maeli taiwanese food market


Maeli Market reinvents the sights, smells, colors and flavors of Taiwan and transports them into the heart of Toronto. It attracts a sizable Asian client base, diverse local community members and foodies of every stripes.

A shifting backdrop along the east wall of the shop invoking Taiwan’s dense landscape of lush and verdant peaks recalls Taiwan’s mountainous landscape. Against that setting, the shop evokes Taiwanese night markets with rolling carts, individual stalls featuring different foods and omnipresent greenery. The individual rolling millwork stalls set at varied heights and organized around planters feature products while also providing ad hoc seating. Behind the cashier, a wall of planters offers fresh herbs to supply the final ingredients.

A dramatic open-to-view chef space with a full commercial kitchen has been installed within an abstractly Taiwan-shaped stone centrepiece at the heart of the market. Together with the hanging bamboo lanterns created for the various market places within the shop by noted Taiwanese bamboo artist Cheng Tsung-Feng, it contributes one more affectionate hidden reference to Taiwan, its food, culture and history. Many forms that appear throughout the shop - like baskets shaped like a pineapple’s outer shell - are otherwise inspired by the tropical fruits of Taiwan. The market was designed around a large fruit tree and the serves as both places to sit and present food.  Materials such as the stone for the feature sink island were carefully chosen to recall the patina of a ceramic teapot. The depth and subtle color mix of olives and browns summons the nostalgia of the ancient tea shops still to be discovered off small lanes. Taiwan’s ubiquitous terracotta paving and roofing tiles also appear.

photography by Scott Norsworthy
















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