Jiufen 九份 (Keelung, Taiwan)


The lanterns at Jiufen are all illuminated during dusk.

The literal translation of Jiufen is nine portions which alludes to the nine families that used to live here during the Qing Dyansty.  Because of a gold rush, the village became more of a tiny town.  It’s heavily influenced by Japanese culture as the town flourished around the time of Japanese rule.  Yes, this is all on the wiki page.  I encourage everyone to check the wiki page since the town has a pretty interesting past.  Anyhow, there is a fewd market, as well as countless shops making this a destination for a lot of tourists coming to Taipei as well as locals.  Here’s what we did.

Jiufen's Entrance

It’s really crowded near the entrance, venture forth and the crowds thin out a lot.

Fish ball soup

We were careful not to go to the entrance restaurants but wanted to try one of the fish ball soup places.  This one was on the left after entering the entrance.   It’s quite large and was very busy.  There are actually 4 different flavours.  One on bottom right is fish stuffed with pork.  Top right is Pork stuffed with mushrooms.  Top left is beef.  Bottom left is pork.

A bite taken out of the fish ball

The fish ball was a little rubbery in a flimsy way.  The fish ball soup in Danshui is much better.  The filling was alright.  It’s very savory.  This dish is actually skippable.

Ssssssssssssssnails!

Escargot stand.  Smelled really good so we try tried.

Grilled and waiting to be eaten.

The snails were served with an almost salsa flavoured sauce.  It actually tasted a bit like squid to me which is delicious.

There are a lot of fewd stalls here.

One of many fewd stalls we did not partake.  I think this was a sweet treat, kind of like a twinkie stuffed with red beans.

Ice and dough balls in sweet water.

This was located down the alley, and then up another alley on the left right before the bbq stand I will show you after this item.  It’s a little out of the way, but if you’re going to have ice, come to this store.  The dough balls are made with taro and sweet potato.   The ice isn’t shaved but larger chips and the sugar water helps bring it all together.   Also, the area where you sit and eat has an amazing view of the valley.

View from Taro ball shop

There is a bench in front of the window where you can sit and enjoy this view while enjoying your QQ taro and sweet potato balls.  These taro balls have a very nice taro flavour when you bite into them.   You can taste little bits of taro and sweet potato in each dough ball.

BBQ

BBQ stand on the corner.  We got some carryout.  Affordable and fairly tasty.

Beans...we didn't get any

Duck tongue

These lanterns are all quite famous

When dusk approaches, somebody switches on all the lanterns.  This is right before they turned them all on.

Closeup of lantern

Written on the lantern translates to the later it gets, the more beautiful it gets.

Somebody turned on the lanterns!

This is a shot up the super long steps of Jiufen.  This off the main alley that all the shops are on.  Many movies are filmed here as the buildings have a very specific look from the 30’s and 40’s.  It is rumored that Spirited Away based some of it’s architecture on Jiufen.

Pill shaped Chihuahua

There are a lot of dogs in Taiwan.  Some are owned by night market vendors.  Not sure who owned this one, but it was really chubby and not wanting to pose.  It was sniffing around all over the place while a big group of tourists watched in awe.  It was looking pretty pissed when it lifted one of it’s tiny legs and pee’d all over the wall.  Then it kicked each of it’s tiny hind legs back once and left us.

Dog in herb store, watching the register.

Another one of Jiufen’s happy residents.

Jiufen night shot.

A very peaceful calm area, Jiufen is a good day trip place to visit.  There’s a gold mine exhibit that we missed and will need to visit next trip.  The fewd here is not mind blowing  but decent.  I would say the taro balls are the best dish here, especially if you’ve been walking around a lot.  Also, the place is known for the tea houses which we were a bit too stuffed to try.  If you come to Jiufen, it’s easy to drive, just take the 62 going east, to the 102 and the 102 winds all the way up to Jiufen.  Beware traffic on the weekends and holidays is pretty bad.  Also you will want to overshoot the entrance a little and park in one of the free public parking areas or on the side of the road near the cemetery.  Whole hills here are dedicated cemeteries, but they don’t really ticket you.  Another option is to take a bus up here which will take some time, but they run from Taipei and Keelung.  We didn’t go trinket shopping, but Jiufen is also known for the wide variety of pretty shiny things to buy and take home and then throw away a few years later.  It’s worth taking a trip here just for the scenery and weather.

I have a better picture of the entrance and also a picture of the wild boar sausage we tried.  I have to dig these up and will update later.


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4 thoughts on “Jiufen 九份 (Keelung, Taiwan)

  • eve

    hi. I will be visiting Jiufen in November. Is there a bus from Jiufen to Taipei in the afternoon? Thanks

  • A PICTURESQUE HILLY, INTERESTING COUNTY TO TOUR..

    just breathless to have visited Jiufen, a hilly resort in Taipeh with marvellous architecture unravelled in setting of the Pacific Ocean frontage, & not to miss out on the the delicious little’ eats of Taipeh…..briefly, it is a more than rewarding, interesting trip…..Great…

  • PranktonPranks

    I’m always able to find parking there but be prepared with walk a little. You can pay for valet or drive down the road and park on the edge of the mountain for free.

  • Leo

    Sound like you had a great trip, am thinking of driving to Jiufen too and was wondering how easy is it to find the parking lot you have mentioned? and is there a lot of spaces available?