Dihua Street was once a hub for everything imported and exported from Taiwan. Today, it’s one of the best places to go in Taipei, with market stalls set up on either side of the street, creating a party atmosphere with microphones blaring to encourage you to try their festive wares. Read on to learn about all you can see and buy in Taipei’s best kept secret!
1. Dadaocheng Wharf
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Providing shipping links to neighboring countries up until the early 1900’s, Dadaocheng (just south of Dihua Street) has a rich history but has more recently become known as a great place to hop onto a Ubike and have a cycle around the many bike paths lining the river.
If it’s a nice day, you can grab some grub from DiHua street and hop onto a bike to have a picnic along the many cycle paths. You can go north as far as Tamsui or south as far as Gongguan and New Taipei City’s Xindian area.
2. Chinese Medicine
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Chinese medicine is still very popular in Taiwan, despite the increasing popularity of Western medicine, and Dihua Street is scattered with many specialist Chinese medicine shops. You’ll find everything from mushrooms and ginseng to birds nest and shark fin; it’s a street with aromas you won’t quickly forget.
3. Dried Fruit and Meat
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Despite Dadaocheng Wharf’s links to neighbouring countries, the persistent heat of the summer and chill of the winter meant that certain food weren’t always available fresh. So the Taiwanese took to preserving foods in different ways: meat products like beef and pork are popularly turned into jerky and floss, while fruits and vegetables like mango, strawberries and okra are dried. The strawberries, preserved in a sugar and partly dried, are a favourite of ours.
Check out WeiFone for meat needs and 紅海棠實業有限公司for dried fruit and other dried snacks.
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Dihua Street is still rich in tea, one Dadaocheng Wharf’s biggest trading items. Taiwanese tea is known to be some of the world’s best; its Oolong tea is especially well reputed and is wonderfully fragrant and smooth drinking.
If Oolong’s not your cup of tea, head to nearby Wang Tea to try their Tieguanyin tea for a slightly darker varietal. Tieguanyin is grown locally in the Muzha area of Taipei and yields an incredibly unique flavour.
5. Oil Rice
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One of the oldest stalls inside YongLe Market is Linhefa (林合發油飯粿店), selling an oily rice mixed with mushrooms. Traditionally, on the one-month anniversary of their child’s birth, parents share oil rice with their friends and family to celebrate.
Linhefa , set inside Yongle Market, is hugely popular. We recommend getting their incredible fried rice and also a couple of their taro cakes.
6. Xiahai City God Temple
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Built in 1856, Xiahai City God Temple is a great tourist attraction at the southern end of Dihua Street. The specific statue of the City God at this temple was originally located in China’s Fujian Province, but was shipped to Taiwan, where a temple was built for him in 1859.
The statue is majestic, dressed in red robes and with a long black beard. If you are around Taipei in May, visit on May 13th to take in the temple’s birthday celebrations and get a real slice of traditional culture.
7. Ningxia Night Market
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Ningxia is one of our favourite night markets in Taipei, consistently churning out top quality food at low prices with less tourists. Make sure you check out the deep fried taro balls from 劉芋仔蛋黃芋餅 at the head of the street – they’re unmissable!
Hi, my name is Ash. I have been living and working in Taipei, Taiwan for over 2 years, now. Having moved here from England, upon arrival I was shocked at the range of Taiwanese food and also the passion and pride that the Taiwanese have for their food. The food scene in Taipei is diverse, accessible and exciting, and I am looking forward to sharing my food experiences with you.