Oh, Ximending! If there’s Harajuku in Japan, or Myeongdong/Hongdae in Seoul, or the night markets in Tsim Sha Tsui/Mongkok in Hong Kong, there’s Ximending in Taipei.
In the early years, Ximending was a cinema district. I actually looked it up in Wikipedia which is why when I was just creating my itinerary, I included a walking tour of Ximending which will run through the Cinema Street. However, due to lack of time, I was not able to follow that but then it gives me another good reason to re-visit Taipei.
When the central government of the Republic of China was reinstated, Ximending developed from a cinema center into a busy recreation and shopping area. For a time, Ximending was the largest business and entertainment center in Taiwan. Later on, these activities shifted to the East District but with the completion of the subway line for the Ximen station, people began coming back to Ximending for art, culture, and sports.
And as it stands now, as I said above, it’s a popular tourist destination similar to Harajuku or Meyongdong. Hence, the moderate to high hotel accommodation rates as compared with those in the other districts in Taipei.
More Ximending photos follow.
Ximending at night
Ximending in the morning
Ximen Red House or the Red House Theater, an old market transformed into a theater
Street food vendors don’t have fixed spots in Ximending. One day you’ll find them two blocks from your hotel. The next day, they’re operating in another block. Lesson learned: if you spot a street food vendor selling food that you would like to try, go try it already because you might not find the same vendor at the exact same spot next time.
I think Taiwanese have this strong fascination with toy crane machines. I’ve seen lots of them around.
Never leave Taiwan without trying their famous shaved ice dessert!
And when you’re in Ximending, the best one is from the Ximen Mango Shaved Ice.
One serving is huge and is good enough for two.
Okay, so everyone was raving about Ah Zhong Mee Sua. It was raining when I decided to drop by so I had a hard time looking for it the first time. It’s nearer to the Ximen station than to Amba Hotel.
The famous Ah Zhong Mee Sua with oysters and cilantro
You can choose from these three condiments to give your mee sua soup more flavor. I added a little bit of everything and it turned out nice. I had to add some more vinegar and chili because it was cold and I needed that extra kick of warmth.
Expect long lines of locals and tourists but the lines move pretty fast.
Just a few walks and across the street from Ah Zhong Mee Sua is another famous foodie stop in Ximending. It’s called Ji Guang Fried Chicken.
There are many things to buy in Ximending (especially food, shoes and sneakers!!!) but because I have this thing with grocery stores in a foreign country, my favorite in Ximending is going to be Carrefour 🙂 It’s open 24 hours and that’s where I bought my pasalubongs. Ah, typical tourist.
That wraps up my post on Ximending. Will be coming up with a post about Longshan Temple and Bopiliao Ancient Street so stay tuned, friends! 🙂