Ximending – Taipei’s Busiest Shopping District

Hey guys! Still blogging about my trip last month to Taiwan – there’s lots of things to see and do here. After a long day of travelling and sightseeing in Jiufen, we were pooped – but one does not travel and not try to get in as much visiting as possible! Despite our tired and sore muscles, we dragged ourselves to the shopping district of Ximending later that evening. Good thing it was very near to our hotel 🙂

Ximending is like the Times Square of Taipei; an elaborate maze of neon signs and shops selling every article imaginable – clothing, phone/tablet accessories, electronics, cosmetics, food.. you name it, they got it. There are also cinemas, spas, massage parlours and quaint little cafes catering to tourists. On a weekend, this pedestrian-only zone is a vast sea of humans (sometimes walking dogs or toting small ones in their bags). The Taiwanese have a love affair with pet dogs.. as we shall soon see when we stopped by a place for dinner.

I am very much a cat person, but I like dogs as well so the sight of this floofy Golden Retriever at a storefront immediately compelled me. The shop is called Ah Mao (literally fluffy /furry) Risotto Restaurant. 

The inside was cosy (albeit a little stuffy) and cheerful, with murals of cute animals decorating the walls. There were also loads of Golden retriever pix, presumably of Ah Mao. Not sure if original dog, as I noticed later there were two dogs.

Ngaw that face.

Just looking at that happy smile makes you happy too, no?

The only thing sold there is risotto. They offer chicken, seafood and vegetarian options. I opted for the pork one which came with an onion-y/tomato-like base and a slice of garlic bread. Bread could have been crispier (it was kinda soggy) but the rice was warm and satisfying.


Wucang St, Sec 2,  武昌街2段48之1號 Taipei, Taiwan
+886 2 2388 8098

More exploring…

A movie theatre showing an erotic film? Curse my inability to read Chinese characters, haha. 

There was a huge crowd milling about one of the intersections, and we decided to be nosy as well. There were several street performers putting up shows. This black dude surprised everyone by speaking impeccable Mandarin (again, putting me to shame :P) and did some amazing stunts involving a tennis racket and him contorting his body through it. Hm.

His boyfriend/girlfriend must be one happy camper. 😀

I walked up and down the food street trying to locate this, but couldn’t find it. 😦


Ximending is the entire area around the subway station. Just alight at Ximen station (Green line). It’s rather dead in the daytime but night is another story 😀

Famous Mee Sua @ Ay-Chung Flour Rice Noodle, Ximending, Taipei

On our fourth day in Taiwan, we checked out of our hostel in Fengjia, Taichung and hopped onto a two-hour bus headed to the northern capital of Taipei. A bustling city of 2mil people, this modern metropolis is a quirky mix of old Japanese colonial lanes mixed with ultra-modern buildings, like the iconic Taipei 101. The city seemed slow to wake, as the streets were still relatively empty when we got to our accommodation at Ximen around 9-ish. Time to hunt for breakfast!

Several colourful floats were on display on the street, including an anime-esque Mazu (the Taoist Goddess of the sea) on clouds, complete with cute cartoon sea creatures.

Our hotel was conveniently located next to the shopping district, which comes to life at night and carries on until the wee hours of the morning. The scene during the day is more subdued, but there are still some shops and restaurants open to explore. 

One of the most famous stalls in Ximen is Ay-Chung Flour Rice Noodles, which dishes out ‘meesua’ or thin rice noodles in a soupy broth. The small kiosk was crowded with visitors! There were no tables; only a couple of chairs – so most patrons stood around and had their meal.

Service was fast, orderly and efficient. Staff ladled scoops of hot noodle broth from a giant vat into small paper bowls before topping them off with sauce and condiments.

Meesua is made from rice flour, with a soft, silky texture that slips down the throat. The broth, which is thick, goopy and starchy, has a smoked fish + meat flavour, as the base is made from bonito flakes. While some places put oysters in the meesua, Ay-Chung’s version is full of chewy pieces of pork intestine.


No. 8-1, Emei St., Wanhua District, Taipei 108
Business hours:  (Mon – Thurs) 10 am – 10:30 pm; (Fri- Sun) 10am – 11pm