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Saturday 28 December 2013

Having a Share of Nine Portions

Jiu Fen (九份) is a small mountainous town in the Rui Fang (瑞芳) District of Taipei. During the old days, there were only nine families residing in this area. Therefore, when the village folks went household shopping, they always carry back nine portions of the same shopping list. That's how the nine portions (jiu fen in mandarin) had officially become the name of this place.



The old street part of this village has been turned into a tourist attraction lined with shops along a narrow stone-tile pavement. It was used for the setting of a famed Taiwanese film entitled City of Sadness (悲情城市). Due to the success of the film, the tourists number increased many folds.



Since the old street receives many visitors each day, most of the shops are selling souvenirs and ornaments. Some of the artists will demonstrate to you how the sold items are made inside the shops.






Other than the souvenir shops, most of the other shops are selling food and beverages. What else will a tourist buy other than souvenir and food and beverages?






This is a great place for a stroll and local food tasting. If you are expecting to experience the local life of a village, I am sorry to say that you have to look somewhere else.

Wednesday 25 December 2013

Jiu Fen: Lunch with Fish Balls

One of the most talked about food at Jiu Fen (九份) has got to be this more-than-60-year-old shop called Yu Wan Bo Zai (魚丸伯仔) that is famous for the fish balls. It is a small shop that is always full with people.


Luckily we were there half an hour before the lunch peak hour. If not, I don't think we were able to get a table.


The art of spotting good food on location is to look for the local people. Even more so the senior ones. It can't go wrong.


The set meal (NT$90) comes with a bowl of vermicelli, a bowl of fish-ball soup and two pieces of minced-pork-stuffed beancurd. The vermicelli was tossed with soy sauce and garnished with deep-fried shallots, a very typical Taiwanese taste and I quite like it. The fish balls were quite chewy with very mild fish taste. I think that suits many tourists' taste but I personally like fish balls with more fish flavour. The best part of this meal was the stuffed beancurd. The minced pork as filling and the fish paste as coating really brought the taste to a greater height. In general, this was a satisfying meal.




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