Tucked away in the unlikeliest of places, Eddie’s Cafe is located where the old Chenggong Market used to stand before it moved to its new location. My mother used to take me shopping with her there and on Saturday evenings I attended art classes on the very same street, but I was never allowed to venture beyond its borders. Twenty years later, the promise of coffee and dessert baited me back to what as a child was once forbidden territory. And ever since, I’ve returned time and again to my now best-loved cafe in Keelung.
Three or four years ago as I was taking my friend there for the first time, she held me with a suspicious look. “You’re lost, aren’t you?” she said. “Really, a café here?”. But moments later, a bite of tiramisu in our mouths and a steaming coffee on the side, she proclaimed that it was good that she’d accompanied me down the alley!
Some people have said that Eddie (the owner and namesake of the café) is a bit of a grump. But from my many visits, I can assure you that that is simply not true at least where his customers are concerned. It’s just that Eddie adopts a very do-it-yourself style of service — he welcomes you into his café and invites you to pick any free table you like. From there on in, though, it is all up to you.
Grab a pen and paper from the counter; you can’t miss it because of the jars filled with coffee beans lined up like little glass soldiers. Then start checking out the drinks menu for the various types of coffee on offer; while the dessert menu is written in colorful marker on the huge blackboard on the counter. When you have decided on a favorite coffee, jot it down on your slip of paper and hand it over to Eddie. If you want something to go with your coffee, make sure to also write that down alongside your coffee order.
Now that the hard work is done, all that is left to do is sit back and chill. Eddie will bring you your coffee (in a cute little retro mug) and, if you ordered it, your dessert – I cannot think of a more relaxing way to spend an afternoon.