Sunday, January 14, 2018

Taiwan 2017 Part 2 | Jiufen & Shifen

If you've read any Taiwan travel blogs, then you've probably heard of Jiufen and maybe a little of Shifen. They're two areas that are at the outskirts of Taipei so they're usually great spots to take day trips to when you're in the capital. They're famous for being cultural districts where tourists can find so much food and souvenirs in one place.

BTW can you believe the photo above was just taken with my Galaxy Note 8?! The photo quality is no joke! I just can't get over it. Haha! Later on in the series, I ended up just using my phone because my camera charger wouldn't work with Taiwan's 110 voltage. But thankfully, it still delivered! For now though, it's still my trusty Fujifilm X-A2.

First, we headed to Jiufen which is located along a mountain. It's about an hour and a half away from Taipei. Here, even the Family Mart has taken on a very traditional old world vibe. Very reminiscent of Japan!

I was surprised at how many cute dog related things I saw for sale here. I really don't remember Taiwan celebrating dogs this much as you will see more later in this post.

The entrance to the Jiufen Old Street is this small unsuspecting alley which is marked by the gold lettering at the left of the photo above.

Near the entrance is a Stinky Tofu stand! When in Taiwan, or China, it's always nice to try Stinky Tofu. It smells truly terrible BUT it's definitely good! Once it's near you, the bad smell isn't really so bad and it just kind of smells like a barbeque sauce. Basically, when you eat it, your senses aren't going to be attacked by the strong odor. It tones down and it's actually really good. I guess the smell only becomes bad when it mixes with the overall air of an area? Just try it and you won't regret it!

Coffee is also very famous in Taiwan and they have it in a ton of local blends! The coffee shop here is a great place to visit if you don't want to go to the provinces of Taiwan to get authentic coffee because this place sort of has them all in one place!

Lots of staple Taiwanese/Chinese delicacies - Dried Plums coated in Sugar (Better known as kiamuy here in the Philippines)

Dumplings and noodles in a hearty soup perfect for the colder season.

And you can pretty much find most types of souvenir food here as well. I'm not sure about the price though as we didn't really buy souvenir food here. I highly recommend ordering from the brand Chia Te as they seem to produce the best quality treats!

Dried Flower Teas that bloom when you put them in hot water!

You've even got grilled snails here!

Another food you should try in Taiwan is their Tea Eggs! These are either chicken eggs or duck eggs that have been boiled in special teas for a long time and they're infused with all sorts of flavor. These ones in Jiufen are AWESOME. But you can easily find Tea Eggs in most convenience stores in Taiwan as well and they're all really delicious.

You'll also find a lot of Spirited Away merchandise, not just in Jiufen, but Taiwan in general. More so here though as there are a lot of rumors that the setting in Spirited Away was actually inspired by the Jiufen Old Street! I'd have to agree!

Adorable doggos everywhere!

More stinky tofu.

Once you start seeing the sky again, that's when you know you're near the end of the Old Street.

At the end is a panoramic view as well as the view of Jiufen along the side of the mountain - hence the term, Santorini of Taiwan.

After taking a few photos we started to head back.

This shop specializes in just pet accessories!

There are actually a few interesting BnBs here in Jiufen if you want that super Asian experience. Haha!

My favorite pup of Jiufen!!! He was so fluffy I had to pet him! He just stares at the passersby and doesn't move that much! So surprisingly disciplined for a Pomeranian!

We also stopped by the famous Peanut Ice Cream Roll stand which is hard to miss.

The rolls have powdered peanuts, mochi, and peanut ice cream. It's not the best thing in the world, but it's definitely worth trying!

Quick lunch before going to Shifen!

Shifen is a lot like Jiufen except this is where people do the famous lanterns! I was surprised to find that most tourists we were with at the time were Korean! (I miss Seoul huhu) for a fee, you can purchase your own lantern, write your wishes on it, and release it with the assistance of the staff.

The whole thing is very beautiful to see, but I personally wouldn't buy one myself because of the repercussions to the environment huhu.

Stay tuned for more of the series!

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