Old street, Jiufen
Cascading down the hills east of Taipei, the former gold mining town is now world renowned for its street food. Sure, the town photographs well from the outside, but its along its winding, cobblestoned Old Street where you’ll want to be spending your time. For those of you out there who are street food connoisseurs, you already know this. For those who don’t, Taiwan offers some of the finest in the world. The market stalls lining the street sell traditional Taiwanese eats, ranging from beef noodle soup, to grilled king trumpet mushrooms and the local specialty—savory taro balls. Tea Eggs, so-called because they’re parboiled in it with strong spices, are the typical snack to accompany all that food browsing. We hear the snail vendor has some of the juiciest around—but we might have to just take their word for it (We’ll be strolling through packed streets, peanut ice cream roll in hand). Once the sun sets, the crowds depart for the one-hour journey back to Taipei and Jiufen really turns on the charm. AGEIST’s resident globetrotter Grace Yang, who provided the above suggestions, recommends a stroll along the now near-empty streets watching the sun set over the sea and Keelung Mountain. It’s that mountain you will climb the next day—because simply eating your way through Jiufen would be too easy—a relatively tame 30-minute hike up stone steps built in to the side. There are also hiking trails around the Gold Ecological Park, a unique approach to preserving the region’s mining history. “If you do make it to the gold mining museum,” Yang writes, “Don’t miss the pork chop boxed meal, which is served in a traditional metal lunch box and wrapped in a pretty blue and white scarf.” Done deal.