Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Trip To Taiwan 台湾: New Taipei 新台北 - Jinshan Old Street / Jinbaoli Old Street 金山老街 / 金包里老街

Photo By: Elin Chow
Address: Jinbaoli Street, Jinshan District, New Taipei City 208, Taiwan 新北市金山区大同里金包里街

Leaving Yehliu Geopark 野柳地质公园, we headed to Jinshan Old Street / Jinbaoli Old Street 金山老街 / 金包里老街 next for lunch.

Jinshan Old Street / Jinbaoli Old Street 金山老街 / 金包里老街

Jinshan Old Street, also known as Jinbaoli Old Street is located in Jinshan District of New Taipei, Taiwan. The area was originally a Ketagalan 凱達格蘭族 settlement called "Ki-ppare", which means "Land Of The Plentiful Harvest".

The Ketagalan were one of the 10 tribes of the Pingpu aborigines (also known as the Plains tribes) 平铺族. According to historical records, they were the earliest inhabitants of Jinshan area.

The population in the area has rapidly increased during the end of Qing Dynasty, due to the migration of Han Chinese from Fujian Province, China. With the arrival of Han Chinese, the Ketagalan were forced to live deep into the mountains, abandoning their homes and farmlands. The chinese name "Jinbaoli" is translated and derived from the Ketagalan name  "Ki-ppare". Today, the Ketagalan are close to extinction. Most of them are Hanised, speaking the languages of Han people fluently.

Surrounded by mountains on the three sides, the name "Jinbaoli" was later changed to "Jinshan" during the Japanese Occupation.  "Jinshan" means "gold mountains" in Chinese. The area is rumored to be rich in gold deposit, hence the name "Jinshan".

Before the arrival of immigrants, the Ketagalan have owned an extensive of land for agriculture. Most of the tribe people were farmers, growing mainly Taro and Yams. The Ketagalan were self-sufficient, producing just enough for their needs. 

The area is well known for its agricultural products such as sweet potatoes, asparagus and bamboo shoots. 

Today, Jinshan Old Street is a famous tourist attraction that retains its historical characteristics. The entire street is lined with historic old stone buildings and traditional shop houses. Apart from that, visitors will also find a traditional Chinese medicine shop and a rice shop that are at least a century old.

The old street has been 200 years old since Qing Dynasty. While strolling down the streets, visitors can admire and appreciate the beauty of these historical architecture that might have to give way to modern development someday.

Hundreds of vendors and shops lined both sides of the 200 meter long street, offering a good selection of traditional local snacks, dried goods and souvenirs for visitors to choose from. Some of the local specialties include taro cakes, a number of sweet potatoes products and Jinshan shredded ice.

However, the most famous local specialty is Jinshan Duck Meat 金山鸭肉. According to Mr Tsai, this is a must-try dish when you are visiting the Jinshan Old Street. Lots of locals, as well as international of visitors flock here for the duck meat everyday. Thus, the entire street is always crowded with people, especially during lunch time.

After a morning of shopping, we headed for lunch at the famous 30-year old duck meat restaurant located at the gate of the Taoist Guang'an temple 廣安寺. Since we were here, we have to try the famous Jinshan Duck Meat.

The restaurant has no menu and no ordering. Visitors will have to pick out whatever dishes they would like to eat from the kitchen table located in front of the temple and carry them to their table for dining.

But first, you will have find a table at the seating area located two blocks away across the streets. However, the seating area was extremely crowded throughout the day; finding a vacant table to dine was absolutely not an easy task.

We waited for about 40 minutes to get a table for the 7 of us. Once we were seated, a few of us headed off to the kitchen area to pick up the dishes that we would like to try.

There will be a long queue of people waiting for their turn to pick up the dishes they want. Please note that the dishes are running out fast, so grab whatever you would like fast before they are gone. Of course, you can walk back to the kitchen area and pick out more dishes while eating. But I believe none of you would want to

Down the street, you will see lots of people carrying tray of food from the kitchen area to the dining area. It was a very interesting sight. Just like many others, we picked out a few dishes from the kitchen table and carry them across the street to the seating area for dining.

Steamed to perfection, the duck meat was tender, chewy and delightfully juicy. The taste was just right, savoury, but not too salty or greasy. Even without any garnishing, the meat was wonderfully flavorful on its own.

A trip to Jinshan Old Street is never complete without tasting the famous Jinshan Duck Meat. The duck meat are definitely a must try!

Besides duck meat, the restaurant also serve fried noodles, a variety of breaded seafood fritters and stir-fry seasonal vegetables and seafood. I really like the breaded seafood fritters too, They were crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. A very simple dish, but incredibly delicious to eat.

We picked out pig's intestines too. I did not eat this since I am never a fan of pig's intestines.

Another must try is the stir- fried noodles, which is also one of my favorites. The noodles were well-fried and very delicious. 

Stir-fried seasonal vegetables with pig's intestines. Yes, pig's intestines again. This was another dish which I did not eat at all.

We tried these deep fried whole little fish as well. You can actually eat the whole fish, including the fish bones. They were very crunchy to bite on. But I am never a fan of such deep fried fish. I hate eating fish bones, even when they can be eaten.

The food portions are large enough to be shared among a few people. To avoid any food wastage, it is best to visit with family or a group of friends. All of the drinks are self served in the fridge at the seating area.

Once you are done eating, signal the staffs to calculate your total bill and make your payment before leaving.

At the end of the Jinshan Old Street (at the intersection with Mingsheng Rd 民生路), you will find Cihu Temple 慈护宫 (also known as Jinshan Matsu Temple 金包里妈祖庙) Built in 1809, Cihu Temple is the largest temple in Jinshan. The temple is 200 years old and worship the Golden-faced Matsu 金面妈祖, Goddess of the Sea.

Most of the street vendors and shops at Jinshan Old Street opens from 10 am to 7 pm. I would suggest anyone to visit early on a weekday to avoid massive crowds.

Jinshan Old Street is a lovely small street to explore. So, do drop by if you have some time to spare.

If you are interested to know more about our trip, you may want to check out our 11D10N round island tour itinerary for the list of attractions that we had visited during our 11 days in Taiwan. Be sure to follow me on Facebook or Twitter  for the latest updates on my 11 days adventures in Taiwan! You might also want to check My Wanderlust page for some of my other travel adventures.


  1. Hello, My name is Frieda from Indonesia. If I have to choose between Jiufen Old Street and Jinshan Old Street, which one do you think better to be visited? Thanks a lot :)

    1. Hi Frieda,

      Both streets are unique in its own ways. I could not say which one is better. But if I have to choose, I prefer Jiufen Old Street.

  2. Ok, thank you so much for your suggestion :)