Fun Fun in Jiufen

The first time we visited the historic gold mining town of Jiufen was back in winter 2009 and it rained like crazy. Our second visit in November 2011 was no less wet. According to our cab driver on the way back to Taipei, it pretty much rains all fall/winter up there in the mountains. Nonetheless, I simply love the place. The one thing we were most excited about was the taro ball place that Lily’s cousin had taken us to the first time. They handmake their taro balls, yam balls, etc., right up front where you order, and it’s been our culinary dream to eat them again. Also, I’d read about and wanted to try the Jiufen teahouse.

After getting drenched while climbing up the hillside stairs and running into masses of people and their umbrellas, we were glad to find the teahouse quite easily. It was even better than I’d imagined. We were seated in a warm booth with a fire right in the middle of the table for the teapot—perfect relief from the dreary rain. We ordered mochi, seasoned pistachios, and other table snacks, as well as Oriental Beauty tea. They were delicious and really hit the spot. It was so relaxing and yet exhilarating at the same time, sitting there watching the mountain fog roll into the teahouse from outside, drinking some of the best tea I’ve ever had and all with my best gal by my side. It’s featured heavily in the video I made of our time in Jiufen.

Jiufen teahouse

Jiufen teahouse | Nikon D700 24mm F1.4 1/80 at iso 800

Jiufen teahouse

Server at Jiufen teahouse | Nikon D700 24mm f1.4 1/100 iso 800

Jiufen teahouse snacks

Jiufen teahouse snacks | Nikon D700 24mm F4 1/15 iso 800

With a nice buzz going from all the tea, we finally built up the courage to head back out into the weekend crowds and the pouring rain.

Jiufen rain

Jiufen rain | Nikon d700 24mm F1.4 1/500 iso 800

We saw many places that served taro balls but really only wanted to return to the place Lily’s cousin took us to the last time. It was really that good. Unfortunately, I didn’t really like any of the single shots of that place so didn’t post any. However, you can see it in the video. It’s the one were the man is hand-preparing the balls. Here’s some shots of some of the other places and goodies you can find there, though.

Jiufen Bao Bing server

Jiufen taro ball server | Nikon D700 24mm F1.4 1/160 iso 800

tofu of the stinky variety

tofu of the stinky variety | Nikon D700 24mm F2.8 1/200 iso 800

We also had sticky vegetarian “meatballs” and savory fish ball soup. Once again I didn’t shoot any photos of it that were worth posting, but do check the video. Another amazing thing I’ve only been able to find in Taiwan (last time in Danshui) is this ginger and honey tea that comes in big, hard blocks. You just drop it into your hot water and boom—the best spicy sweet ginger tea ever! Oh if I’d only bought like ten bags of it! It’s also really good to drop a block of it into a carrot or sweet potato soup. Anyway, despite the crazy crowds and the pouring rain, I love the place and I’ll be going back any and every time I find myself in Taipei.

Lily in the Jiufen Rain

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