Hi world travel friends!
This is yet another continuation of the Taiwan travel series. This time it’s about a little place that’s a good 2.5 hour bus ride away from Taipei city, Jiu Feng old street.
We took the bus from Dr. Sun Yat Sun station but they also offer bus rides there from Taipei City Hall station.
You’ll know you arrived when you end up at the top of a giant mountain with the most gorgeous view of a country landscape. After a short walk up the drop off point, you’ll come to the entrance of the street. This is one of the busiest spots of the street because there are tourists and tour guides at every turn. Plus, everyone wants to take a picture at the Jiu Feng old street sign.
Across the street you’ll see a bake shop. There will be many stalls selling “sun cake” pastries throughout the old street but residents say that you have to go to this bake shop instead because it’s the best.
A good thing to keep in mind when buying edible souvenirs from Taipei is that pastries expire quick so come close to the end of your trip!
Once you step through the arch of the entrance way, you are greeted with street stalls galore. There’s food and souvenir shops at left, right and center. It’s actually all quite overwhelming if you’re not used to crowded spaces.
The first thing we decided to get were the small conchs. There are numerous stalls selling these but you need to make sure that you’re going to ones that are serving them fresh! They also ask if you want to have it seasoned with salt and pepper which is nice.
One of my favorite things at Jiu Feng Old street are the “mochis.” It’s a stall with a dozen people making and selling green mochi. It might sound strange that it’s green but the colour comes from mugwort, a herb that’s good for you.
You may be used to having sweet mochis but they also offer savory ones here. These include ones with carrot shreds, pickled cabbage, and salty green bean. But of course they offer the traditional sweet green and red bean ones as well.
My favorite ones to get are the salty ones because it’s so hard to get them else where!
At 10NT each, we sort of went overboard and ended up buying 14 of them. No regrets though as they made great breakfasts and snacks for the next few days.
From what we noticed, the most frequently occurring food item at stands were the fish balls and tapioca meat balls. I didn’t have any interest in either of them because they’re not as unique as the other offerings.
However, old bean didn’t agree with me on that and he went off to buy a bowl of fish balls without me! So when I found him I had to remind him of rule #1. Stay with your party and never leave your child behind!
Anyway, he was pretty proud of himself when he showed me the bowl of fish balls because apparently they only sell them in groups of 3 or 5 but he got 4. Which was only because he asked for 4 at an extra cost so we could have 2 each. I guess I can give him thoughtfulness points on that one.
After having a few snacks, old bean and I started to get full so we decided to walk around for a while first. This was when we came across came across this cave.
Old bean says that it was a trench that was used during the war so that’s why it’s so narrow and low hanging. The two of us had to duck and crouch our way through it. You really need to make an effort to not hit yourself on the head or slip from the wet stone on the ground.
On the other end of the trench, we found a huge stairway. Apparently this is a scene from the movie Spirited Away. We were debating as to whether or not we wanted to make the effort to march all the way up there but I knew that good things lie ahead so we carried on up.
This is the shop that we came for. There may be lots of taro/pumpkin soup dumpling shops all along your way up but this is the one worth going to. I’ve been here on all my visits and it never disappoints.
When you arrive, you can order the dessert soup hot or cold in two sizes. The bowl comes with a variety of cooked beans, taro mochi, pumpkin mochi and matcha mochi.
They’re all so deliciously soft and I can’t get enough of them.
The other thing that makes this shop the best is that you can get a spot with a view of the water and mountains. These spots are harder to get but the turnover rate for seating goes quick and it’s worth the wait.
Another thing that Jiu Feng Old Street is famous for are their old teas. They have lots of tea shops that serve tea the most traditional way. In the shop they have rows of coal that are used for heating up the tea pots. It’s an interesting sight to see and worth a try if you’re a tea connoisseur.
On our way back to the bus stop we made a quick stop at the ice cream wrap stall. I talk more about it on my Tonghua night market post but essential it’s a soft ice cream taco.
We ended up smuggling it onto the bus for consumption because the bus came earlier than anticipated. We got a few judgy looks since you’re not supposed to eat on the bus but no regrets especially since we were about to go on a 2 hour bus ride to Keelung.
I know I say that it’s a 2 hour bus ride, but it’s not so bad since you get to enjoy a nice view on the way down. Well, after you get over the part where you think your bus might get stuck between the roads since they are so narrow. Old bean liked looking at all the architecture and detailed artwork that were on top of all the temples. I can’t believe that they carved all of that from hand! All the pillars were so intricate looking.