a manifestation of her husband’s love.

主人風雅 款待之道

Before arriving at Inflorescence’s main building, you will walk past a wooden bridge set in between a waterfall and pond.

The Aesthetics of Zen
“Always aim for the best.” Speaking of the hardship she encountered along the way of building Inflorescence, Sandy says the reason she decides to put in so much effort is so that every single place is perfect. If anything doesn’t work, simply give it a few more tries. Enjoying the breeze under the maple trees, we look past the vast Japanese scenery and see the tearoom sitting on the other side; it is a loving gift from her husband. The name, Inflorescence, originated from the peaceful scenery described in one of Tang Dynasty poet Su Ting’s poems, which both Sandy and her husband are dearly fond of. Interestingly, when they were still constructing the first floor, a family of swallows came and built a nest. Knowing that this can be a symbol for good fortune, Sandy decided to put all construction on hold, since continuing would also mean trapping the swallows indoors. As she waited for the baby swallows to grow up, she sometimes would speak to the mother swallow. “If we finish the rest of the building next year, you are always welcome to come back.” As if destiny pulled its strings, the swallows returned next year and every year after that, as promised. In the poem, the lines describe the beautiful scene of the jacaranda, which also serves as an inspiration Inflorescence was created. After the blooming season is past, the breeze carries the flower petals to the garden and covers the whole landscape in violet, a breathtaking scene that will perhaps take shape next year. If you stand quietly by the water at Inflorescence and try to take in the gardener’s beautiful work, you will understand that the serenity you are feeling at the moment comes directly from the majestic mother nature.

An All-Around Sensory Experience
One of the reasons Inflorescence serves Japanese cuisine is because Sandy’s whole family is very fond of the city of Kyoto. However, it was a challenge to make proper Japanese food in the mountains, especially trying to deliver fresh seafood straight from the port. Luckily, she was able to overcome all the hardships. Inspired by summer sunsets, the splash of orange on the menu is a portrayal of the perfect moment when the sky and the ground are split in half by the setting sun. On the other hand, the purple version of the menu is a representation of a winter sunset, which is a gradient shade of violet. Focused on the season of sakuras, the current omakase set offers ten different dishes, with a brand new set coming in November. It is worthy to note that the main course comes in two dishes: a Japanese A5 wagyu strip steak garnished with sakura salt, Shio Kombu and yuzu pepper and a shrimp tempura dish that is coated with thin strips of taro to bring out a sweet aftertaste. Perhaps a lot of customers see it as kaiseki or traditional Japanese cuisine. But to Sandy, it is a way to better cater to the oriental way of dining. By starting off with a bowl of warm soup, the set separates food by its temperature and also emphasizes on the visualization of how the food is presented, a perfect manifestation of an all-around sensory experience.

The Elegance of Hospitality
If you pay attention to the entrance of Inflorescence, you will see a small path, which is a symbol of the complete history of the place. Originally, the path was set to be widened so that it’s directly adjacent to the road but Sandy decided against it because of the fast cars in the mountains. By making the path narrower, it will be safer for pedestrians if they decide to take the path. From the interior to the exterior, all these small details are filled with Sandy’s dedication to treat others with the best hospitality she can offer. “Touch the hearts of our guests and inspire happiness with the food we make, a guarantee that they will leave with a satisfied smile.” This is Inflorescence’s brand concept. With her eyes beaming, Sandy hopes that she will be able to stick to her plan and open her B&B next year. She also wishes that whenever Taichung is mentioned, people will immediately think of this majestic oasis hidden in the mountains, where they will be surrounded by serenity and happiness, a place that comes with the name of Inflorescence.