In the otherwise sleepy Minsheng Community neighborhood, you’ll find a quiet buzz surrounding a shop on the north-west corner of Minsheng Park. Step closer and it suddenly makes sense. This is the SunnyHills shop that opened in 2010.
There’s a buzz because Taiwan’s top pineapple cake brand gives out a complimentary pastry and bottomless tea to every single customer who walks through its doors. Generous or insane? You decide.
The shop was packed on a rainy Thursday afternoon. Taxi drivers were waiting patiently outside, while inside, the long communal tables were fully seated with tourists carrying guidebooks, shopping bags and wet umbrellas.
The service is swift at the SunnyHills shop. This small platter with a single pastry and hot tea was set in front of me within 30 seconds of sitting down.
You could easily imagine it getting loud in there — there is free stuff being given away, after all.
But the interior design of the store is so peaceful, organic and expensive-looking that it feels like a museum cafe. Or a high-end tea shop. Despite the fact you’re surrounded by dozens of people in every direction.
They sell just a few items: The signature pineapple pastry in boxes of 10 or 15. A six-pack case of pineapple juice for 300NT. And a small bag of oolong tea for 500NT.
I would say some, but definitely not most of the visitors to the shop ended up making a purchase.
After visiting the SunnyHills shop, head a few doors east to the Sometimes Red Bean stand for a crispy “hot wheel cake”. You’ll hit two worthy Taiwanese snack shops in the same hour. So productive.
SunnyHills also runs stores in Kaohsiung, Shanghai, Singapore, Tokyo and Hong Kong. You’ll find the same level of hospitality in those locations.