Jiufen Old Street, Taiwan | What to eat in Jiufen’s food heaven

December 2, 2023

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girl taking a walk in food heaven jiufen, taiwan

Visiting Jiufen and have no idea what to eat? Nestled within the mist-kissed charm of Jiufen old street lies a gastronomic food heaven, where history whispers through cobblestone alleys. Join us on a culinary adventure through the enchanting Jiufen Taiwan, where each bite is a symphony dance of tradition and innovation. Legend has it that the Jiufen Taiwan’s ethereal charm inspired the beloved Japanese animation Spirited Away by filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki. Although it remains unconfirmed whether Jiufen inspired Spirited Away, Jiufen is one of our favorite towns in the world. Here, we’ll tell you exactly what are the best things to eat in Jiufen Taiwan. You’ll also be delighted that everything is vegetarian friendly.

In Jiufen, every dish, every snack, and every cup of tea becomes a brushstroke on the canvas of culinary artistry. Here, the flavors become storytellers, weaving a narrative rich in tradition, layered with history, and punctuated by bursts of innovation. This old street stands not just as a marketplace but as an invitation—an invitation to delve deep into the soul of Taiwan’s food haven. Here, tradition seamlessly intertwines with innovation, and each culinary creation beckons you to partake in a sensory journey through the timeless flavors of this historic town.

Misty Cake Taiwan at Jiufen | Puff Pastries

Location: Google Maps | Misty Cake Jiufen 米詩堤甜點王國九份門市
As the mist weaves through Jiufen’s old town, the aroma of Misty Cake puff pastries fills the historic alleys with the buttery, flaky aroma of sweet potato puff pastries. A true kingdom of sweetness, these delicate pastries unfold with layers of flaky perfection, enveloping your senses in a cloud of confectionery dreams. Each ethereal bite offers a journey through textures, from the crisp exterior to the melt-in-your-mouth layers within. The subtle taro puff emerged as our preferred pastry. A plethora of Misty Cake options beckon, ranging from sweet potato puffs, taro puffs, cream puffs, and chocolate puffs to creamy delights.

YuYuan Taro and Sweet Potato Balls

In Jiufen’s bustling old street, an array of stalls beckons with the alluring fragrance of freshly made YuYuan. A quintessential Taiwanese dessert, YuYuan are small orbs made with taro and sweet potato balls. Amid the vibrant tapestry of vendors, A Gan Yi Taro Ball emerges as a standout. As the master chefs weave together a tapestry of flavors with a steadfast dedication to freshness, each bite unfolds a symphony of textures. It leaves a happy dance in your mouth that captures the essence of Jiufen’s culinary prowess.

Opting for a sensory journey, patrons can savor these delectable orbs in both warm and cold renditions. Followed by an adornment of an array of tantalizing toppings. Our preferred indulgence involves savoring them piping hot with duohua (tofu pudding), red azuki beans, and green beans. This intricate interplay of contrasting elements — the yielding softness of tofu pudding, the earthy richness of red azuki beans, and the subtle warmth of ginger honey — unites in perfect harmony with the innate sweetness of taro and sweet potato yuyuans, elevating this street food classic to an exquisite culinary crescendo.

The Infamous Delicacy: Stinky Tofu

stinkytofu at jiufen, taiwan

Locations: 食謎店 九份第一家臭豆腐 or 九份第一家臭豆腐
What should be your next adventurous dish to eat in Jiufen? Immerse yourself in Jiufen’s food heaven spectacle as you venture into the inaugural realm of Stinky Tofu, Taiwan’s best street food. A mysterious aroma becomes your guide, leading you through a sensory odyssey—crispy exteriors give way to tender interiors, orchestrating a harmonious clash of flavors that both challenges and delights the discerning palate. Here, the adage holds true: the stinkier, the better.

Boldness characterizes every bite, where the ingenious interplay of crispy tofu, pickled cabbage, and a clandestine sauce. The perfect melding of garlic, soy sauce, and black vinegar creates an unforgettable symphony of tastes. This daring dance of flavors leaves an indelible mark on your taste memory. It is a testament to the audacious spirit that defines Taiwan’s innovative culinary narrative.

A-Zhu Peanut Ice Cream Roll

peanut ice cream roll at jiufen, taiwan

Location: Google Maps
In the expansive culinary landscape of Jiufen, emerges a singular delight that is exclusive to the Ruifang region—the elusive Peanut Ice Cream Roll. Chart a course through the labyrinth streets to unveil this regional gem.

A canvas of velvety, nutty sweetness unfolds as ice cream encounters the crisp allure of freshly ground peanuts, caramel, and cilantro. This intricate dance of flavors crafts a texture-rich indulgence that encapsulates the very essence of Jiufen’s culinary spirit. The interplay of temperatures adds a whimsical dimension to the experience. Transitioning seamlessly from the chill of the ice cream to the warm embrace of the peanuts, cocooned within a crispy rice paper— a culinary masterpiece akin to a baby burrito.

Jiufen Old street stands not just as a marketplace but as an invitation—an invitation to delve deep into the heart and soul of Taiwan’s food haven.

Fried King Oyster Mushrooms

the best eats in jiufen taiwan, king oyster mushroom

Location: We found the perfect vegan snack to eat in Jiufen. Look for this green stall gracing the cobblestone streets near the halfway point of town. It only sells King Oyster Mushroom and has been a top seller for over 15 years.

In the enchanting realm of Jiufen, a cherished snack unfurls—the earthy allure of King Oyster Mushrooms. Here, a skilled vendor transforms these umami-rich delights into a culinary masterpiece. The crispy king oyster mushrooms, delicately coated with a secret powder sauce, invite you to indulge. Once you take a bite, you won’t be able to stop until you’ve relished the entire bag. These umami mushrooms are not only crispy on the outside but surprisingly soft and juicy on the inside.

Savor the deep, savory notes that emanate from each meticulously prepared bite as you meander through the historic tapestry of Jiufen’s culinary offerings. In the symphony of flavors, these mushrooms stand as a testament to the culinary finesse that defines the essence of Jiufen’s gastronomic allure.

Best Teahouse in Jiufen Taiwan

Location: We found the best Jiufen Taiwan teahouse. To reach this hidden teahouse, look for a discreet gray cave a few shops right of the famously-packed Amei teahouse. Venture through the “secret” cave-like entrance and unveil the serene charm of the 芋仔蕃薯 teahouse on the other side. Although many people want to dine at the famous Amei tea house, we recommend 芋仔蕃薯 teahouse instead to get the best experience, superior service, and magical location, without the crowds.

Escape the bustling crowds and embark on a journey to our hidden oasis, 芋仔蕃薯 teahouse in Jiufen Taiwan. As you step over the threshold of this whimsical teahouse, a time capsule awaits, transporting you to Taiwan’s golden mining age. Welcome to 芋仔蕃薯 teahouse, where tradition adorns the walls, and each artifact a holds a touching reminder of a bygone era. Sip on tea for hours listening to the classical Mandarin music leaving you in a harmonic inspiration. The auntie, who has been working at the Jiufen teahouse for 26 years, has been an enduring witness to the teahouse’s inception. Her enduring partnership with the owner imbues the space with an unmistakable essence of tradition, history, and warmth.

Begin your teahouse story with traditional black tea, a ritual that unfolds with theatric elegance. Boiling water alight with fire is set to the side, an offering that beckons you to refill your tea cup at will. Under Auntie’s seasoned guidance, we embarked on a culinary expedition. We started with a symphony of their signature three-cup tofu—a celestial dance of perfectly fried tofu, stir-fry basil, and plump king oyster mushrooms. Each morsel unveiled a sublime harmony of textures and flavors, the crispy exterior giving way to a succulent interior, rendering every bite a testament to culinary mastery.

As our palates continued to revel in the culinary crescendo, we surrendered to the allure of Sesame Noodles—a dish that unfolded like a culinary sonnet. The simple noodles, bathed in a fragrant sesame oil, offered a symphony of nutty notes that lingered on the taste buds. In the realm of culinary classics, the Mapo Tofu emerged with its aroma wafting robust promises of spice and warmth. Silken tofu, cocooned in a velvety, savory sauce, underwent a metamorphosis infused with the bold dance of Sichuan peppercorns. Elevating the experience, we chose to pair it with warm, earthy purple rice, and watercress vegetables. Each grain of rice became a silent partner, absorbing and enhancing the nuances of the dish, ensuring that every bite was not just a taste but a transcendental experience in the art of gastronomy.

The wholesome combination of this sensory journey, an orchestration of flavors, left an indelible imprint on our taste buds. What set 芋仔蕃薯 apart was its ability to cater to both vegetarians and meat-eaters with equal finesse, and how it treats vegetables as important as its protein counterparts.

Sipping on tea for hours, we reveled in the unspoken stories etched into the walls and the undeniable warmth that permeates this hidden gem—a testament to the enduring charm of a tea house where time seemingly stands still.

Nestled in a magical setting with amazing hospitality, this is the definition of the perfect teahouse to eat in Jiufen.

芋仔蕃薯 tea house offers enchanting views of Jilong Mountain and the expansive Ruifang Sea. As evening descends or when rain graces the town, the allure deepens. An evening tea adventure draws us to the Japanese-style seating mats upstairs, where classical Mandarin melodies serenade our senses.

Taiwan Pineapple Cake and Taro Pastry at Jiufen Jiang Jia Bakery

Location: Google Maps

In the twilight of Jiufen Old Street’s enchanting labyrinth, a modest treasure awaits. Jiang Jia Bakery, where tradition intertwines seamlessly with pastry innovation. Here, within the unassuming walls, the artistry of crafting freshly baked, flaky Taro pastries and Pineapple cakes unfolds on a daily canvas. It’s undisputedly the perfect pastries to eat in Jiufen.

The hands of the skilled artisan meticulously layering the flakiness of flour, with a soft center of fresh taro that promises to dissolve effortlessly on your tongue. It’s an exquisite experience. A harmonious blend of textures and tastes that transports you to a realm where time-honored techniques meet the precision of contemporary craftsmanship. The delicate charm of this taro pastry will gracefully paint a cherishing smile on your face.

Brown Sugar Ginger Tea and Almond Milk

brown sugar ginger tea, jiufen tawian

As you stroll leisurely down Jiufen, awaken your senses in the comforting embrace of piping hot Brown Sugar Ginger Tea. An elixir of sweet and spiced perfection, this aromatic beverage reflects the heartwarming hospitality that defines Jiufen. Don’t let the simple look fool you; its robust essence is as potent as a cup of strong coffee.

Picture this: the narrow streets of Jiufen Taiwan unfolding before you as you cradle the warm mug in your hands, the aroma of ginger teasing your senses. Kickstart your exploration through Jiufen with this liquid hug, sipping it leisurely as you navigate the charming labyrinth of streets. Let the brew infuse each step with a symphony of flavors, setting the tone for the culinary adventure that awaits.

But the story doesn’t end there. On your way out, ensure you don’t miss the chance to grab a jug of the delectable fresh almond milk. The vendors at Jiufen have perfected the almond milk to an art form. A jug of this almond elixir, lightly sweetened to perfection, becomes a companion for days with your to-go pastries. Taiwan’s humble claim to the freshest, best nature milks in the world is no exaggeration. And Jiufen proudly presents this almond milk as a testament to their commitment to culinary excellence.

Waffle with Matcha Ice Cream and Red Bean

Waffle with Matcha Ice Cream and Red Bean at Jiufen, Taiwan

If you’re still hungry and looking for more delights to eat in Jiufen old street – give this beautifully adorned dessert a try. Tradition meets modernity in the form of a Waffle adorned with Matcha Ice Cream and Red Bean. The golden-brown waffle, crispy on the edges and tender within. It becomes a delightful canvas for the nuanced creaminess of matcha and the sweetness of red beans. With each bite, the harmonious blend of textures and flavors are a delight to any soul.

Jiufen has the best Taiwan snacks to take home

As the curtains fall on your culinary odyssey through Jiufen, don’t let the symphony of flavors fade away just yet. Secure to-go boxes laden with your favorite pastries to eat in Jiufen and gather stories to share with family and friends as you embark on the final chapter of your gastronomic adventure. Let the lingering note of a jug of sweet almond milk accompany your to-go pastries, elevating your continued culinary escapade.

Wander through the diverse offerings of dried fruits, nuts, and almond milk, as the last act in Jiufen’s culinary repertoire. Each bite encapsulates a story, a crunchy crescendo that serves as the perfect denouement to a day. Immerse in the rich tapestry of flavors and history woven into the fabric of this enchanting Taiwanese town.

In Jiufen, each culinary encounter is an invitation to immerse yourself in a town where every dish is a brushstroke on the canvas of its captivating heritage. It’s no wonder Jiufen is famous for travelers from all over the world. The memory of strolling through this enchanting street will linger in your thoughts, and you’ll find yourself yearning to return to its magical embrace for years to come.

Looking for more unforgettable day trips from Taipei?

For those with an appetite for a longer day trip, add HuoTong Cat Village to your Jiufen day trip!

A couple at HuoTong Cat Village, the best day trip from Taipei

Also add Keelung Mountain Trail hike for sunrise! (pssst. the trailhead is only 6 minutes from Jiufen!)

And don’t forget to admire the amazing architecture of the iconic Imei Tea House before you leave Jiufen.

  1. Cindy says:

    I saw your blog through AWW and read your guides on Jiufen and Houtong. Just wanted to reach out and share with you that I love the way you use words to create a sensory tour of the places-it’s as if I could smell and taste the pastries and delicacies!

    Last month I hosted a friend from abroad and brought her to these exact two places but your guide makes me want to revisit them again when I get back :))

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