Taiwan

Taipei: Dihua Street

Dihua Street is one of the oldest streets of Taipei, built in the 1850s. It is located in Datong district, where it’s part of the Dadaocheng community.

The sections of Dihua Street just north and south of Minsheng are among Taipei’s best-preserved streets. This was the core of the original settlement area, and has been the island’s most important distribution center for traditional dried foods, herbs, medicines and other goods before the turn of the 20th century.

Wholesalers still hawk many of the same goods that people have flocked here to buy for over 100 years. Chinese medicine shops cluster around the Xiahai City God Temple and stretch north to Minsheng, while dried-food suppliers predominate North of Minsheng, a one-stop-shopping area for dried mushrooms, tree fungus, dried fish and shredded squid.

The vendors usually display their goods in huge bags; some bags are even taller than five feet high.

Many shophouses have neo-Baroque facades. These were added in the 1880s and 1890s as part of the reforms encouraged by governor Liu Ming-chuan, whose goal was to learn from the West and modernise. The buildings serve as a wonderful metaphor for the reality that such emulation went only skin-deep, beyond the Western facades, the cramped interiours of the buildings are very much that of the traditional shophouses, with a family’s multiple generations living in the back and working in the front.

The historical architectures make Dihua Street a really nice place to look at – but it would have been nicer without the rain and grey clouds!

How to get there:
Take MRT to MRT Shuanglian Station. From exit number 2, walk west down Minsheng W. Road (15 minutes).

Here is a video showing a more lively Dihua Street, without the rain:

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