0 In Asia/ Ron Travels/ Taiwan

TAIWAN: Juifen Old Street

The odds continue to not be in our favor as the day progressed. It rained all throughout the afternoon as we head to Keelung from Yehliu. The Keelung Harbour was one of our stops that day but we had to give that a miss since coast + rain don’t mix together. We still went to Keelung via Bus 790 from the Yehliu stop for 30 NTD. We were shivering with feet soaked (*jimmy fallon voice* ew!) and tried to find a place to have lunch at 2pm. But alas, the mongolian restaurant we wanted was nowhere to be found. We even got lost thanks to our inability to speak and read Taiwanese, we finished two routes of Bus 501. After a quick munch at McDonald’s in Keelung, we walked to the bus stop across the Keelung Station and waited for Bus 788 which will directly take us to Jiufen for 30 NTD.

Jiufen Old Street

Old Jiufen Street

The night came fast and we were traversing the narrow and winding road to Jiufen. Think Baguio City (Philippines). If it is in daylight, you will see the cliffs and the Santorini-like vibe of the houses on the side of the mountain. Jiufen’s, however, is a much vibrant, colored version unlike Santorini’s white-and-blue palette. We alighted at the Jiufen Old Street stop where you can see a 7/11 with a street opening just beside it. That’s where you’ll start and end.

Old Jiufen Street

A pungent smell welcomed us as we entered the narrow street. I recognized it quickly as the stinky tofu and said it out loud, so the woman selling them enthusiastically repeated “stinky tofu” to us until we bought one. I pushed Lloyd to try one because I’m that friend, haha. Surprisingly, despite the horrible smell, my friends liked it. To quote, “It is much better than a regular tofu in taste, especially the spicy ones. The sweet-and-sour pickled cabbage, it is served with, also made it extra appetizing. Must try.” – Lloyd, 2016

While they were busy eating the stinky tofu, just beside it is a snack that I’ve been excited to try since the beginning of our research phase, the peanut brittle crepe. It is basically shaved peanut brittle in a thin crepe / spring roll wrap with an ice cream and the choice of putting cilantro/coriander. My friend ordered one without the herb so I decided to have one on mine, bad choice. I don’t like the herb. But if you do like coriander, it will actually give a fresh and minty oomph to this ice cream burrito. It is simple and straightforward but I like the convenience of eating ice cream and peanut in a wrap (despite the weather). It really is a fun snack. Something you can mindlessly nibble while strolling through the old street.

Old Jiufen Street

Old Jiufen Street

Old Jiufen Street

Two scoops of ice cream on top of shaved peanut brittle on top of a spring roll wrap, ready to roll and serve.

Old Jiufen Street

Blogger duties and being caught mid-munch.

Old Jiufen Street

Old Jiufen Street

Out of all the local snacks I’ve tried in Taiwan, this is probably my most favorite one sans coriander. I tried searching for this at the other night markets that we visited to my dismay. Sob.

Moving on. We continued our way up to the very end of the street. We initially thought that there would be a bus stop for us to make our way home from the other side, but it became a residential area. So we just traced our steps back and went out of the same place where we started.

Old Jiufen Street

Old Jiufen Street

Old Jiufen Street

可爱!

Old Jiufen Street

Old Jiufen Street

Of chicken

Old Jiufen Street

fruits

Old Jiufen Street

and snails. You know, normal stuff.  ಠ_ಠ

Old Jiufen Street

Old Jiufen Street

Jiufen Old Street is essentially a night market. Taiwan is very famous for their night markets and Jiufen’s might be the most traditional one. In the sense that you can immerse in their culture just by being here. The lanterns, local products and the variety of local delicacies they have to offer, will surely make you feel like you’re in a different era.

That has been our 1st day in Taiwan. We returned to Taipei via Bus 1062. We alighted at the bus’ last stop which is very near to the Zhongxiao Fuxing station. From there, we took the MRT to Ximen.

How To Get There

If you’re following our itinerary from Yehliu:

  • At the Yehliu bus stop, take Bus 790 towards Keelung Train Station (Ocean Plaza).
  • Across the Keelung Station is the bus stop for Bus 788 to Jiufen.
  • Alight at Jiufen Old Street (landmark: 7/11).

See you on Day 2 as we start to conquer Taipei.

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