Qiaotou Old Street (aka Xiaodianzai Street 小店仔街) is a historical street in Qiaotou District of Kaohsiung City. Originally a major industrial hub for sugar cane, now it is a quiet agricultural town in rural Kaohsiung in the shadow of the nearby Qiaotou Sugar Factory. It is not a super touristy old street, but has some well preserved historical buildings nearby.
The first Han Chinese settlers to Qiaotou came during the late Ming Dynasty, along with Koxinga. The original name of Qiaotou District was was Xiaodianzai (小店仔), a name given because in the olden days there was a few shops near a the Yungui Bridge (允龜橋). Later during the Qing Dynasty, the row of shops became a long street known as Xiaodianzai Street (小店仔街). The Yunchong Bridge crossed a small ditch near the old street, and after a while people referred to the street as Qiaotou Street (literally the street at the head of the bridge). The ditch was later filled in with earth and the bridge was torn down, but it stood near the current stinky tofu stand.
In 1901, during the Japanese era, the first sugar factory in Taiwan was built in Qiaotou. In 1999, the sugar factory stopped producing sugar, and in 2006 it was converted into a museum.
Currently the old street is not so popular as a tourist old street, but is more of a vegetable market for locals. Also, you can tell that the buildings here have mostly all been renovated to look modern, which has taken away from the old town feel.
Still there are many people who visit here, mostly as a side stop along the way to or from the Qiaotou Sugar Factory.
Qiaotou is still mostly a rural area, with the main agricultural products such as fruits and vegetables. On the old street some popular local delicacies are spring rolls. rice cakes, stinky tofu, and pork buns.
All day, hours differ between shops.
When to go:
Anytime, it never gets really crowded here.
How to get there:
By Scooter/Car: From central Kaohsiung, take provincial highway 1 north (scooters) or national freeway 1 (cars) until you reach Qiatou. The old street is just one block south of the train station.
By MRT/TRA: Take the MRT or TRA to Qiaotou Train Station stop. The old street is just one block south of the train station.
Please see below:
I have been to Qiaotou Old Street twice, both on the way to Qiaotou Sugar Factory. It is a nice stop for food, but besides the theatre there is not much historical about this old street. It is more like the normal main street of a town than an old street.
Some faded murals along the train tracks.
The railroad crossing leading to Qiaotou Sugar Factory.
The front of the old street. You can see from here uniform green signed and modern store fronts. Not much of an old street feel except for the brick sign.
The old street is mainly composed of restaurants and fruit stands.
The Qiaotou Old Theater (橋頭舊戲院), which thankfully looks like it is undergoing renovations. Once it is complete, it can really help to spice up this old street. It is seriously the most interesting historical building on this street. Sadly this theater has not been covered by Alexander Synaptic. The theater was built in about 1944 and closed in about 1989. In 2009 it was converted into a restaurant, but it looks like now it is being restored to its former glory.
Clothing store and rice cake shop.
Pharmacy, fish balls, and other small restaurants.
Skin care shop, ice shop, and persimmon shop.
Scooter repair shop and fruit stands. You can tell this is more like the main street of town and not a tourist street.
Fruit stand next to the scooter shop.
Papaya, carrots, custard apples, and dragon fruit for sale.
At the end of the street you will find the Fengqiao Temple, which is the religious center of the town. The main deity worshipped here is Mazu. The temple dates back to 1725 during the Qing Dynasty and was renovated in 2010.
Of course if you have time, go check out the Qiaotou Sugar Factory, which is probably the main reason you came to Qiaotou in the first place. For our full blog on this place, click here.
Thanks for reading and be sure to check out more of our blogs on Kaohsiung to come.
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