Tamsui Old Street (aka Danshui Old Street or Tamshui Old Street) is a street in Tamsui District of New Taipei famous for it's delicious food and historical atmosphere. It is one of the most popular and well known old streets in all of Taiwan. Some local delicacies here include A-gei, iron eggs, fried squid, and other seafood.
Tamsui Old Street developed alongside the Tamsui Harbor, which was opened in 1860 during the Qing Dynasty as part of the Treaty of Tientsin which ended the Second Opium War. It was one of only eight ports in the entire Qing empire that was open to trade with the west. As a result, it became a focal point for trade in Taiwan. It was also the western terminus of the Danlan Old Trail, which was a network of roads and trails that sent tea and other goods from Yilan to Tamsui. It remained an important port until it started to silt in during the 1900s, and after the construction of Keelung Harbor.
There are also a number of important historical buildings near Tamsui Old Street such as Fort San Domingo, Huwei Fort, and others.
Tamsui Old Street has always existed next to the old harbor, and recently there have been projects from the local government to improve tourism, such as widening roads and making a riverside walkway.
With the completion of the Red Line MRT with its terminus in 1997 right at the edge of the old street, Tamsui became an extremely popular destination for residents in greater Taipei and remains to be so today.
Every day 11 AM - 8 PM.
How to get there:
By Car/Scooter: Take provincial highway 2 north from Taipei until you reach Tamsui. The old street is near the Tamsui MRT station. Parking can be hard to find, but there should be plentiful parking at Tamsui Elementary School and other places further away.
By MRT: Take the red line MRT north to Tamsui station and you have arrived.
Please see below:
I have been to Tamsui Old street probably half a dozen times. I have taken a scooter, car, and the MRT. The MRT or scooter is the most convenient way to get there, because parking is not an issue. With a car, there is such limited parking around the old street that you likely end up having to walk very far to get there. This time, we walked from Tamsui Elementary school which has a trippy concrete park behind it.
Tamsui Old Street actually consists of about 3 or four streets sprouting out near Tamsui MRT Station. The actual street names are Huanhe Road, Gongming Street, and Zhongzheng Road. So you could technically argue that the street does not exist. But I think a good definition is all the streets that are closed to car traffic at night.
At the intersection between Gongming Street and Zhongzheng Street, the crowds get bigger and bigger.
There is still traffic on Zhongzheng Street, but crowds of people line either side, as there are lots of places to snack here.
Takoyaki Octopus Balls (章魚燒 Zhangyushao)
Some Takoyaki Octopus Balls (章魚燒 Zhangyushao), a popular treat on the old street. This is a very popular Japanese street food you can find all over Taiwan. Here at Tamsui Old Street, seafood is king.
Bag and Luggage Shops 背包及行李店
On Gongming Street, you will find one after another of cheap bag and luggage shops. Many of the full size backpacks here sell for just 100 NT (3 USD). I have never seen cheaper bags sold in Taiwan. Ofcourse I bought one.
Are these good quality bags? Probably not. But if you are a poor person with limited budget, these cheap knock off bags straight from factories in China can be a dream come true.
Another view of Gongming Street.
More bags on sale.
A-gei is the most definitive Tamsui delicacy. Lot's of shops around here sell it.
What is A-gei? It is glass noodles wrapped in Tofu, as you can see above. It's pretty good. The tofu texture goes great with the noodles. Many sell for under 40 NT.
Even though it is just noodles and tofu, it's prepared in a special way with fish oil and sweet and spicy sauce that makes it a truly unique Tamsui treat.
But don't stop with A-gei. There are tons of other good foods you can try out.
Iron Eggs 鐵蛋
Iron eggs are also a delicacy that originate from Tamsui. Apparently they were made by accident by a local woman selling braised eggs, who reheated them too many times, making them dry out. They turned out to be a hit. Iron eggs today are made by soaking them in spices and then air drying them. You can find iron egg shops all over town.
All kinds of dried seafood are also popular here.
Red bean cakes on display.
There is also a "Museum of Wonders" (搜奇博物案) on the old street, which looked like it had some weird stuff, but we did not go inside.
Taro Ice Cream 芋頭冰淇淋
Whenever I come to Tamsui I always get the Taro soft serve ice cream. It's really good, and only 20 NT. They have two machines near the riverside.
A view at the beginning of Gongming Street in front of the MRT station.
People sitting around the park in front of the MRT station.
More crowds of people along the riverside park.
Crowds of people hanging out near the entrance to the old street.
Baked Squid 烤魷魚
There are alot of baked and fried squid stands along the old street. A cheap one will cost you about 80 NT. You can eat the squid whole, or they can cut it up for you.
Nothing like chewy squid meat smoke cooked with savory sauce.
Fried squid and various other fried fish.
View along the riverside street.
Shrimp rolls, a tea stand, and a small temple.
More fried squid.
Massage Shops 按摩店
There are also quite a few massage shops here. During our first time here, one of us got a foot massage for 200 NT. Well worth the money.
More shops along the riverside.
People enjoying the riverside park.
More Iron Eggs being sold at the riverside.
More seafood being sold by the riverside.
People gathering by the riverside.
More people walking to and fro.
More huge soft serve machines on the other side of the river. You can choose between chocolate/vanilla, green tea/mango, and strawberry/taro.
Curly baked potatoes and sweet potato balls.
People lining up to get on the ferry to Bali across the water.
Oyster omelettes, fish balls, and stinky tofu.
Ferry to Bali 八里渡輪
There is a ferry that goes from Tamsui to Bali. The fare is 60 NT and there are boats every 15 minutes.
View of the ferry dock just as a ferry is leaving.
Ferry crossing the Tamsui River to Bali.
Crowds of people at the center of the old street.
Time for another A-gei.
Another view of the shops as we make our way back.
Egg tart stand.
Panorama of the Tamsui River.
On the other side of the water, you will find yourself at Bali Old Street, another riverside old street that is much smaller in size to Tamsui Old Street, but still has some good food.
Also near the old street, you can check out other historical sites like For San Domingo and the old British Consulate.
You can also check out the Qing Dynasty Huwei Fort.
You can also check out Fisherman's Wharf, which can be reached by light rail from Tamsui (which should be open soon). It also has seafood and snacks similar to Tamsui Old Street.
Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more of our blogs on the Tamsui area!
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