Finding new friends in a new city can be tough if you don’t know where to look, and Taipei is no exception. That’s why we were excited to discover an unsuspecting cafe called MOJO 1921 that runs frequent language exchange events, and yes locals and expats are very welcome to meet up, share and practice each other’s language as well as make new friends.
MOJO 1921 is attached to the side of the Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei, which made a convenient and wonderful break for us after we had finished looking around the museum. The cafe isn’t part of the Museum at all. It’s an independent coffee shop that doesn’t charge expensive museum-funding prices despite it technically being housed within the museum.
Getting to the cafe is pretty easy, it’s about a 3-minute walk from the Zhongshan MRT and a 7-minute walk from Taipei Main Station.
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1. The Language Meetup Events
Language Exchange Meetups
The language exchange event is free to attend although you must at least order a drink. The event is hosted by Language Garden 語言花園 every Wednesday night from 7pm to 10pm.
The Language Garden is a community created for language-lovers, however, anyone who’s interested is welcome to join the language exchange party – and it’s not just limited to Chinese and English.
Although this weekly event is a good way to practice various languages, it also makes an ideal way to meet and befriend other expats and locals. On their official meetup page, it’s even expressed that one of their goals is to build a friendly community that members can exchange knowledge, information, and experiences that may benefit others.
Joining the event is easy. Simply use your smartphone to scan the QR Code on their language meetup poser (shown above) and you’ll receive a LINE message with the event details as well as a link to sign up. The details are in Chinese when you receive the message, but the link will bring you to an English webpage.
If you don’t have the LINE messenger app, you can download it from the App Store and the Google Play store.
The name MOJO 1921 is taken from the first two words of the abbreviation ‘MOCA’ of the Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei.
As for MOJO, it’s to express a vibe of ‘more joy’. It’s also the source of charm and vitality from the movie Austin Powers. The year 1921 was included to commemorate the completion year of the building by the Japanese.
The cafe is pretty huge due to the tall ceiling architecture of the museum’s building – making it an ideal place to hold meetup events and live performances.
On top of that, it also makes a spacious working environment to zone out and work away without getting distracted due to how spacious it is. The staff was super friendly as they never bothered us no matter how long we were there. They have wifi and power sockets around – making studying or working here super ideal.
In case you’re looking for toilets, they’re just around the corner by the left-hand side since they share them with the museum.
What We Ordered
We found that MOJO 1921 isn’t just a coffee shop. They also make an awesome restaurant that serves alcohol in case you wanted a boozy brunch which is a bit of a rarity in Taipei.
Here’s what we went for…
Both of our coffees from the Vienna range are available hot or cold, and also with the option of having cinnamon or chocolate sprinkled on top of the cream toppings.
● On the left is the cold Vienna Coffee Latte ($150): This latte contains one espresso shot that blends in with the thick cream topping, giving it a very smooth and creamy taste with every sip we took – so delicious!
You get the option to stir it as a spoon comes with the drink, but we chose not to as we felt it was better to sip the latte through the unbroken thick cream to get the best taste out of it.
● On the right is the cold Vienna Coffee ($150): This coffee contains two espresso shots however, it didn’t taste that strong since it also comes with a thick cream topping that we didn’t mix in, so it had a smooth and subtle creamy taste in each sip.
We felt we got the best of both worlds with this coffee since it was a stronger coffee, but also doesn’t leave out the creaminess that you get from a latte.
Honey Lemon Coffee ($130)
The last coffee we tried was served refreshingly chilled and Sparkling – there isn’t an option for hot with this coffee.
We loved how creative it was as it’s carefully layered with three tiers of cream, one shot of espresso, and a thick base of honey which you can notice in the after-taste.
The three tiers of flavor blended very well together in each sip, along with the subtle note of lemon that sits on top.
Herbal Tea ($200)
We ended up being at MOJO 1921 for quite a while as we were working. Therefore we decided to check out the tea when it came round to our next drinks.
Since we wanted to be relaxed, we went for the ‘Relief Tea’ from the menu. It came as a large teapot with two glass teacups.
You could say that $200 isn’t cheap, although it served us many cups of flavorful tea for the rest of the time we were there. We enjoyed this tea as it was slightly sweet and minty on the tongue.
This particular tea lives up to its name as the herbal and minty taste left us feeling pretty relaxed for the entire afternoon.
Baked Curry ($209)
They also offer set dishes that come with a drink worth $80, and since our coffees cost more than that, we only had to pay the difference.
The baked curry is a mildly spicy Japanese rice curry that also happens to be their signature dish. We were delighted to find the baked cheese on top was rich and very thick!
There’s a half-cooked egg in the center of the curry-soaked rice. We only noticed it when we broke the yolk after scooping through the baked cheese topping.
As you could imagine, having the yolk soak in with the curry rice made this curry amazing.
Curry Udon ($229)
We also chose the other Japanese noodle-based curry which comes as mildly spicy in a sweet soup with a half-cooked egg on top.
This dish felt much lighter than our first curry. It had a different range of juicy and sweet flavors as the sweet soup mixed well with garlic, mushrooms, tomatoes, and lettuce.
We found the noodles were soft and not chewy at all. The pork meat was fresh and full of flavor which made an amazing combination with the soup and fresh vegetables.
Basque Burnt Cheesecake ($115)
Since the desserts were surprisingly cheap, we were tempted into buying a couple from the menu.
The cake was moist and soft to cut through. It was rich and creamy with a nice cheesy aftertaste that lasted a while in our mouths after each bite.
We found the portions were noticeably small which justifies the prices of the desserts. Despite that, we still managed to share and enjoy these little treats between the two of us.
This dessert is a cake (not a cookie). It’s made with layers of almond and hazelnut meringue which had a warm and crispy surface. It had roasted tea green tea custard inside which felt colder the more we bit into the middle.
We felt this treat had the best value for money. This is because despite being a small treat, we still got to enjoy its sweetness between us after already being satisfied with our curry meals.
If you’re visiting the Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei, then it’s well worth visiting MOJO afterward or before. Not only is it surprisingly inexpensive, but the coffees and meals, and desserts are creative and delicious.
What wins us over is the comfortable and spacious environment. The cafe is super ideal to work or chill with friends over decent food and drinks.
Will we go back?
For sure! We’re looking out for the next language meet-up event as interested to join it.
Telephone: 02 2559 5446
Reach them on Social Media:
Facebook: MOJO 1921
English address: No. 39, Chang’an West Road, Datong District, Taipei City, 10351
Chinese address: 10351台北市大同區長安西路39號
Closest MRTs: Zhongshan Station (4 mins exit 1) & Taipei Main Station (8 mins from M2)
🗓️ Updated: April 2021 – Taipei.Expats
Awesome info on a cool was for networking and language exchange!!
Btw, there’s also a group dedicated to it too – and it’s gaining a lot of members: