The crack of dawn
As soon as the sun comes up, and sometimes even before, the famous breakfast shops of the city open for business, and breakfast is big business in Taiwan. No matter where a tourist is staying in Ximending, all they need do is walk outside their hotel, and within a few steps they’ll find a traditional breakfast shop.
These places serve up all sorts of hot and cold breakfasts. From egg and cucumber sandwiches to the staple breakfast burger, there’s something for everyone. However, a must-try item at any breakfast shop is the legendary Taiwanese Dan Bing, which is a thin pancake wrapped around some bacon and egg, served with a sweet or salty thick soy sauce on the side.
After a hearty breakfast, there’s not a whole lot to do in the area as this neighborhood really comes alive when the sun goes down. This is the perfect time to head for Cinema Street where local cinemas offer VIP packages that include huge reclining chairs, perfect for a mid-morning movie.
It’s off to the Golden Lion Cantonese restaurant for some Hong Kong style dim sum. This is one of the city’s oldest and most famous dim sum restaurants, and the food is nothing short of delicious. Small plates of every conceivable vegetable, dumpling, and meat dish are trundled around the restaurant floor on a trolley from which diners can take their pick.
Now that the shops are open, it’s a simple matter of taking a walk down one of the many shopping streets in the neighborhood. A good place to start is the pedestrian area on Emei Street, which is lined with boutiques selling all kinds of wares and clothing.
The street intersects with several other pedestrian streets, all of which offer an incredible array of stores to keep the avid shopper busy for an entire afternoon.
Once the sun goes down, this neighborhood comes alive with food stalls aplenty. After a nice sit-down meal in the Golden Lion earlier in the day, it’s now time for some of the best street food Taipei has to offer.
Taiwanese people are blessed with some of the best fried chicken recipes in the world, and in Ximending they are spoiled for choice. The most famous place to get your fried chicken fix though is Hot-Star Large Fried Chicken, which also does a great line of desserts and drinks.
There are plenty of bars in Ximending, but perhaps the best place for libations is the square by the Red House near MRT exit 6. The square is home to more than 20 small bars and cafés, all serving up a variety of beers and liquors throughout the night.
The early hours
Just because the bars are closed doesn’t mean that the fun has to stop. Late night revelers that just want to keep the party going can head straight for PartyWorld where private KTV rooms, complete with wait service, can prolong a night of fun.