From the late 19th century to the mid-20th century, or the final years of the Qing Dynasty to the early days of the Retrocession of Taiwan, the Dihua Commercial District was Taiwan's largest wholesale and retail market. Whether it was tea, Chinese medicine, groceries and sundries, fabrics, or silk, it all passed in and out of the Dihua Commercial District’s Dadaocheng Pier, and contributed to the development of industry. Taiwan history expert Zhuang Yongming explains, “Dihua Street was a logistics hub. With regard to the development of the Taipei Basin, this was one of the most important business districts in Taipei... at that time, tea exports were highly profitable, and since no captain wanted to bring back an empty boat, numerous foreign goods were imported into Taiwan, which really gave impetus to shipping and trade in the area... Taiwanese have always held Chinese medicine in high regard, so that was another commonly traded good. As the economy improved, so did the demand for better clothing, and thus fabric imports increased. Therefore, for industries created during every state of development, Dadaocheng played an important role.”
Today, although the Dihua Commercial District is no longer Taiwan’s leading commercial trade hub, it still retains a vibrant business atmosphere. Every year before Lunar New Year’s Eve, it is transformed into the Lunar New Year shopping district. Day in and day out it bustles with crowds of shoppers and is very lively.
The Dihua Commercial District is a paradise for enjoying authentic Taiwanese snacks, including sweet and delicious swordfish rice noodle soup, crispy chicken rolls, mitaimu brimming with Taiwanese flavor, fish balls, glutinous oil rice, and pork- chitterlings-with-tripe soup. Each food shop is well-known and popular with everyone, so whether you come to buy daily necessities, or purchase fabric at Yongle Market, or have made a special trip to pray at Taipei Xia-Hai City God Temple, be sure to try the food too. Eat your fill and you’re sure to have a worthwhile trip!