[TAIWAN] JIUFEN TRAVEL & FOOD GUIDE – Things to do & eat

JIUFEN OLD STREET Jiufen Old Street, Taiwan. How to go there? What to do and eat? Here it is Jiufen Old Street Food and Travel Guide for you.

A-MEI Tea House

Finally BUCKETLIST CHECKED! It feels like a dream come true visiting this gorgeous town that inspired one of Miyazaki’s greatest films, Spirited Away. Jiufen is used to be a gold mining mountain town, that explains the unique landscape. It’s known for the narrow alleyways of its old town, packed with teahouses, street-food snacks and souvenir shops, etc nowadays.

After sharing TAIPEI TRAVEL GUIDE, let’s continue our Taiwan travel guide to Jiufen.

TRANSPORTATION – How to go to Jiufen from Taipei?

Jiufen is a mountain town/ village in northeastern of Taiwan (east of Taipei). It is located around an hour from Taipei. There are several transportation options, most of it requires you to transfer and change bus once or twice. Luckily we found a DIRECT bus from Ximending to Jiufen with BUS 965.

BUS 965

BUS 965 is the easiest option to go to Jiufen Old Street. It takes around 1hour 20 minutes of bus ride from Ximending-Taipei to Jiufen.

The entrance to old street is next to 7eleven

The bus is available every 30 minutes if we’re not mistaken and it costs NTD 90/ person one way. To go back from Jiufen to Taipei, you can take BUS 965 too. You can check the map below for trip simulation.

Surrounded by sea and mountains, the view from Jiufen is indeed very therapeutic. The only downside would be the crowd! It was crowded even though we visited Jiufen on weekday (can you imagine how crowded it is on weekend or peak season?).

Make sure to check the weather forecast too before going to your trip, you wouldn’t want to visit it on rainy foggy day. Me and Mr. Jajan arrive early before lunch time since according to the weather forecast it will start to rain in the afternoon.

FOOD – What to eat?

Jiufen old street has SO MANY FOOD OPTIONS, make sure to come with empty bellies. So many unique tasty food to try. Here are some of the food we tried.

A-MEI Tea House 阿妹茶樓
The building inspired by Spirited Away animation happens to be a tea house. Upon arriving to Jiufen, we immediately head to this tea house before it gets crowded.

A-MEI Tea House
A-MEI Tea House

Lucky us we were seated in the balcony area with amazing sea and mountain views. We ordered the Hot Tea set which costs NTD 300/ person including Oolong Tea, Plum, Mochi, Green Bean Cakes, and Sesame Crackers.

A-MEI Tea House
A-MEI Tea House

The staff will demonstrate to you how to brew tea, after that you can brew it by yourself. Price wise, it’s quite expensive but you can brew the tea for so many times plus the snacks and scenery are pleasantly good. We had good times enjoying both the tea and scenery.

A-Jou Peanut Ice Cream Roll 阿珠雪在燒
After watching it for so many times on television finally we had the chance to try it. It’s a unique Taiwanese dessert consists of thin crepe filled with 2 scoops of ice cream, shaved peanut candy and coriander (optional).

A-Jou Peanut Ice Cream Roll
A-Jou Peanut Ice Cream Roll

The shaved peanut candy plays a major part in giving the dessert a nice sweet nutty flavor and crunchy texture. We ordered ice cream roll with coriander since we were curious with the unique combination. Personally we prefer it without coriander because the aroma is a bit funky hahaha.

A-Jou Peanut Ice Cream Roll
A-Jou Peanut Ice Cream Roll

Ah Lan Hakka Glutinous Rice Cake 阿蘭草仔粿芋粿
They have so many options from sweet to savory. Since we just ate the sweet ice cream roll, we decided to try savory ones, Taro and Pickled Radish. The green one with chewy sticky mochi-like texture and savory pickled radish filling was YUM MAX! Mr. Jajan loves it sooo much, he keeps talking about it after coming back to Jakarta.

Ah Lan Hakka Glutinous Rice Cake
Ah Lan Hakka Glutinous Rice Cake

Zhang Ji Traditional Fishballs 張記傳統魚丸
Since the shop was packed with customers, we decided to give it a try too. We ordered a few items but their Fuzhou Fish Balls stand out the most (highly recommended).

Zhang Ji Traditional Fishballs
Zhang Ji Traditional Fishballs

Imagine bouncy fish ball filled with savory juicy minced pork in comforting broth. SO GOOD!

Jin Zhi Red Yeast Rice Meat Ball 金枝紅糟肉圓
The whole food scene in Jiufen is very exciting for me and Mr. Jajan since there are many new and unique food we’ve never had. One of it is this red yeast meat dumpling. Instead of steaming or boiling it, they cook it in lots of oil. Inside chewy mochi-like dumpling skin, you can find pork and bamboo shoot, a bit funky with spices aroma but still enjoyable for us.

Jin Zhi Red Yeast Rice Meat Ball
Jin Zhi Red Yeast Rice Meat Ball

Ah Gan Taro Balls 阿柑姨芋圓
Offering traditional dessert, this place is literally a hidden gem. Upon ordering, you can take your dessert and walk through narrow aisles simply by following neon signs for spacious seating area with stunning scenery.

Ah Gan Taro Balls
Ah Gan Taro Balls
Ah Gan Taro Balls

The dessert consists of sweet taro balls, sweet potato balls, red bean, mung bean, etc and it’s available in hot/ iced version. Since it was raining hard, me and Mr. Jajan opted for hot one. Their taro and sweet potato balls are sooo good with chewy bouncy texture. Hmmmmpph, tasty dessert and scenic view, what’s there not to like?

Don’t forget to check Shengping Theater, a historical building that has been transformed into museum. If we’re not mistaken the old theater plays some films every weekend. Besides checking the museum, it makes a great waiting place too with toilet and free water provided inside.

Jiufen old street is not that big, you can finish exploring it in 2 or 3 hours. We spent half day slowly exploring the town, enjoying the view, chilling at cafes, taking pictures, and eating street food without the need to feel rushed.

Of course besides eating, you can do some souvenir and snack shopping too like bag, keychain, homemade ornaments, okarina, cookies, pineapple cake, meat floss, etc. We bought Kaonashi magnet and also tasty salmon floss as souvenirs.

Make sure to stay until sunset because the afternoon/ night view is charming too when the lantern lights are turned on. The night vibes will definitely reminds you of Spirited Away movie.

Fyi, most of the shops here are closed around 7PM. After visiting Jiufen, we highly recommend you to visit Keelung Night Market before heading back to Taipei since you’re already around that area (take public bus no. 788 ride). Keelung is a port city therefore you can find many seafood based dishes.

Thank you for reading, hopefully it can help you to plan your trip to Jiufen.

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