Taiwan Day 5 – Taipei JiuFen 九份
Jiu Fen – an old town that was built during the Qing Dynasty, once famous for gold mining and is now a tourist attraction. The most popular shopping area is Jiufen Old Street (九份老街), the narrow alleys are filled with shops, restaurants, café and souvenir shops, with the breath-taking mountain and ocean view of Keelung sea right in sight.
JiuFen, or ‘nine portions’ when literally translated from Chinese, referred to the nine families that stayed there, at a time when the out-of-the-way location made transportation extremely inconvenient for routine grocery shopping. It then always came down to one representative to do the purchasing for all nine families, with their nine portions of groceries – and that was the beginning of JiuFen.
Famous snacks can be found along the alley, like JiuFen Traditional Bean curd (九份豆花), Old junction Beef Noodles (旧道口牛肉面) and Ah po fish soup阿婆鱼羹, just doors apart.
Old Junction Beef Noodles (旧道口牛肉面)
The very first shop when you enter the shopping alley, the sitting capacity is limited and you got to be lucky enough to get a table. The broth was the highlight that was full of flavour and tantalising, beef was scrumptious and a fulfilling local delicacy that you must try.
JiuFen Traditional Bean curd (九份传统豆花)
Housed in the same shop as Old Junction Beef Noodles (旧道口牛肉面), the taro ball in the ginger broth was another dessert that’s renowned in Taipei, made of mashed taro and sweet potato flour as well as yellow sweet potato ball, the dessert was served hot in ginger soup and is truly addictive. A must try!
Ah Po Fish Soup 阿婆鱼羹
For more than half a century, Ah Po Fish Soup has been whipping up bowls after bowls of fish ball and fish paste soup. The sweetness from the soup was natural and the taste of nostalgia was alluring. Good food sometime needs not to be too fanciful; it was the simplicity and natural taste of the delicacy that conquered our taste buds.
Ah Lan Taro kueh阿兰芋头粿 / Weed grass kueh草仔粿
It was featured in the media but was not so much to our liking. The kueh was chewy with Taro or weed grass as the skin and comes with different choices of fillings eg. Turnip and red bean etc, perhaps the kueh is more suited for local tastes.
Ice cream peanut wrap
The ice cream and peanut powder were wrapped with a popiah skin. We agree this is an innovative snack that’s good for munching while sightseeing, however, it’s nothing that’s too fantastic or leave you wanting more.
Wang qing xiao zhu 忘情小築
JinFen has number of good cafés and Wang qing xiao zhu 忘情小築 attracted us with their “zen” decoration. The café was built at the edge of the mountain to provide the patrons a complete mountainous and ocean view which was magnificent and spectacular.
We ordered the San Bei chicken (三杯鸡)and the waffles as the desserts, Taiwan is famous for their San Bei chicken and true enough the three-cup chicken here was flavourful and tasty. However, the waffle was fluffy but lacking in fragrance, not too impressive.
Famous Taiwanese baker: Wu Pao Chun吳寶春麵包店
We came to know about the celebrity baker Wu Pao Chun from the uproar in his native Taiwan over rigid university entry criteria, as the predicament forced him to look overseas where he accepted an offer to study at the National University of Singapore. Of course, as Pao Chun does not operate a bakery shop here in Singapore, and we’ve had a hankering to try the baked goods from this renowned Taiwanese world champion baker ever since we first heard of him, we were determined to hunt for the bread during this trip.
Wu Pao Chun Red Wine Longan bread has won numerous medals in top world class bread making competitons. The bread itself is packed with all the freshest and finest ingredients, the crispy crust and the perfect moist texture was delightfully hearty. It is a pity that Wu Pao Chun bakery is only a bakery shop but not a café where you can sit down, enjoy their award winning bread while sipping a cup of coffee.
Wu Pao Chun Bakery Kaohsiung
Address：No.19, Siwei 3rd Rd., Lingya Dist. Kaohsiung City 802, Taiwan,
Wu Pao Chun Bakery Taipei
Address：No.88,Yanchang Rd., Xinyi
Dist., Taipei City 110, Taiwan
Li ji tai yang bing 犁记太阳饼
The layers of soft and fluffy crust were packed with buttery flavour and milk fragrance, the perfect sweetness and freshness of the paste was such a pleasant to the taste buds. This is one of the best Tai Yang Bing and our top favorite for this local snack.
From the same shop, do check it out their green bean bing 绿豆小月饼 as well, the green bean filling was perfectly done with the right sweetness and taste, the filling was encrusted in the soft, fluffy and flavourful skin making this little mooncake a sweet memory for all of us. Both snacks are worth to be brought back as gift.
Telepone: (02)2506-2255 Fax: (02)2518-3799
Operating Hours: Daily 9:00 am – 21:00 pm
We went for the famous nougats at Sugar & Spice, the original milk flavour nougats were soft and chewy and the opposite if compared to the Australia nougats which was tough and hard. You can fully appreciate the fragrance from the milk powder and the roasted almond nuts.
Check it out their website for all the branches: http://www.sugar.com.tw/
End of Day 5