The two locations were situated quite near each other, and the two popular tourist spots were actually pretty charming and old schooled villages. I liked how the places managed to retain their nostalgic charms, yet is pretty cynic enough to know that slowly but surely, tourism is going to change these spots in the years to come.
I'll let the photos (with captions) do the talking henceforth...
There were shops that sold 鳳梨酥 (pineapple tarts) and 太陽餅 (sun biscuits). I'm normally not a fan of such goodies. But there was this shop that we stopped by, that had fresh treats coming outta the oven, and we were offered samples...needless to say, I bought a few as souvenirs and for my family. I'm still not a total convert that is crazy over them, but I definitely recommend getting these as they are pretty tasty.
Interesting intricate ocarinas
Didn't stop to try but the mushrooms look helluva yums!
The fish balls were...average I guess
Tons of food vendors
And tons of food...
Top to Bottom: Wormy things we didn't try; 香腸 - Sausage that was really damn yums - the vendor was actually the brother of our cabbie driver! Really friendly and hospitable dudes; 阿蘭宇粿 - we bought one to try, and preferred the one our hairdresser from Taipei gave us (I know, people are super friendly in Taiwan aren't they? I can't believe she offered her granny's homemade food to us, her customers lol); big vat of 芋圓 - Taro balls.
There were plenty of cafes and traditional tea houses but we didn't stop to try any. Well, my excuse is that I'm more of a coffee or English tea person rather than a Chinese tea person. ;)
Crowds; Foods we didn't try but look interesting
花生捲冰淇淋 that was quite yums
The taro balls came in different flavours and were actually quite nice (note that I'm not particularly a fan of taro in general) cos they flavoured the balls with sesame, sweet potato etc - that explains why the balls that we had above are different colours.
My cousin couldn't resist getting these deep fried prawn balls and she proclaimed them yummy. I took a small bite (really stuffed by then) so I can't really comment. Food here at 九份老街 in general isn't too bad. I think I would recommend going with a big group of friends so you get to share and sample the wide variety of food on offer.
Our next stop was 十分 to 放天灯 (release sky lanterns) - you know, the ones you see in Taiwanese shows where they write their wishes on great big lanterns, and then release them into the skies.
Apparantly different colours represent different things - we ended up chosing a purple lantern (forgot what it stood for, but from the chart below, it meant knowledge). Since it had four sides, it was just as good
that we were a group of four, so we each had a side to write on. The shop provided painting brushes, and two people could work on it at any one time as they had to fold it for easier writing access. My page turned out to be trilingual as I used a mix of English, Chinese and Korean ha! :D
Mini lanterns souvenirs were sold everywhere
After all that eating and walking, we headed back to Taipei, around our hotel area near Taipei Main Station for more food. I know. Taipei is seriously an eating mecca.
Fried chicken cutlet
Hands down the best shaved ice we had on our trip