Jiu Fen Old Street 九份是台灣新北市瑞芳區的一個地區 | Jiu Fen a mountain area in the Ruifang District of New Taipei City near Keelung, Taiwan. It is known to be "City of Sadness" / "Saddest City" 悲情城市 - mainly due to it's climate of constant gloomy, rain and mist. It was said in the Qing Dynasty, the village housed 9 families and each shipment would be divided into 9 portions. It was later than colonized by the Japanese during World War II. Today, Jiu Fen is a famous tourist area full of traditional foods, desserts and knick knacks for shopping. It even inspires as a model for Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away.
Directions to Jiu Fen Old Street 九份瑞芳區:
- Take the TRA Train 臺灣鐵路管理局 - Yilan Line (宜蘭線) towards RuiFang 瑞芳. Approx 90 NTD each way. From New Taipei City it takes about 45 mins. It would be best to ask customer service to help you out instead of maneuvering the machine (there are too many options, and it becomes very confusing especially when you are Chinese illiterate like me!)
- There is an express train which does not stop at every station. This will be fastest!
- Once you arrive at Jiu Fen, we suggest taking the taxi $210 NTD / $7 CAD (standard price - any more you are being ripped off) instead of the bus. The bus is crowded and much more dangerous speeding and turning 180 degree sharp corners.
The main commercial streets are Jishan Street 基山街 and Shu Qi Road 豎崎路.
Grandma Lai's Yuyuan 賴阿婆芋圓:
143 Jishan St, Rueifang District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 224
Famous for their Taro Balls in ginger dessert soup. Your choice in a variety of flavors, served hot or chilled. The texture is very chewy and bouncy. A hot bowl is very warming on a chilly day. $50 NTD.
Mochi: Not very far from Taro balls are mochi. Available in a variety of flavors like match, black sugar, chocolate, etc. The black sugar we tried was very sweet and sticky. The layer of powdered coco was too much and made everything quite messy.
Along the streets there are many vendors selling all sorts of jewelry, toys, and souvenir gifts.
Jinzhi’s Vegetarian Meat Ball with Red Vinasse 九份金枝紅糟素肉圓: One of the most prestigious shops in Jiu Fen and critically acclaimed in many travel books. The owner Xu originally made these meat ball with red fermented bean paste and glutinous paste for it's children. Served with a starchy gravy, the texture is chewy, gooey, and incredibly delicious - party savory, part sweet.
Mushroom Balls: Served with radish soup, these fresh mushroom balls were fragrant and have a nice bounce to every bite.
Jinzhi’s Vegetarian Meat Ball with Red Vinasse 九份金枝紅糟素肉圓
63 Jishan St, Rueifang District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 224
Conch: Fresh conch being grilled. Each one was the size of my fist. But be very careful not to step too close to it. One exploded in our eye as we were deciding whether to get one or not. Thank goodness for glasses that day!
Bitter Melon Juice: The thought of drinking bittergourd initially disgusted me. But since we ate so much fried food, we thought it would be nice to reduce the heat in our bodies. You would think this drink would require a lot of honey to neutralize the taste, but you don't. I really fell in love with this susceptible drink after my second sip. It felt invigorating and refreshing! Plus it is rich in vitamins, aids digestion, purifies the blood.
Finally the sun has set and the lanterns are lit. Jiu Fen is really pretty and full of tradition at night.
Famous marinated food stall. People would line up for hours just to grab some soy eggs, wings, and intestines. Even in the rain.
Jiu Fen Tea House 九份茶坊: For the tea connoisseur, you can enjoy a traditional experience inside this 100 year old house renovated.
142 Jishan Street,Rueifang District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 224
Herbal Hard Boiled Eggs: Sometimes these eggs are called "steel head eggs" but really they won't injure you. They just taste very smoky.
Babka Cafe 歐風鄉村咖啡: If tea is not your cup of tea, then maybe you will fancy a cup of espresso with a beautiful view.
Remember, to wear good shoes with grip (especially when it is raining). You don't want to slip like I did. There are lots of slopes throughout the whole area.
Jiu Fen Old Street 九份瑞芳區
224, Taiwan, New Taipei City, Ruifang District
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