Next to the MRT, Traditional Markets Bring Handy Shopping to Your Neighborhood
Fashionable Xihu and Dazhi Markets Keep up with the Times
Article｜Tu Xiny Photos｜Jiang Youren
The traditional market is now a convenient option for everyday supplies and fresh ingredients. Since 2011, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (經濟部) has been advancing the “Project to Elevate Traditional Market Competition” and counseling markets on keeping up with the times while providing a high-quality and comfortable shopping environment.
In contrast with other cities, Taipei’s traditional markets must adopt a more “urban” look in response to the influence of the MRT (Taipei Mass Rapid Transportation) and the many urban renewal projects. In addition, the Taipei City Government has staged the “Taipei Traditional Market Festival” to promote “local food, local life, local culture.” This campaign also marshalled local resources in a series of friendly competitions, such as the “World’s Best Vendor Event” in order to revitalize the atmosphere around markets in general.
▲Xihu Market has a bright new look; food stalls are gathered on the second floor, giving it the feel of a department store food court.
Co-Designed by Vendors, Constructed along with its MRT Station
Once you arrive and walk out of MRT Xihu (西湖) Station, just go downstairs and you will see Xihu Market (西湖市場), the only market in Taiwan that was constructed at the same time as its adjoining MRT station. Xihu Market occupies two stories of the building and has 122 stalls. It started at this site in 1989, and Lee Yuanzhang (李元章), who’s been Chairman of Taipei City Public Xihu Market Council (台北市公有西湖市場自治會) for over 20 years, recalls that in the early days, Xihu was just a one-story steel-structure. In 2005, while MRT construction was underway, the market moved to a temporary shed in nearby alleys.
Besides putting in normal hours with their businesses each day, vendors still managed to find time to attend the new market’s planning and construction meetings and thus were able to discuss the blueprints. Today, through the vendors’ invaluable input, Xihu Market is bright and fresh. With its powerful AC and an excellent ventilation system, there’s not a hint of unpleasant smell to assault your nostrils. Food stalls are all gathered on the second floor, and there’s plenty of tables and chairs for diners, including the many workers from nearby Neihu Science Park (內湖科技園區). The environment here is as nice as any department store food court, a fact which helped Xihu to be certified as a three-star “Excellent Market.”
Dazhi Market: a Small but Friendly Neighborhood Emporium
While Xihu Market was rebuilt to take advantage of its adjoining MRT, Dazhi Market (大直市場), located right next to MRT Dazhi (大直) Station, has chosen to keep its original building with improvements and renovations featuring heavily. It also has acquired the three-star Excellent Market certification, and Taipei City Public Dazhi Market Council (台北市公有大直市場自治會) Chairman, Huang Xiangjin (黃祥金), laughs when recalling that the original building is 55 years old. Only the walls date from that time–the ceiling, floor and even the ditch have all been replaced and upgraded over the past few years. Its sparkling and neat environment caught the eye of Taipei City Government’s Department of Culture Affairs (台北市政府文化局), and when the World Design Capital 2016 was held in Taipei, famous designers, Aaron Nieh (聶永真), Feng Yu (馮宇) and Lin Weida (林韋達), were invited to design its small signage.
Renovations completed, Dazhi Market sports a pristine floor, a bright cheerful space, an efficient food waste system, and AC. This comfortable environment is why Huang says proudly, “Now, after revitalization and renovation, we quite often have kindergartens bringing their kids to visit our market!”
There are only 82 stalls in Dazhi Market, but vendors have worked together to create a pleasant ambience in this old building. Xihu Market is designed to meet and greet the MRT crowds and keep up with the times. Whether you prefer small and nice, like Dazhi, or smart and fashionable, like Xihu, you’re sure to find a new look and a marketplace just waiting to show off the new trend in traditional markets.
▲Dazhi Market invited famous commercial artists to design brand-new stall signage.
First floor: 06:00~16:00 (closed on Monday)Second floor: 08:00~22:00
285, Neihu Rd., Sec. 1, Neihu Dist.
MRT Neihu Station, Exit 1
Swagger Mummy Dumpling
No. 57, First floor, Xihu market
A perfect blend of vegetables and meat, these dumplings faithfully reproduce the great northern taste made famous by the grandmothers of Shan Dong Province.
07:00～13:00 (closed on Monday)
No. 3, Aly. 41, Ln. 458, Beian Rd., Zhongshan Dist.
MRT Dazhin Station, Exit 2, walk about 1 minute
Ding Ding Taiwan Meat Product Specialty
A9, Dazhi MarketWith 40 years of service at Dazhi Market, Ding Ding insists on using electric-slaughtered non-refrigerated pork and homemade lard to produce high-quality pork jerky and floss.