Facts and local view for your short visit in Hsinchu city

Edward Chien
9 min readMar 20, 2019


Taiwan has less smash scenic spot like Effiel Tower or Time square than those famous tourism cities, but if you have time to explore this lovely island, I believe everyone can find their own amazing moment in Taiwan. I always think that the very ordinary and local experience is the essence of travelling here, weather the foods at the corner, the traditional activity of the culture or the unexpected scenery walking somewhere :)

Hsinchu, 1–1.5 hour from the capital, is even less popular than other cities for foreigners unless you are on duty. The Hsinchu science park, which is like the silicon valley of Taiwan, gave birth to the high-tech / semiconductor industry of Taiwan which contributes to huge part of GDP, including the most successful semiconductor foundry, TSMC, all over the world.

TBH, Hsinchu is often joked by Taiwanese people as a boring city with high price, dumb food, and bad weather. (The nickname “wind city” is just … literally correct.) However, after 10 years studying and living here, I do find that it’s not as bad as people’s stereotype, and see it as my second home eventually. (Let’s be objective, but every place must have some things to see, right?) So here are some facts and local view/ suggestion for the first time visitors. (ps. I don’t wanna repeat those infos easily found on the net or the pics)


  • The fabulous places of Hsinchu is mostly in the mountain or far from the city center, but it is not easy to arrive without public transportation or in a short visit. Ask me if you are interested anyway.
  • Don’t be dissappointed! There are enough places for your 1–2 days visit.
  • In the winter, it often rains, but not as much as Taipei or Keelung. However, the wind is often insane.
  • If you like store shopping, you can go to BigCity, but go to Xinyi district or other places in Taipei instead. You got countless brands and comfortable atmosphere of a modern commercial area there. Good for a walk even without consuming.
  • The THSR station is at Zhubei (竹北), which is 20 minutes to Hsinchu city center and across the river. There are shuttle trains for you to transfer twice an hour.
  • There is also ubike system in Hsinchu city. Having a valid Easycard is suggested.
  • There are more Hakka people in Hsinchu and Miaoli(苗栗) then other cities. If you have time, some Hakka culture is waiting for you to explore!
  • Taiwanese culture has such an close relation for food. Therefore, you never visit a new place here without trying the food, either traditional cuisines or some creative stuff! Here, I would mark “☆ “ for those special for visitors (recommend to try in your short time,) while others are just things I recommend/like to eat generally.
  • Once again, don’t expect Hsinchu city a perfect tourist place, but welcome to see the local life here.

Finally, let me divide this city into certain parts:

[火車站 / 護城河 / 東門城 / 東門市場]
[Train station, the Moat Park, The East Gate of old town, and the East Gate Market]

This is the heart of Hsinchu old city center. The Maot park is originally the moat runs through the old gate for the old Hsinchu town and now a beautiful park for you to get closer to the water. Local commercials are often filmed here. Post a spectacular instagram picture if the weather is nice.

By the way, the Hsinchu train station is one of the rare official historic site stations lasting more than 100 years with the repair by three different governments from Qing. There are still some historic building here such as the city hall and the museum. Find the mixture of Japanese/Chinese style in these humble but beautiful building hiding here!

Last but not least, 東門市場 is a market with local’s memory more than 100 years. It’s once the very prosperous market (Imagine there is even a escalator in such a traditional market. It’s total 3 floors.) Come and feel the smell of history of this market in daytime. You’ll surprisingly find that there is even some people living here. Come back at night again and see how it magically turning into a cool place for youngsters to gather and have supper or some drinks here. There are several old market like this in Taiwan, all with the old souls and young vibes mixed, but this is the most unique one. Trust me.

An article about the market for more details (in Mandarin)

Things to eat here:

文昌雞飯 — at the roundabout, a popular local diner

price : $~$$ / Chicken is nice. Good to have a Taiwanese taste!

☆ 豐谷油飯 — traditional food for special scenario of Taiwanese tradition like the first month of a child. It’s actually at the different side of the station. / for takeaway ONLY!

price : $90 for 一斤 (600g, local unit especially for food)

石家魚丸 — popular local food. Fish ball with stuffing — but haven’t tried yet.

☆東市1001 — There is a bar in 東門市場! The name is the number of the stand in the market. Not as fancy as those hipster bars with AC, but where can you have some drinks in a historic market like this? Beer and cocktails are served. Even some snacks. The bartender is nice.

Price is fair. / Atmosphere is unique.

河堤上的貓 — a local and popular drink stand near the moat park

☆ 艾司加ICE+冰店 — If you like the shaved/snow ice here, this is my secret place. They also use high quality local ingredient, but the price is also a bit higher. (Lower than “ice monster” in Taipei though) My preference is the tea ice. (那瑪夏金萱)

Price : $100~$200

☆ 福源花生醬 An local brand for fresh made peanut butter. $160 for one. Recommended!

[城隍廟 / 中央市場 / 北門街]
[City God Temple / Central Market / Beimen Street]

The City God Temple region is almost the very first (or only) place when people visit Hsinchu for both Taiwanese and foreigners. It is also connected to Central Market, so you can actually get into the temple from the market side. In this area, you may randomly appeared old brick building and some local food places.

Things to eat here:

阿富滷肉飯 and 鴨香飯 : famous food stand/diner around/in the temple. Others in the temple region are OK to try as well.

☆ 鄭家雞蛋糕 A more than 50 years snack stand with simple traditional “egg cake.” Cheap and tasty. At one of the entrance of 中央市場.

桂花潤餅 A stand in the market. An alternative favor for Taiwanese spring roll. Traditional / Salad version are both good.

price : $40/each (only open til noon)

阿桂牛羊雜 Fresh-cooked and tasty lamb. Good stir-fry dishes and also soup here. You can try more kinds of dishes if there are more people. The fried rice with cumin is also nice.

price : $~$$

☆老黃豬腳大王 This is my all time favorite. Be sure to try if you are not afraid of pork knuckle. They have plain/clear soup and dark soup (with Chinese herbs.)

price : $$

竹山意麵 A Taiwanese taste dry noodle with lard. Not pricey.

☆☆北門炸粿 Not far from 竹山意麵. If I can only suggest one thing to eat, this would be the must-visit here. A century-history food stand by four generation with very Taiwanese-taste fry food. Anything on the menu is nice and super cheap. (open after noon)

☆民富街狗咬豬 A think this is better than the famous 割包(Gua bao) in Taipei… Their 四神湯 is nice as well.

[新竹公園 / 十八尖山]
[Hsinchu Park and the 18 peaks mountain.]

The park is under construction now for renewing but you can still visit some part of it, including the glass craft museum. There is cherry blossom here every year where I’ve been there with a surfer this year. The 18 peaks mountain is an easy one for you to take a walk in 1~2 hours.

Things to eat:

築咖啡 Zhu Coffee — A cozy cafe I like. Nice food and coffee.

price : $$~$$$

168新加坡美食 A East West Asian style diner popular for students with good price and big portion.

price : $

水源街麵食館 The cook here is said to work in “鼎泰豐” before, but you don’t have to pay that much here. I often saw some Japanese people having lunch here while on duty.

price : $$

Two coffee shop I go often : “RD cafe” and “Cama” which are quite close on 光復 road.

[The universities and the science park (Ciao-Tung / Tsing-Hua)]

These universities are like the Stanford / UC Berkeley next to the Silicon Valley. They are competitive to each other and have a keen sport competition every February! Many students find job in the semiconductor/high-tech industry, so there are strong connection with the science park. You never mention Hscinchu without them.

The two campus is actually neighboring to each other and even have a trail that cause arguments by the naming of it, depending on which one you are studying in…lol

Things to eat (some diners in front of NTHU.)

小洞天 — A place for you to taste Taiwanese pork/rice sausage!

price : $~$$

日荃蒸餃 — A diner with steamed dumplings and egg soups. Can’t beat the price!

price : $~$$

立晉豆花 — An old place for 豆花 and other traditional sweat dishes/ice. They sell hot dishes as well (such as red bean soup) so you can visit here in both summer and winter. For iced 豆花, they add shaved ice version of sugar instead of sweet sugar water!

price : $

Do Re Mi豆戀迷 A place for tasty red/green been soup, 湯圓 and others served iced or hot.

price : $

[Ganhsin road region]

It’s a small region full of nice and new high-rise apartments as well as new restaurants/bars. A new and cozy community near “新莊” station, with many people work in the science park.

[豆腐岩] [The “tofu rocks”]

A new instagram spot in recent years. It was the tetrapods originally put considering the river flow but turned into a tofu-like gray rocks in a great order! Some people like to visit at the sunset or evening. Prepare a good camera for dim light! You may have good pictures.

[竹北] [Zhubei]

This is the region across the 頭前 river where the THSR located at. There is also a high-tech industrial park here. It’s a newer part then old Hsinchu city with modern view, larger roads and convenient neighborhood where some high-tech people live. Alongside the river, the spectacular view made of those high-rise modern (and expensive) apartments gives an urban view of Hsinchu.

[南寮漁港, 香山濕地,17公里海岸線]
[The coast side — Nanliao Fishing Port, Siangshan Wetland, and the 17 km bike trail]

You can enjoy a sea view in few minutes from the city. Visit the port, rent a bike and relax. Be careful for the windy times! (It may be harder to ride then you imagine when you’re in the opposite way!) There is also a couple of places nice for sunsets. Camera ready!

Things to eat:

Fresh seafood (Sorry, I come from a family enjoy seafood a lot in Kaohsiung… so not familiar with that here lol)

海屋cafe — A relaxed place for fresh baked pizza and other roasted food. Enjoy the atmosphere here outdoor, and there might be music sometimes!

price :$$~$$$


A mangrove forest for you to take a walk (wooden trail.) More than half an hour from Hsinchu city.

[內灣, 北埔, 尖石]

The suburbs and mountain area….. TBD

[Other diners/cafes/restaurants to eat in Hsinchu city!]

Beef noodles ($$) : 段純貞 / 如意麵食館 / 麵堂 — different styles

Cafe ($$~$$$) : 墨咖啡 / 日常咖啡 / many actually…

Others to eat

嘉味火雞肉飯 (Turkey&rice) (It’s a famous local food from 嘉義city.)

price : $~$$

新橋燒肉 (Good quality grilled meat restaurant)

price : $$$~$$$$

飲酒藏 (Pricey Japanese Izakaya)

price : $$$~$$$$

Go Eat Tapas Dining BAR (Delicate Spanish restaurant)

price :$$$~$$$$

La Dolce Vita樂多趣義式餐酒館 (Italian style with homemade spaghetti and other cuisines)

price :$$$