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Taking a Stroll Around Dihua Street

Taking a Stroll Around Dihua StreetWhen talking about Dadaocheng, people cannot help mentioning Taipei Xia-Hai City God Temple (台北霞海城隍廟) on Dihua Street. Taipei Xia-Hai City God Temple is not only a center of local worship, but also a major tourist attraction, where the formidable City God “team” not only provides blessings to local people, but also painstakingly acts as overseas matchmakers. Known far and wide, the City God Team includes several figures, such as Xia-Hai City God Lord (霞海城隍老爺) , Fan-Xie Two Generals (范謝二將軍, Lords Seven and Eight), Mrs. Cheng Huang (城隍夫人) , the Matchmaker (月下老人) , and the Born Empress (註生娘娘) .


Due to the colorful appearances of these gods, they are deeply rooted in people’s hearts, and are therefore looked upon as sources of creative development by local shops and restaurants. The gods have been incorporated into all types of products and are full of memorable charm. If you can find some free time to pay respects to the City God, there is no harm in also taking a walk along Dihua Street to visit the stylistically diverse and unique shops while also experiencing the beautiful mix of old and new that is characteristic of Dadaocheng.


On display at Rice & Shine URS329 is Festival of the South Street , a<br/>symbol of Dadaocheng’s splendid historySeasoning bottles in the shape of steamed dumplings


10:00 11:30 Rice & Shine URS329


Rice & Shine (稻舍) URS329 is located on Dihua Street and is the site of the newest URS (Urban Regeneration Station). Originally it was a rice-husking factory with an attic that served as a rice storage facility. Consequently, in addition to rice-related commodities, it also features an area across the courtyard where visitors can sample rice dishes and savor the unique flavors. Attached to the wall of the room next door are colorful and charming images of Lords Seven and Eight, and next to them with a knowing smile Lord Eight says: “You go a little lower!,” while Lord Seven says “You go a little higher! And so it is said that we will grow together like this ....”Meanwhile, the occasional silk screening activity is held in the lecture space by the window. Regardless of whether the activities involve decorating Spring Festival Couplets or canvas bags, they are of considerable interest.


Dihua Street is home to shops that specialize in woven bamboo<br/>products.11:30 12:00 Jiang Ji Hua Lung/ Lee Cake


URS329’s neighbors include the greatly admired Jiang Ji Hua Lung (江記華隆) and Lee Cake (李亭香餅店) . Jiang Ji Hua Lung is legendary for long lines of people that invariably appear in front each Lunar New Year. The lines are comprised of people hoping to sample the almond flakes on thin meat sheets and other meat products, which are Dihua Street’s premier Chinese New Year souvenirs. Although the shop interior is simple and low-key, over time the meat smells have continuously wafted through and always make people want to take a second look. Once they realize that, to their surprise, this shop is the legendary Jiang Ji Hua Lung, it is impossible for them to resist taking a bag of the food home.


Having been established in 1895, Lee Cake features unforgettable classical cream puff cakes which have been nicknamed “Taiwanese Macarons.” There are delightful expressions on the packaging that make people hesitate whether or not to gobble them down in one big bite. In addition, this century-old shop treats three gods in the City God Temple to a meal: The Matchmaker, Mrs. Cheng Huang and Born Empress. Under these flags, the cookies are full of cultural meaning, and as soon as these interesting auspicious cakes are placed on a table, it is probably unnecessary to say anything and the gods will know just what you want!


12:15 12:45 Cisheng Temple


Cisheng Temple (慈聖宮), Fachukung Temple (法主宮) and Taipei Xia-Hai City God Temple are the three major temples on Dihua Street. Just like Taipei Xia-Hai City God Temple, Cisheng Temple was established to “put a spell under a roof” for the feuding migrant groups in existence when Bangka (艋舺) moved into Dadaocheng. In 1866, Cisheng Temple was rebuilt on the corner of Dihua Street and Minsheng Road. It is clear that Dadaocheng terminal was located in the front of the temple for the sake of protecting the merchant ships. During the Japanese era, due to zoning reforms the temple was compelled to move to its current location (Lane 49, Baoan Street). Now on the stone pillars inside the temple, there is a carving with an inscription that reads “Established During the Reign of Tongzhi.” In addition, the food stalls in front of the temple feature traditional Taiwanese flavors that local residents have enjoyed for their entire lives, such as congee and boiled squid.


13:00 14:30 Specialty Exhibition of Traditional Wooden Tubs and Woven Bamboo Products


Strolling in the middle of the northern part of Dihua Street, you will find that in this section, the main specialty products are not the traditional groceries that most people associate with the area. Instead there are wooden tubs and woven bamboo lifestyle products. The small shops are full of surprises! In addition to woven bamboo dish covers, there are traditional rice sieves that can be found on the shelves along with auspicious banners. Of course the shops have some products for use in everyday life, such as wooden bento boxes, woven bamboo storage boxes, and other products that are no less exquisite than those that would be sold in more expensive shops. Furthermore, on hot summer days nothing is more useful than a bamboo fan for fanning yourself as you stroll down the street. It can cool you off while also showing some local flare and serve as an ornament to embellish your trip with joy.


14:45 15:00 Dadaocheng Wharf


This boat is attached to Dadaocheng Wharf’s “Red Head” (also called Rongke Ship or Tangshan Ship). Early in the year, the freight boats carry important commodities, such as tea leaves and fabrics. Since the water is not too deep, it is possible to go against the current to Dadaocheng and Bangka, and in times past it was the most important form of transportation for foreign businesses and traders in Taipei while also playing a key role in the local infrastructure. It has been said that Xia- Hai City God came to Taipei on this boat. Although the shape of this Ronke Ship looks small and dainty, the original boat was six times as big, and you can surely imagine its extraordinary stature at the time.

Thin meat sheets from Jiang Ji Hua Lung; Classic cream puffs from Lee Cake

15:30 16:30 Ming Yi Cheng ArtYard, Fleisch


The creative works at Ming Yi Cheng ArtYard (藝埕) attract the steady gaze of visitors who linger without any thought of leaving in the same way that the seasoning bottles for steamed dumplings bring a smile to customers’ faces. Visitors admire the ingenuity of the tea leaf egg pots, even if for the time being there is no way that they can bundle them up and take them home. However, at least visitors can take photos to serve as memories. Located across from Ming Yi Cheng ArtYard is Fleisch (福來許). Though you may feel weary from walking, you can rejuvenate your spirits here. Afterwards, you can stroll around in the classical ambience of the old buildings distributed throughout Dadaocheng and sample the creative local handmade fusion cuisine. One example is a type of matchmaker pound cake, which is made with four types of food used as ceremonial offerings to the moon, namely red dates, Chinese wolfberry, dried longan and brown sugar. Together they have an exquisite taste and a detailed texture. Even if it is not a catered dish served in a golden bowl, it is still just as tasty as any fine delicacy.

Taipei Xia-Hai City God Temple is a classic<br/>Dadaocheng tourist attraction; Tea leaf egg pots

16:30 17:00 Taipei Xia-Hai City God Temple


The City God housed inside Taipei Xia- Hai City God Temple was transported to Taiwan in 1831 across the ocean from Xiacheng, Fujian Province (福建霞城); however, at the time it was not kept in this location. It was not until after social clashes on the outskirts of Bangka that it was moved to Dadaocheng. Before 1994, the Xia-Hai City God Temple contained over 600 statues of gods. It currently houses approximately 200 statues, making it the Taiwanese temple with the highest density of god statures and quite a sight to behold.


The City God Temple has an impressive array of Matchmaker statues; moreover, according to official temple statements, the statues depict a woman who wished for a happy loving life together with Xia-Hai. Afterwards, her wishes came true, and a Matchmaker statue was presented to the City God Temple. It is said that the realization of these happy lovers’ fates played the role of putting the “finishing touches” on the temple.


17:00 18:00 Yongle Fabric Market, Dadaocheng Theater


For trendy designers and performance artists of all stripes, Yongle Fabric Market has forged a road to their dreams, with all kinds of beautifully patterned and fine-textured textile cloths, such as knitted fabrics, poplin fabrics, lace and printed cotton, all of which are a true feast for the eyes. When paying a visit to Yongle Fabric Market, a side trip to Dadaocheng Theater is highly recommended. Situated on the eighth and ninth floors of the market, the theater is a venue for the performance, promotion and preservation of traditional drama. On the ninth floor, it hosts all types of traditional drama performances, and in the eighth floor corridor gallery, there is a program to hold permanent puppetry exhibitions as well as other special exhibitions. Dadaocheng completely preserves ancient vestiges and forms a cultural and creative blend between the old and new to create a mysterious and beautiful atmosphere. It is just waiting to be discovered.


A Rongke Ship in Dadaocheng Wharf

Take the Zhonghe-Xinlu MRT Line (No. 4) and get off at Daqiaotou Station. Go out Exit 1 then walk three minutes to Dihua Old Street.