YUM, YUM, YUM! The Shen Keng Old Street is one of those places that makes Taiwan famous for its food. Located about 15 minutes by bus from the Muzha MRT stop just outside of Taipei City, Shen Keng is a nice afternoon visit for those that are either in love or totally repulsed by tofu (especially stinky tofu!).
The Shen Keng Old Street has been around for a few decades but has now been discovered by visitors (primarily from Asia) who want to visit a site and eat some fabulous and famous foods.
Getting to Shen Keng is super easy by public transportation. First hop on the MRT and take the brown line towards the zoo. Get off at the Muzha Station.
From Muzha, you will notice that you are not in the big city anymore. It's quiet and the air is clean. Walk out the front of the station and then cross the main road. The bus stops are in front of the OK convenience store.
There are many buses to take to Shen Keng. You can tell the driver you want to go there and he will make sure to stop. It takes about 15 minutes or less and the fare is 18NT. All of the bus numbers listed below (except 251) will pass through Shen Keng.
Hop onto any of these buses to get to Shen Keng.
Bus 819 arrives.
The bus stop at Shen Keng is at one end of the street. There is a big tree with benches underneath. Weekends are much more crowded than weekdays.
The primary food on Shen Keng is many styles of tofu. The street is walking only and has been redesigned with an old Taiwan feel. There are vendors everywhere selling all kinds of non-tofu snacks as well.
#1 BOILED SPICY TOFU
There are a few kinds of tofu foods to eat at Shen Keng. The first one to try is the spicy/boiled tofu. There are a few famous and busy places that have huge pots cooking in the front. The tofu chunks are large and come in a bowl with a spicy sauce.
When served, the bowl of tofu looks like this....it's spicy!!
#2 Barbecued Tofu
Barbecued tofu is hearty, messy, and just plain delicious. Cooked on skewers, the 2 tofu chunks are laden with a sauce and after cooked diners can choose a few toppings to add on top. The pickled cabbage topping is the traditional way to go as its crunchiness matches well with the soft hot tofu.
When done, the tofu is served in a box and then eaten with a stick.
#3 Tofu Ice Cream
There are a few tofu ice cream shops in Shen Keng. It comes in a cup, the texture is smooth, and the flavors are very Taiwanese style which means fruit, taro, and caramel choices.
The tofu ice cream comes in a cup and tastes quite good. If you don't like dairy products, then this ice cream is perfect for you.
Below is one of the signs for a shop selling tofu ice cream.
#4 Fermented Tofu 豆腐乳
Most westerners have no idea what fermented tofu "dou fu ru" is. Fermented tofu is not something you eat directly out of the jar. It is used in cooking as a seasoning and also as part of a sauce mixture. Tofu is fermented is large urns with white beans or chili peppers. The taste is very salty and strong but once you are used to it, it's delicious.
Below, a shop sells jars of fermented tofu.
A temple sits along the old street. I bought my barbecued tofu here.
Raw tofu sits in bags for sale.
A household number on the Shen Keng old street.
Chickens hang in a restaurant to be served as a side dish with a bowl of tofu.
Fresh ground black sesame paste is put into jars for visitors to take home.
A large tree sits at one end of the Shen Keng Old Street near the 7-11 which is across from the bus stop.
Below is a store selling stinky tofu.
Preserved fruit shop.
"Gui" is a Taiwanese snack. The outside is like a chewy mochi and the inside can be stuffed with sweet things like red bean or salty ingredients like pork.
A view of Shen Keng Old Street on a rainy weekday. It was not busy at all.
Shen Keng is a distinctly Taiwanese destination. It is a great way to spend a few hours if you are in Taipei City and looking for something special to do.