Visiting Taiwan . 4 Oct 2012. Last Day. Part 2/3 Jiufen (九份) & Gold Ecological Park (黄金博物园区)

Hello! I’m back! Haha…

Upon reaching Jiufen (九份), we started going down the old streets (老街). After much walking since the morning, food sold by the street vendors beckoned.

The first food item, which was also the only one which we regretted getting, was the braised smelly tofu.

I have always been able to take fried smelly tofu and enjoy the taste of the tofu albeit the stench quite a bit but the braised version took the dish to an inedible level. Not only did we smell how bad the tofu stank, we felt equally disgusted eating it, with our mouth full of the soggy tofu soaked in brown sauce. It was worst than eating a rotten apple that was bitter. The originally bland tofu reeked of a potent stench and no matter how much chilli we added, the dish tasted simply horrible. We threw the rest away after one miserable bite. We were wasteful but I would never see smelly tofu in the same light, especially the braised ones. :S

Try it if you dare!

We moved on quickly and grabbed something that could not go wrong: Fried prawn balls. Thankfully, they tasted good and masked the awful taste we tried getting rid of after a bite of the braised smelly tofu.

Adding pickles as a finishing touch


Next, we had handrolled yam balls with ice! Unfortunately, we did not get it from the super famous store that was further down that street and this bowl that we got didn’t taste superb.

We took a seat outdoor to finish up the yam ball with ice and I noticed how packed the houses on the slopes in this area were.

After the not-very-delectable yam balls, we found ourselves another much more yummy dessert: The peanut ice-cream wrap.

There is also a weird looking seafood we spotted and tried that tasted really chewy but supple!

We continued strolling down the old street for some window-shopping while ZM searched for the dried longan ginger brew which he had been tasked to buy back home. I felt that the brew was slightly too sweet for my liking hence I got myself only a small packet as a momento.

The famous stall that sells the famous yam balls.

We were, however, too full to eat anymore so we had to give these a pass.

This is a homestay/tea house that one could choose to reside in if you would like a view of beautiful Jiufen.

More information below with the gorgeous view:

We also found the famous Ah-Mei Teahouse which has inspired Spirited Away. There is no doubt some resemblence.

For more of  how, where, what inspired and appeared in Spirited Away, check out

I think he did a good job in comparing Jiufen with the anime that won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature at the 75th Academy Awards in 2003, and is regarded as one of the greatest animated films of all time. (Yes, these are his words! :p)

Even though this Ah Mei Teahouse was exceptionally famous, the driver who has dropped us here told us that the tea house that is opposite Ah Mei Teahouse had a better view! Decide which of these tea houses you want to visit! Be warned, the prices at Ah Mei is steep though. 😦

The teahouse opposite Ah Mei Teahouse

The menu was written on a bamboo script

The view from the rooftop of Ah Mei Teahouse

WW with her order

Me with mine

If I did not remember wrongly, there was a minimum spending if you would like a seat on its rooftop and I cannot remember how much it is. Even though that is said, it is usually packed with people, especially tourists from Japan as it is very popular amongst them. That probably explains the inclusion of Choya flavoured drinks in the menu. Ha!

The packed & narrow stairs leading to the entrance of Ah Mei Teahouse

We were pretty glad we had included this place as part of the itinerary after an unpleasant morning at Yeliu Geopark with the unappealing crowd. After Jiufen, we moved off to the nearby Gold Ecological Park (黄金博物园区).

We were only given 2 hours to spend in this area as we had planned other locations within the itinerary in a short span of 1 fat day. Hence if you have decided to tour the south of Taipei leisurely, please allocate 2 days instead so that you won’t end up rushing from places to places like us. 😦

This place used to be a gold mining ground but mining activity has long ceased.

Quotes reminding us of the prisoners of war that have been sent here to work. 

In the museum sits an interesting block of gold. Once again, if anyone could lift it, one could bring it home. No one has managed to do that.

After spending a short while touring the area, we headed off to our next destination, the Golden Waterfall! It’s within a short driving distance from the Gold Ecological Park so we had to pay it a visit since we are in the vicinity. There are also other nearby spots we visited since we had only one last day to spend. It was worthwhile, albeit rushed, to visit all these places in a short span of 1 day.

Til the next post!


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