AN OLD TOWN WITH SURPRISES: JIUFEN

After our journey to the Nanya Peculiar Rock (南雅海岸)and Jinguashi (金瓜石), we then headed to the one of the famous township which Jiufen (九份). It is a popular destination about an hour east of Taipei. It’s popular with tourists and locals alike, but has a certain charm to it that can’t be missed. The destination is simply popular among the tourist and I suppose a trip to Taiwan will never complete without going to Jiufen.  It is advisable not to come during weekends and Taiwan’s public holidays to enjoy the serenity of the town. Some bites on the city itself:

A little town on a mountain in Rueifang Township of Taipei County near Keelung. It is named Jiufen, means 9 portions in Chinese because there used to be only 9 families living on the mountain and as transport was not convenient then, the village would request for nine portions everytime a shipment arrived from town. 

Jiufen (九份) was only an isolated village until 1893, when gold was discovered in the area. The resulting gold rush hastened the village’s development into a town, and reached its peak during the Japanese rule. Many present features of Jiufen reflect the era under Japanese colonization, with many Japanese inns surviving to this day. During World War II, a POW camp named Kinkaseki was set up in the village, holding Allied soldiers captured in Singapore (including many British) who worked in the nearby gold mines. Gold mining activities declined after World War II, and the mine was shut off in 1971. Jiufen quickly went into decline, and for a while the town was mostly forgotten. 

In 1989, Hou Hsiao-hsien’s A City of Sadness, the first film to touch on the 228 Incident, a taboo subject in Taiwan, became a big hit in the theatres. As a result Jiufen, where the film was set, revived due to the film’s popularity. The nostalgic scenery of Jiufen as seen in the film, as well as appearances in other media, charmed many people into visiting Jiufen. For the beginning of the 1990s, Jiufen experienced a tourist boom that has shaped the town as a tourist attraction. Soon retro-Chinese style cafés, tea houses, and souvenir stores bearing the name “City of Sadness” were built.

 

Jiufen also became popular in 2001, when its downtown was used as a model in the anime movie Spirited Away. At present, Jiufen is a renowned tourist attraction representative of Taiwan. It draws many tourists from Taipei during the weekends. (extracted from Wiki)


We had started our journey and the crowd for the day is simply packed and it is indeed like sandwiches inside. There are many people heading to venture into the town like us and here our EAT, DRINK, SEE AND BUY venture now at Jiufen.

DINE

STOP 1: EAT/DRINK- COFFEE

– The Stall-

We started out with the first stall to venture which is the coffee stalls which is located at my right from the entrance. The little shop which serves own house drip coffee which I could not hesitate to get a cup of it. The coffee is being serves with fresh nice beans and the coffee is indeed good and umph..

– The Coffee-

The cup of their recommended Home Special Coffee cost me NTD 60 for a cup. The coffee taste a slight bitter sweet which is quite good and it is freshly made to serve.

STOP 2: DRINKS 

– Cute Drinks to Snap-

This is the second thing we spotted whic is some cold drinks but we did not order any. We saw it was so cute where the drinks is served in baby bottles and without hesitation, we snap them up.

STOP 3: PASTRIES **


This is one of the famous shops by the name of Old Zhen Xiang cake Shop (老珍香)  which is serving pastries. The stall is located on the left and the pastries is baked on the spot to ensure on the freshness of the pastries. One of the best selling and the recommended delights from the shop itself. The pastries are fresh and full of fragrant as well as it is spongy as well. I love the pineapple cake which is sold from the shop which we bought them back to Malaysia too.

The pastries are served in small sizes as well as in big nice boxes, and the price is about NTD 220 for 10 pcs and NTD 330 for 15 pcs for a box of 20 pieces of the pineapple cake. The pastries is simply recommended too and the packing is nice to give to friends and family.

– Pastries Made in the Kitchen-

STOP 4: PEANUT ROLL WITH ICE CREAM

Next we had the Peanut Roll with Ice cream (花生捲冰淇淋) which is simply good. It is a special combination of the rounded peanut, malt sugar, ice cream and celery leaves. It cost me about NTD 35 for one.

STOP 5: MEAT BALLS

Next stop will be the meatballs stall which they served a numerous of meatballs with different textures and flavors. The tangy meatballs is served with soup. Nothing special about it. The price is NTD50/bowl

STOP 6: DEEP FRIED SQUIDS

Just beside the stalls selling the meatballs, there is also another small stall which sells deep fried items and we made an order of the deep fried squids which is good. The squids is well deep fried till golden brown and it is then added with the mayonnaise. It is sprinkled with some condiments which is alike the Japanese restaurant served ( Some flakes) .

Price: NTD 100


STOP 7: TARO BALLS


We ended our last food trail in Jiufen with the Ah Po Taro Balls which is just normal. This is where the taro balls is served with shaves ice as well as some green beans and red beans together with it. Nothing to shout out and I still prefer Snowflakes in Malaysia.

Price: NTD 40


BUY


STOP 1: BUY- SOUVENIR

– The handmade shell items sells at NTD 100 each-

Just a few walks, we spotted the cute shop selling some gifts to bring home. You may buy some of the beautiful handmade products here too. The little stuff here is kinda nice and if you love them, you may get some of it too.
STOP 2: BUY- FLUTE

We also spotted the special shop where they sells decorative cute design of flute which can have a variety of music songs too.

Price: From NTD 100 and above.

STOP 2: BUY- OWL KEYCHAIN


I spotted the cute kitchen of owl. It is also simply beautiful and its handmade. If you love them, you can find along the streets too.

HOW TO GO THERE
By trainFrom Taipei, take the train north to Ruifang Station. From Ruifang take the Keelung Transit bus from the bus stops in front of the train station to Jiufen. Be sure to line up across the road to go to Jiufen and Jinguashi. The bus trip is roughly 15 minutes. Not all buses are equipped to show the correct driving direction or have bilingual signs.The bus stop heading to Jiufen and Jinguashi is no longer right across from the Ruifang Train Station. Instead exit the Ruifang Train Station and turn left staying on the busy street right in front of the train station. Staying on the right hand side of the street keep walking straight until you pass a police station. The bus stop heading to Jiufen and Jinguashi will located a little past the police station.
By busFrom Taipei, take the Jiufen bus no. 1062 (bus company is Keelung Bus) from the Adventist Hospital bus stop on Bade Road, east of the intersection with Fuxing Road. Alternatively, take the same bus from Songshan station or Zhongxiao Fuxing MRT station Exit #1. Cost: 102 NT$ (make sure to have the exact change or an easycard.) The journey takes a little more than 1 hour. There are great views of the valleys below on the left hand side of the bus as it ascends to Jiufen. (from Wiki)



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