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Personally I would think that visitors who come to Taipei has really had to make a trip out of the city to Jiufen Old Street. Jiufen is all about foodstalls and tea houses. So famous is Jiufen that many movies was filmed here since 1980’s.
Believe me, in Jiufen, we are at the very best of Taipei attractions! It’s just as good as Shifen and Yeliu. So much so that I visited all of them twice in 4 months!
And for those who did make the one hour trip from Taipei to Jiufen, they had only one regret : Why didn’t I come here earlier in the day? That was exactly how I felt after visiting the place.
Most of the shops here are concentrated along the 300 meters of cobblestone steps. Camera, Action! That’s exactly what visitors did the moment they enter the busy street. Shutterbugs are busy with their camera, those who are not already has their mouth filled with the many mouth-watering snacks. Everyone is spoilt for choice, there are just too many delightful snacks.
So many food stalls selling typical Taiwanese snacks, ranging from the springing fishballs ( above picture) to mochi (gelatinous deserts), along with another dozens of shops retailing Chinese tea, paintings and souvenirs.
That’s Cha Ye Dan, or Egg Boiled With Tea Leaves, cost less than TWD$30, and it’s really tasty. Eat it while it’s still hot…not warm!
Jiufen is the 3rd day of our Taipei tour, prior to being here, we have been to many night markets and even the famous Ximengting and has seen tonnes of souvenirs, but souvenir shops in Jiufen Old Street are retailing many things you could not find elsewhere.
So if you come across anything you like, just grab it, for once you leave this place it’s ‘game over’- you won’t be able to get the souvenir elsewhere.
If you have missed out on getting that iconic Sky Lantern at Shifen, get it now at Jiufen Old Street, there are plenty here, the price is the same.
Word of advice: Keep your stomach near empty before coming to Jiufen Old Street. With more than a hundred eateries, you could actually pick-up any snack you like along the way and continue with another, which is what we did. The snack here doesn’t cost much, averaging TWD$50 or USD$1.60 each. All in all, we spent TWD$1,200 on just the snacks alone. Mind you, Taipei is known to be famous for its night market snacks, but somehow I found those in Jiufen Old Street had a higher quality, most of which is not available in Taipei night markets too.
A stall with food so famous that even current Taiwanese President Ma Ying Jiu had visited before. The queue is extra-ordinary long, we are curious about it, so…… we joined the queue.
After 20 minutes of queuing, we finally got our serving. Not sure what went into it, but wow……the taste was really good, no wonder the long queue. Where Taipei food and snack is concerned, just eat it if you think you like it, never even bother to ask what’s that?
Jiufen is actually a very much unknown town at the far end of Taiwan until gold was discovered in 1893. The gold has since depleted in the early 1970’s. What is left today was a very much touristy site.
Perhaps, the most interesting part of Jiufen Old Street is the many narrow lanes which snakes around. Takeaway the lovely snacks and tea, the place would be left with no tourist. We visited it on a weekend, and was rather surprised to see most visitors were Taiwanese themselves, mainland Chinese and the Koreans. There were very few Caucasians around.
The only problem with Jiufen Old street is the steep and narrow lanes, with many down slopes and stairs to climb. If you had come with some seniors, toddler or the physically impaired, it could be a very challenging trip, you might want to leave them at the entrance, which many did, while the adults and children dashes around the shops and lanes like schoolboy going into a candy shop.
Walk straight since entering the lanes would lead you to the observation post. This is one of the main attractions of Jiufen Old Street. Out of a sudden the majestic view of Jiufen is unfold right in front of you. Many are stunt by the view, though it is still quite cloudy, considered that typhoon is still around the corner.
It’s a must too to have a drink at A Mei Tea House.
For more about A Mei Tea House, do read my other follow-up post.
This staircase is the most iconic and popular photography hotspot of Jiufen Old Street, it’s a must to be picture here.
Above picture: The historical ShenPing Theatre. There were a numbers of teahouses around here, get into one if you were tired. I hate this blue coloured lorry, it parked there loading goods for a very long period and totally disfigured the scenic view.
It was already near 2pm, we had spent almost 2 hours just in this Jiufen Old Street, yet there were so many more places to go. We were told that there was a route leading to the bus stop not far away from the Sheng Ping Theatre. But after following the directions and walked 5 minutes through some narrow lanes, we were exhausted, so we turned back to the Sheng Ping Theatre and walked all the way back to the entrance of Jiufen Old Street. So beware, if you had taken a hundred steps down the steep stairs, now it’s pay back time. At Jiufen Old Street, visitors actually exited where they entered.
Having reached the entrance of Jiufen Old Street, we decided to proceed to Jinguashi– a former gold and copper mining area and the famous Golden Waterfall.
Check-it-out in the upcoming post!
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