Fri, Aug 01, 2003 - Page 19 News List

Restaurant: Om-A-Hum (OM阿Hum)


Green tea-flavored noodles are a route to better health at Om-A-Hum.


In the Shida area, cafes and restaurants with cozy dining areas in the guise of leafy gardens or household settings are always just around the corner. Om-A-Hum probably stands out from the rest as the most enjoyable, both in terms of its food and surroundings.

Om-A-Hum is the creation of Ren Zheng-lin (任政林), who, dealing with his father's death from cancer six years ago, realized the fragility of the human body. A friendship with a holistic healer taught him that food is the key not only to physical health but also to psychological and spiritual health. Without much hesitation, Ren turned the ground floor of his large two-story studio into a restaurant for the health-conscious.

Being an interior designer, Ren took care to show that healthy dining can go hand in hand with a fashionable environment. The large leafy space is divided into nicely arranged Nepali, Tibetan, Chinese, Mediterranean and French sections, each furnished with antique furniture from these countries, including a sculpted wooden chair the Dalai Lama graced during his visit here.

Although named after a Tantric Buddhist chant, the restaurant doesn't really have a Buddhist atmosphere. Ren plays New Age music in the afternoon and romantic songs in the evening. Even when full, the restaurant is relaxing and sitting in one of its sun-lit corners is extremely enjoyable. "According to Tantric Buddhism, `Om-A-Hum' is the most perfect and natural sound in the universe, so we'd like customers to feel this is the most soothingly natural environment," Ren said.

To make sure only the most natural things are served, Ren trains Om-A-Hum's cooks to make delicious dishes without resorting to artificial flavoring or chemical ingredients. The popular Taiwanese flavoring, miso, is strictly banned here.

Address: 6, Alley 18, Lane 60, Taishun St., Taipei (台北市泰順街60巷18弄6號)

Telephone: (02) 2362 3919

Open: 11am to 11pm

Average meal: NT$350Details: Credit Cards not accepted. Chinese menu

Chinese mahogany, which is said to prevent cancer, is a favored ingredient at Om-A-Hum. Baked rice with Chinese mahogany is a popular favorite. Although this dish contains a generous amount of cheese, it won't weigh on your stomach. The ge-da noodles are another highlight. Made with whole wheat, the heavy noodles are flavored with green tea. These are cooked with a mixture of vegetables, which in their fresh and individual flavors, taste much better than restaurant vegetables usually do.

The restaurant's menu is a blend of Chinese, Japanese, American and European cuisine. Unlike most vegetarian restaurants, its refrains from making "vegetarian meat," the bean-based slabs that imitate the taste and appearance of meat. It doesn't have to, because it can make vegetables taste better than meat.

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