Taipei – The Non-Night Market Edition8 February, 2016
Taipei? Been there done that. Fried sausages? Check. Fried chicken? Check. Everyone knows Taipei for its exciting night markets and delicious street food- A bustling metropolis populated with street-side hawkers on nearly every road junction, it’s definitely one place to get fed (fat) in. Yet, food aside, there’s certainly much more to discover in Taipei for the traveller who’s been to the city multiple times. Macchiato cream cocktails? A private gold ore museum? Bring it on, we’re ready to rediscover Taipei!
- Indulge in hipster drinks at 1914 Huashan Creative Park
A former winery, this creative park is every hipster’s go-to place for that perfect OOTD shot. If your picture-taking/editing knowledge is limited to the Camera apps on your iPhone, have no fear, you can still enjoy the various exhibitions and industrial-style art environment of the 1914 Huashan Creative Park, while grabbing a draft beer at one of its many drinking holes. The friendly people at Marula Cafe & Cocktails offered us their Christmas special shots- Cranberry vodka with honey, topped with delicious macchiato cream AND lime shavings. Imagine a perfect marriage between a Gong Cha macchiato and your favourite speakeasy bar cocktail- Mmhmm, we’re definitely up for this one.
1914 Huashan Creative Park: No. 1, Section 1, Bade Rd, Zhongzheng District (華山1914文化創意產業園區, 1號八德路一段)
Getting there: Zhongxiao Xinsheng Station (忠孝新生) metro station, Exit 1 (~400m walk from station)
- Watch a street protest/demonstration.
Taipei is generally quite liberal with its political scene- On one Saturday afternoon in Ximending, we spotted a troop of youth demonstrators stomping through the streets with their banners and shoving party flyers into the hands of passersby. You probably won’t be catching such political action any time soon in Singapore, so step back onto the sidewalks and experience the strong vocal opinions of these young Taiwanese political activists.
- Visit a private gold ore museum.
The Jiufen Gold Ore Museum (a short walk from Jiufen Old Street) is a private museum preserving the gold mining heritage of 3 family generations. The family’s descendant, also the private museum’s guide, showed us around his ancestors’ mining equipment and tools, with rock collections that still contain gold remnants. Unlike typical museums we are accustomed to, the private collection contains multiple preserved photographs of the yester-years, as our guide relates personal stories of his family heritage and business. Watch out for his tips on how to differentiate “real” and “fake” gold-containing rocks- They may come in handy one day if you decide to embark on a gold panning expedition.
By Bus: Taipei MRT Zhongxiao-Fuxing Station -> Keelung Bus Route 1062 to Ruifang -> Exit Jinguashi Station
By Train: Exit Ruifang Station -> Transfer to Bus Route 788 (Weekdays) / Bus Route 825 (Weekends) to Ruifang -> Exit Jinguashi Station
- Test your stomach limits.
While we all have had our fair share of gorging on scrumptious street snacks in Taipei’s night markets, Jiufen Old Street boasts a large variety of snacks as well, with some of them being… Somewhat dubious. While these red date pork orbs (紅糟肉圓) are apparently Jiufen’s specialty snacks, they do resemble a batch of soon kuehs gone wrong. Perhaps we’ll stick to our grilled squid and fried pancakes in Shilin.
- Attend a beef noodles festival.
The Taiwanese love their beef noodles so much that there is actually a festival to celebrate the dish. In fact, the Taipei International Beef Noodles Festival has been held for over a decade, featuring different ways of preparing beef noodles soup. That’s akin to having a festival in Singapore to celebrate bakchor mee. Truly #牛肉麵 #levelup.
While everyone typically follows the whole night market-Taipei 101-Chiang Kai Shek route in Taipei, there’s definitely more to the amazing city than just gorging on night market snacks and going up to Taipei 101 for the umpteenth time. If you’re back in Taipei again and craving for a unique experience, take the off-beaten path and explore around other parts of the city and its surrounding towns- There’s certainly many hidden gems to be found.
Taipei International Beef Noodles Festival
For the past decade, the annual festival has been a hallmark event for the best Taiwanese beef noodles shops to showcase their signature dishes. In 2014, the festival was held in Taiwan Expo Park, with the finale events held in October to determine the best beef noodles shops in three categories: 紅燒牛肉麵 (braised beef noodles soup), 清燉牛肉麵 (clear beef noodles soup), and creativity. In 2015, the Taipei Mayor announced intentions to revamp the event as well- We’re definitely keeping tuned to updates on this major festival in Taipei.
To find out more about this festival, click here.