May 22, 2010

Jiufen Old Street


Jiufen, overlooking the ocean, like the nearby towns Jinguashi and Shuinandong, was a gold mine and major coal production area in Taiwan. These towns were the important coal mining ruins with precious mining relic and coal landscape. Jiufen is one of the tourist places in Taiwan attracting people from Japan and Hong Kong the most. Jiufen has changed itself from a small mountain town to a popular tourist spot because the movie “City of Sadness” was filmed there.

Photo by Tony


The Jiufen Old Street usually refers to the areas of Shuqi Road and Jishan Street. Shiqui Road was the baojia Road which was used by the troops during the Qing Dynasty for garrison purposes. It was a stone paved road which was the major gateway for the local residents to reach to the port for their living supplies. Now Shiqui Road is filled with a variety of tea houses, coffee shots, lodgings, and craft stores.



Come to Shuqi Road. You have to spend time in a tea house by drinking a couple of good tea while enjoying the scenery.

PS: It is very crowded during weekends. It’s better to come here during weekdays in order to relax.


Jishan Street was the major business street in Jiufen where grocery stores, restaurants and entertainment places were located. The nightlife attracts crowds. Due to the frequent rains in Jiufen, the stores on the street built the rain canopy outside, which formed a faint alley, it is also known as “Dark Alley”.

Photo by Tony


Jishan Street is still the liveliest street now. Lots of local snacks are available, such as Glutinous Rice Cake, Taro Glutinous Rice Cake, Hongzao (Oxo Cubes) Meatball, and cold or hot Taro Rice Balls…etc. The street is filled with delicious snacks. Almost every tourist who comes to Jiufen would taste all those above.

Photo by PYOCO


Jiufen Taro Rice Ball has become a symbol of Jiufen local snack by accident. Founder of the Taro Rice Ball was making them for the family. Due to good feedbacks, he started to sell them. From there, Jiufen Taro Rice Ball became popular in Taiwan. The taro material comes from Tachia Taichung. In order to maintain the texture of taro, every process needs to be examined carefully. Although now we can eat Jiufen Taro Rice Ball all over in Taiwan, they still do not have the same flavor and texture as those of the local Jiufen.

Photo by Tony


Hongzao (Oxo Cubes) Meatball is another popular local snack in Jiufen. The stuffed meatball is made with pork salted with Hongzao. It is steamed with fresh bamboo shoot threads. The meatball looks so clear and full. It tastes so good. Try to enjoy it together with a bowl of fish ball soup or pork ball soup.


The houses in Jiufen were built on the hills. There are many small alleys connected to the paralleled Jishan and Shiqui Streets in order to save time for the residents to walk from one street to another. These small alleys in the front or the back of the house are named “Penetrating House Alley”.


“Penetrating House Alley” can be very narrow which only fits one person; it can be very steep and tortuous; it can also be very pitch dark. They are very unique. It is very interesting that you may be walking through someone’s living room or gate without noticing it.

Photo by Tony


After the dusk, the lights are up. This is the most beautiful moment of Jiufen. There are many places available for lodging. Many tourists like to stay overnight to enjoy the evening atmosphere here.


I agree that Jiufen is bit too commercialized. It is also too crowded during weekends, which scares me. However, most of the tourists stay in the Jiufen Old Street. In fact, the nearby Jinguashi, Shuinandong townships are also beautiful. Let me share them with you all later!

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dennis said...

i had read about jeo-fern a few times now on different blogs and seen many pictures of it, i must say the place looks really really interesting, definitely a place i must visit! not to mention that im a big fan of taro and sweet potato balls yummm~~~ which i must mention that it's a bit mean of u to post a picture of it, coz i cant stop drooling >_< great post thank you =)

Rafael Lam said...

I only went to Taiwan two times but I also went to Jiufen two times,
because I really like here, is so special
I've walking around those small alleys from the top of the hill to the bottom,
besides the shops, the old resident houses are really interesting!
I still remember a nice tea house and restaurants there!

shloke said...

Very interesting! Four things that caught my attention:

1) Jiufen Taro Rice Ball (It looks like 汤圆)
2) Yummylicious Hongzao Meatballs (GULP!)
3) Penetrating House Alley (Kind of creepy and dangerous...especially during earthquakes)
4) Night view (Fabulous!!!)

Taiwan ROCKS!

Anonymous said...



Anonymous said...

I absolutely love these narrow streets, and yes, even if they are crowded. There is something very comforting in living in such a small place and be surrounded by people all the time. Although I'm not sure I'd walk the tiny path when it's pitch-dark :-D

The night view is beautiful!

kristen and micki said...

@Dennis- Ha! Sorry for the drooling~~ ;o) Don’t forget to visit Jiufen when you come!

@Rafael- Jiufen must be very special to you! I am so glad that you had a great time there.

@ Mylo- Impressive! you are so good at summarizing. You must be a very organized person!

@Londoncaller- Jiufen has a great ocean view! Still 有山有水唷 :) I would like to see the 礦湖 in Malaysia!

@Zhu- People in Taiwan are very friendly and hospitality. Be around with them indeed is another enjoyment. Living in a small town is my style too~~ :):)

Todd said...

Lovely photos! Jiufen has a very special charm to it. I've been there twice and am already looking forward to a future visit.

kristen and micki said...

Thanks Todd! Indeed Jiufen does have an irresistible charm!

Anonymous said...

Ha ha... The sea is much better than the lake!
There's a famous ex-mining lake in Malaysia called Tasik Biru (lit Blue Lake).

If you're interested, you can have follow the link below (from Flikr):

kristen and micki said...

Hi, Londoncaller Thanks for the flickr pictures. What a beautiful blue lake! Amazing color! It's hard to believe it was an mining area..

Fili said...

Great post, and the photos are terrific.
I don't think it's overcommercialized, I liked the general atmosphere there and I think it still has a lot of charm.
A nice little place to visit.


kristen and micki said...

@Fili- Thanks! Jiufen is such a nice place, but I think it attracts too many tourists which may affect the tourism quality. Weekdays in Jiufen are much better. I personally prefer going to Jinguashi!:)

Dave said...

I'll always remember our time at Jiufen old street.

We were moving and exploring the stairs and alleys when a phrase from one of my favourite movies flashed into mind:

"C'os people do live there!"

Taking snapshots at the start of the old street, we descended quickly behind a gate down an alley. A lady resident appeared and cautioned us against moving deeper - which we were not!

That was apparently local property - not open for tourists haha! Oops sorry! ;-)

kristen and micki said...

@ Dave-You had that experience too~~ Thanks for sharing! I am glad that you had a great time there!

France Abbeys said...

I have to confess that I've never heard about Jiufen, but I'm so glad that I know about it now! I will spend a few weeks in Taiwan this summer, and I really want to see this lovely little town!

kristen and micki said...

Thanks! France Abbeys, wishing you a great time in this lovely town for the upcoming summer trip!

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