Shenkeng Old Street is one of the largest and busiest old streets in New Taipei, known for its famous tofu delicacies, and old Taiwan feel. Here one can enjoy delicious food, beautiful scenery, and buy nostalgic Taiwan related souvenirs. The Tofu here is truly incredible; Shenkeng is known as the Tofu capital of Taiwan, so you should definitely stop by here on your next trip to Taipei.
During the Qing Dynasty, the town of Shenkeng was an important stop along the Danlan Old Trail (淡蘭古道 which means the road between Tamsui and Yilan), which was split into three paths, and Shenkeng was on the Southern Path. The Southern Path winded from Mengjia Old Street to Liuzhangli, then to Shengkeng which was a major business center at the time. From Shenkeng the road then went to Shiding, Pinglin, and then Yilan. The Southern path was the quickest way to Yilan.
In addition, there was a boat dock in Shenkeng that connected it to Mengjia Old Street in what is now central Taipei, making it an important shipping point for tea grown in the mountains nearby.
During the Japanese Era in 1915, Shenkeng Old Street was made wider by knocking out the first floors on each side of the street for pedestrian traffic, which can still be seen today as a defining feature of Shenkeng Old Street.
After World War 2, the train to Yilan replaced the need for a boat dock for shipping in Shenkeng, and the town slowly fell out of importance.
National Highway 3 and National highway 5 were constructed near Shenkeng in 1993 and2006 respectively, making Shenkeng again an important stop on the way to Yilan.
In 2008 the New Taipei City government along with local residents created the Shenkeng Historical District and paved the way for the restoration and tourism on the old street. Since then it has been a major tourist attraction for Taiwanese locals.
Local delicacies at Shengkeng Old Street include Stinky Tofu, Fried Tofu, Tofu Hot Pot, Tofu Ice Cream, Read Bean Soup, Zongzi, and various other tofu related products.
Tofu in Chinese cuisine is similar to cheese in the West. It requires fermentation creating various flavors.
Every Day from about 10 AM to 10 PM, with more shops opening later in the day.
When to go:
If you go during weekends or holidays, it can get really crowded but that is also the time when most all of the shops and stalls are open. If you want to avoid the crowds you can try going early in the afternoon when it is not as busy,
How to get there:
By Scooter: Take local highway 106 east from Muzha (Wenshen District) or local highway 109 south from Nangang District. The old street is right in the middle of town. You can park for free at the park to the north of the old street.
By Car: You can take national Highway 5 and get off at the Shiding exit, or take National Highway 3 and get off at the Shenkeng Exit. There is parking near the southern entrance in the form of a mechanical parking garage, and there is also underground parking under the park to the north of the old street.
By Bus: There are a number of buses that pass by the old street coming from Wenshan District or Nangang District of Taipei that leave from near the Blue Line Nangang Exhibition Center Station or Brown line MRT Taipei Zoo/Muzha Station.
Please see below:
I have been to Shenkeng Old Street dozens of times. It is literally a 10 minute scooter ride from my house and I visit there often.
See above for some drone footage of Shenkeng Old Street.
Right next to the old street is a gigantic mechanical parking garage, ready to fit hundreds of Taiwan family vehicles travelling from national highways 3 and 5.
Jiadong Old Tree 加冬老樹
One of the first things you will notice from the southern entrance to the old street is the Jiadong Old Tree right in the middle of the road. It is said that after the bridge behind it was completed, the tree was planned to be chopped down. The then president of Taiwan Chiang Ching-kuo visited the location and was impressed with the tree so he told the engineers to not cut it down. It is said to be over 100 years old.
淡蘭古道簪纓街 Danlan Old Trial High-Class Street
One of the most prominent buildings on Shenkeng Old Street is the building marked "Danlan Old Trail High Class Street" ear the 100 year old Jiadong Tree. The name of the building extenuates the history and culture of the area, because back in the day this road was not known as "Shenkeng Old Street," it was part of the Danlan Old Trail where only high class and elite families lived. There is another building on the other entrance to the street called "Danlan Trail Shenkeng Street."
View of the southwest entrance to the old street from above.
Some tofu stalls and a temple celebration going on at the southern entrance near the Jiadong old tree.
Bridge to the other side of Shenkeng that is blocked off only for pedestrians.
Zongzi and Oil Rice, some of the delicacies Shenkeng Old Street is known for.
麓棼肉粽 Lufen Rouzong
Mt favorite Zongzi place on Shenkeng Old Street is Lufen Rouzong. I have eaten here twice, but I don't have any pictures. The Zongzi here are cheap and full of meat.
A man enjoys noodles near the Earth God Temple.
深坑土地公廟 Shengkeng Earth God Temple
There are two temples on Shengkeng Old Street, one is the Main Jishun Temple, the other is a small Earth God Temple near the south entrance of the Old Street. The Earth God temple is over 200 years old and is an important religious center for the shop owners on the street, who pray there for customers to buy more things.
炸臭豆腐 Fried Stinky Tofu
Near the Earth God Temple on the north side of the street is an excellent fried stinky tofu stand, with one piece of fried stinky tofu only 35 NT. Just look for the long line of people in front.
深坑老街茴味 Shenkeng Hui Wei Cuisine
Another nice tofu spot is the Shenkeng Old Street Hui Wei Cuisine restaurant.
Boiled Stinky Tofu 水煮臭豆腐
Some delicious boiled stinky Tofu at Hui Wei.
How is a Taiwanese meal complete without Braised Pork Rice (Rouzao Fan 肉燥飯)?
They also has some delicious fried rice.
They also serve hot (Mala) Tofu among other things.
Chiayi Ge 嘉義閣
Another Similar Restaurant - Chiayi Ge.
麻辣臭豆腐 Mala Stinky Tofu
Some Hot (Mala) Stinky Tofu; I think we have covered pretty much all types of Stinky Tofu?
Another similar restaruant, Wanji 萬吉.
More of the same.
Another famous place with good Tofu is Yuanchun (源春).
Jishun Temple 集順廟
Jishun Temple was built in 1838 during the Qing Dynasty and is the main religious center of Shenkeng. Back in the day the Chinese villagers here mostly prayed for protection from attacks by indigenous tribes and from diseases.
Some signed explaining the cuisine and religious significance of Shenkeng.
Another view of Jishun Temple.
People lined up to get some Stinky Tofu and worship in from of Jishun Temple.
Ah Zhu Taro Balls 阿朱芋圓
Something I get almost every time I come to Shenkeng Old street is a bowl of sweet Taro Ball soup at Ah Zhu.
Besides selling soup inside for 50 NT a bowl, they also sell taro balls which you take take home so you can make the soup on your own.
You can also add the usual Taiwanese toppings.
The main dish is taro, green bean, and sweet potato balls.
It's so delicious sometimes I end up getting two bowls. You can get it hot or cold (with ice).
Shenkeng Ferry Dock 深坑渡船頭
One of the cooler historical sites in Shenkeng is the old site of the Ferry Dock, which you can find by walking through this passageway, easy to find by the second story balcony catwalk. There are also public bathrooms at the end.
Some steps lead down from the bathrooms to the Ferry Dock site.
This is what the site of the Ferry Dock looks like today: just some gardens along the river.
However, back in the Qing Dynasty this ferry dock was very important to the economy of Shenkeng and the surrounding area, bringing in tea and other supplies from the mountains, and centralizing them here for shipping to Taipei (Mengjia Street). Transporting goods from mountain areas like Shiding and Pinglin was very hard as there were no roads besides the Danlan Trail. Therefore, one could say without this ferry dock there would be no Shenkeng Old Street as we know it today.
Tofu Ice Cream 豆腐冰淇淋
You thought I was done with tofu in this blog? Nope! Tofu ice cream is also another great treat in Shenkeng. There are two or places that sell it in Shengkeng, and all for 20 NT.
The soft serve tofu ice cream just tastes like sweet soy milk. Sorry to ruin the surprise.
Another tofu ice cream place that also sells Douhua (bean curd pudding).
A plaque commemorating the 2012 rejuvination of Shenkeng Old Street.
What appear to be period bricks or replicas in the street.
Souvenir Shops 紀念品店
If you are a tourist looking for souvenirs, Shenkeng has what you are looking for.
There are quite a few nostalgic stores here that sell toys and candy that most Taiwanese people would remember from their childhood.
Another row of souvenirs and toys.
Taiwan themed refrigerator magnets.
Tons of Taiwan related key chains.
Buddhist and Taoist related wooden trinkets.
Traditional tea eggs.
Brushes and animal horns.
Wintermelon tea store.
A look from the back of the old street.
Another tofu restaurant.
Another view of the street.
Traditional Chinese treats stand.
Almond tofu and dried Tofu (Dougan 豆乾).
View of the street from the north entrance.
Every kind of tofu under the sun.
Ceramic souvenirs for sale.
Backpacks and starfruit for sale.
Hats and toys for sale.
Fish balls and other seafood for sale.
Get your fortune told for 10 NT, if it's a bad fortune it's free! My wife tells me this was a popular thing when she was a kid.
People lining up to get a fortune.
Preserved veggies and sauces for sale at Xu Mama's (徐媽媽醬采茶).
Spring Roll shop along the street.
Dalan Old Trail, Shenkeng Street 淡蘭古道深坑街
The other side of the street says Dalan Old Trail, Shenkeng Street 淡蘭古道深坑街. Now we have pretty much covered the entire street, but there are still many shops not covered in this blog waiting for you to explore.
One last look at the tons of Taiwanese tourists on the street.
You can also go rest at the park on the north side if you are done. There is underground car parking here as well as free scooter parking.
View of the old street from the air.
Also if you have time you can cross the river and check out the authentic Taiwanese restaraunt Datuanyuan (大團圓) which is run by my wife's great uncle.
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We are US Expats that have extensive experience living, working, and travelling in Taiwan. In our day, we had to learn many things about Taiwan the hard way. But we have come to learn that Taiwan is one of the best places in the world for Foreigners to live. Our blog does not represent the opinions of every foreigner in Taiwan. We are just trying to help others learn more about this beautiful country.