Pingxi Old Street Food Guide – Taiwan

January 11, 2024

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Pingxi, Taiwan is one of the magical places in Asia where if you visit once, you’ll dream about coming back forever. Nestled within the enchanting landscapes of the Ruifang region, Pingxi old street is a colorful little town with a slow-paced charm, a welcoming allure, and a tantalizing array of traditional flavors.

Known for its picturesque landscapes and vibrant traditions, this quaint town has etched itself as the quintessential destination for the enchanting Taiwan sky lantern festival. Pingxi is also one of the best day trips from Taipei.

What most people haven’t discovered yet is that you can visit Pingxi year-round to release sky lanterns, one of the most unique things to do near Taipei, and eat some of the best Taiwanese food (and the best part is everything on this list is not only delicious but also vegetarian friendly!). As we embarked on a culinary journey through Pingxi’s old streets, our taste buds were dancing with delight.

Our gastronomic adventure kicked off at 平溪祖傳切仔麵, a colorful blue restaurant at the beginning of Pingxi old street. The menu, adorned with Mandarin characters, unfolded a world of Xiao Cai—little dishes that promised a symphony of flavors. Umami yam leaves, perfectly sautéed tofu skin, and bead curd graced our table, their aromas mingling with the inviting scent of sesame ear wood mushrooms. The pairing with Ru Rou fan, a simple yet soul-satisfying bowl of rice with meat sauce, and wholesome vegetarian noodles left an indelible mark on our taste buds. For a moment, the hustle and bustle of the world fades away as you watch the lanterns on top of your table move with the wind. On your face forms a graceful smile as you experience a moment of pure simple bliss.

If you’re visiting Taiwan, read about our Pingxi sky lantern experience, Jiufen must eats guide, and visit the nearby Houtong Cat Village, the best place to see cats in Taiwan.

You also might be interested in staying at a Taiwan Minsu and read our guide on best things to do in Taiwan.

Location: Google Maps

平溪祖傳切仔麵 is the best Taiwanese meal we had on this Taiwan trip, and that’s high praise considering all the amazing food we ate in Taiwan. Eating at this Pingxi restaurant is a must, and one of the best day trips from Taipei. Wandering further down the street, we discovered the enchanting Yuyuan taro and sweet potato balls. In the heart of Pingxi’s old street, a mom-and-pop shop skillfully crafted these delightful orbs daily, each bite revealing a tapestry of textures. If you’re wondering what to eat in Taiwan, this is where you should start.

Speaking of the must eats in Taiwan, check out my guide on what to eat in Jiufen, one of the best places to eat in Taiwan (after this restaurant).

Taiwan Yuyuan Taro and Sweet Potato Balls

In Pingxi’s slow paced old street, enjoy the alluring dessert of freshly made Yuyuan. A quintessential Taiwanese dessert, Yuyuan are small orbs made with taro and sweet potato balls — one of the best eats in Taipei. Amid the vibrant tapestry of vendors, you’ll find a small mom-and-pop shop who only make fresh Yuyuan with a practiced hand. Each bite unfolds a symphony of textures. It leaves a happy dance in your mouth that captures the essence of Pingxi’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 Original Peanut Ice Cream Roll

Location: Google Maps

In the colorful little town of Pingxi, Taiwan, emerges a singular delight that is original to the Ruifang region—the elusive Peanut Ice Cream Roll. Chart a course through Pingxi old street to 平溪橋頭花生捲冰淇淋 Ice Cream Shop to unveil this regional gem. A canvas of velvety, nutty sweetness unfolds as home-made 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 Pingxi’s joyful 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.

Quench your thirst with refreshing Herbal Jujube Date Drink

As your culinary journey unfolds, wash down the delectable flavors with a sip of the local jujube herbal date drink that you can buy from the local sky lantern vendor. Sweet, tangy, and infused with the essence of fresh local mountain water, it’s a beverage that encapsulates the soul of Pingxi—a place where time seems to slow down and every moment is worth savoring. This heavenly concoction effortlessly offers refreshing hydration and energy to continue your journey.

Fly a sky lantern in Pingxi Old Street

If you’re traveling to Taipei or Jiufen, you have to make a stop at Pingxi. Flying a sky lantern in Pingxi Taiwan will become one of the most magical and fun things you’ll do in your life!

There’s so much more to explore in Pingxi and the Ruifang area. Make sure to read our guide on what is a minsu in Taiwan and learn how to book one, as this area will have less hotels and more minsu local stays. We stayed at a gorgeous minsu in Jiufen for 4 nights, and loved every minute.

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