The Golden Mountain Town: Jiufen
Flourishing in early twentieth century due to its rich gold mine, but later declining in the 1990's when pit mining was exhausted, Jiufen regained its popularity from the movie City of Sadness. Now the most well-known mountain town on the northeast, Jiufen is famous for its long stone staircase with historical footprints, the nostalgic sightseeing street and local delicacies such as the yummy Taro Balls (Yu Yuen). Sheng Ping Theater, the only surviving historic theater built on a mountain, re-opened several years ago and quickly became a well-visited feature of Jiufen.
Jiufen has three main roads. Shuqi Road is where teahouses gather and people can take a rest to enjoy the views of the mountain city. Jishan Street is supposed to be the high street of the city where there are all kinds of shops offering characteristic souvenirs and authentic local snacks. Walking along the street to the sightseeing platform at the entrance, visitors can enjoy unrivalled sea views for free. Getting tired, you can stroll along Qingbian Road to search the vintage murals of this old mining city or find accommodation at any nearby guesthouses to enjoy the wonderful night view of the mountain city.
Sweet Taro Tapioca Balls in Jiufen Old Street
When visiting Jiufen, one must not miss the freshly made sweet taro tapioca balls, an authentic Jiufen snack. The Auntie A-Gan Sweet Taro Ball and Grandma Lai's Sweet Taro Ball are the most famous shops for this snack. The extremely chewy sweet taro tapioca balls are made with Dajia taro and Jinshan sweet potato. Today, there are different flavors, including the sesame, Chinese yam and mung bean flavors. When serving in chipped ice or hot sweet soup, they are fantastic in both winter and summer. Also, they are available for takeaway orders for visitors to enjoy the tasty and delicious sweet taro tapioca balls with their family.
Steamed Mugwort Cake and Steamed Taro Cake
Besides the sweet taro tapioca balls, the steamed mugwort cake and steamed taro cake are great choices. They were the snacks of miners in the olden days. The steamed mugwort cake is made with dry glutinous rice dough mixed with the ground cooked paste of jersey cudweed or mugwort, with stuffing including pickles, salted mung beans, sweet jumby beans, or salted radish. The steamed taro cake is made with shrimp, fried scallion and solid diced taro stuffing. Both are available from many shops in Jishan Street and are the most representative mementos of Jiufen. A-Lan Steamed Mugwort Cake is the most famous shop.