Green Hornet Café Capers Hit Taipei

An American comic-book film brings fame to a Taiwanese actor, and a Canadian ex-pat pays homage

For Taiwanese pop star and budding Hollywood actor Jay Chou, appearing in ''The Green Hornet'' fulfilled one of his childhood dreams — to imitate Bruce Lee’s kung fu skills and one day bring his own musical talents to the screen.

Well, in the recent film, which was itself a reprise of the 1966-1967 TV series, Jay Chou saw his dream come true. He is now a genuine Hollywood star, at least in the eyes of his fans in Taiwan and China.

Chou’s performance in the movie was praised by some critics and derided by others, but co-star Seth Rogen made up for everything by coming to Taipei to pal around with Chou and tell the Chinese-language media that they were ''best friends."

"The Green Hornet" was Chou's first Hollywood film, and still wet behind the years in his early 30s, he's on board for the sequel.

Cue the theme music and now enter the Green Hornet Café in Taipei.

Yes, a 40-something Canadian expat with the aptronymic name of Peter Dearman has opened up the restaurant serving simple Tex-Mex and American dishes he prepares himself, and the whole town is making a beeline now for the aptly named café.

One of the shop's signature dishes is steamed mussel soup, which Dearman cooks up in homage to of one of his own favorite comfort foods from Nova Scotia.

Look around: Framed photos of Bruce Lee as Kato hang on the walls, and there's a poster of Jay Chou, too.

Dearman, who came to Taiwan in the late 1990s and has married into the culture, told a food critic for the Taipei Times that he chose the Green Hornet Cafe moniker because he feels that that Bruce Lee is a “fitting” cross-cultural symbol for a bistro serving Western food in Greater Asia.

Oh, and what makes the eatery a bit extra special is that dogs are allowed. No, they're not on the menu, but they're allowed to lounge around on the floor beside their owners, as patrons nosh on nachos — with naches — from Taiwan.

"Green Hornet" director Michel Gondry hasn't been spotted yet at Dearman's domain, but when the movie's sequel opens in 2012, expect the gossip mags to dish the when and where.

BIO Dan Bloom

Dan Bloom is a freelance writer based in Asia since 1991. During a five-year stint in Tokyo, he covered the triumphs (and occasional failures) of Hollywood movies in Japan and interviewed American actors passing through Tokyo on film promotion tours, including Billy Crystal, Robin Williams and Kevin Costner.