Exploring Ximending

4 12 2007

Since Ximending was our home base while in Taipei, we were able to see a lot of this area. Ximending was actually set up by the Japanese during their occupation of Taiwan as an entertainment and business area. The Red House Theater (pictured below), built in 1908, is one of the few surviving buildings from that era. The theater started as a public market before becoming a venue for storytelling and Chinese opera. Today, the theater hosts art and history exhibits.

Red House Theatre

During the day, Ximending is much quieter and very much like any normal street in Taipei. Small mom-and-pop shops, cafes, and convenience stores line the street level entrances of each building, while residences are stacked on top. The street where our hotel was located had a lot of uniform and performance costume shops (i.e. dance, cheerleading, etc…).

One of our best finds in Ximending was a coffee shop called Fong Da Coffee, located at 42 Chengdu Road. Although there is a Starbucks at every corner in Taipei, we love exploring independent coffee shops and this place did not disappoint. Fong Da Coffee is an old fashioned coffee shop established in 1956 that also serves little Taiwanese treats such as almond brittle, temple sugar squares, and other small baked goods.

The coffee shop displays a variety of old fashioned coffee implements all over the shop, which only adds to the quaint atmosphere.

Fong Da Coffee

The shop roasts its own coffee beans with this old fashioned roaster.

Fong Da Coffee

Fong Da Coffee

The coffee itself was excellent. While in the shop, I had a cappuccino and Charles had an iced coffee. Apparently, Fong Da is well known for its delicious iced coffee.

Fong Da Coffee

We were so impressed with the coffee that we bought two bags to take home with us. Fong Da roasts almost 30 varieties of exotic coffees right in their store, including Peruvian, Panamanian, Ethiopian, Kenyan, Kona, and Mount Everest. We bought the coffee from Mount Everest (I don’t remember the exact name and we finished all of it) and the house roast. The Mount Everest coffee was very mild. My mom got the bag of the house roast and she loved it.

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One response

5 12 2007
MJ Klein

excellent photos of the place and especially the apparatus for roasting! i haven’t had a good iced coffee in about 4 years. thanks for the great article.

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