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Walk the Lanes of Minsheng Community-Observe the City Past and Present

Date of publication:2015-08-25

Text & Photos/Zhang Jin-de

Minsheng Community

Minsheng Community

Walking in Fujin Street, Minsheng Community, you're sure to become familiar with the sound of jets taking off and landing. Fujin Street is next to Songshan Airport, and has recently become extremely internationalized; there are more than a few furniture stores, grocery stores and cafes with international styles which attract many young friends and foreign tourists who come and explore the community. It was built by Kao Yu-Shu, then the Mayor of Taipei, with American aid in the 1960s. Kao planned the transformation of 110 hectares of paddy-fields into a residential district which could house 40,000-50,000 people, and Minsheng Community became Taipei's first model community.

Walk into Minsheng Community and Search for Memories of the “Old” Days

In Minsheng Community, the history of the evolution of Taipei apartments can be seen.

In Minsheng Community, the history of the evolution of Taipei apartments can be seen.

In the early years, Minsheng Community was mainly inhabited by American military families, and as a result, the streets are filled with trees, and there is also a small garden in front of each apartment building. It is shaded by trees and has an air of small-town America about it. However, Fujin Street is best known as the location for scenes for the film adaptation of the famous illustrator Jimmy Liao's book “A Chance of Sunshine” . It then became a popular place to shoot T.V. shows, movies, and music videos. “The movie Taipei Exchanges” , the TV idol dramas “Police et Vous” and “The Fierce Wife” were all subsequently filmed here. It was “Taipei Exchanges” which brought Fujin Street, one of Taipei's few tree-lined avenues, to the attention of movie fans. This led to the opening of a succession of restaurants and cafes serving unique food such as pasta. The trend has expanded beyond food and drink, many advertising companies and activity companies, creative studios, boutique furniture stores and jewellery stores have also begun to move in one after the other, fully displaying the resilience of the community's residents in the lanes and alleys.

But today, if you want to see Fujin Street as it used to be, why not headfor “Caopu Market” where Fujin Street intersects Xindong Street. Named after an expanse of grass which once lay here, this is Minsheng Community's last remaining traditional market. The market has 100 meters of stalls, dealing in all kinds of goods, whether fresh fruit and vegetables, cakes fresh from the oven, or traditional glutinous rice cakes; anything you could want can be found here. The traditional appearance of Fujin Street remains here, and wandering through Caopu Market provides a glimpse of life in Minsheng Community, unchanged since the '50s.

Venture into Fujin Street and Discover a “New” Creativity

Enjoy a cup of fine coffee or tea at one of the distinctive cafes on Fujin Street.

Enjoy a cup of fine coffee or tea at one of the distinctive cafes on Fujin Street.

Head west from Caopu Market, and you will become aware of the changes Fujin Street has undergone in the last 50 years. The whole street is lined with trees, and as soon as autumn arrives, the leaves fall from the trees. The lanes and alleys hidden on both sides of the street have many unique shops, such as “funfuntown”, which specializes in domestic and imported designer goods; its entrance still retains the old washed granolithic finish wall, with a faded rusty iron sign hanging, showing the marks of time. As well as modern design, the shop's interior also contains many old items with charm, like colourful enamelled tableware, all kinds of creative lightseven an old light-bulb caught in a fishing net, which serves as a creativelight. Many more irresistible creative treasures are waiting to be found.

Leave “funfuntown” and return to Fujin Street, turn the corner and you will come to “Fujin Tree 355”, another old and famous space, this one filled with accessories from Taiwan and beyond and Japanese-style goods. It also holds irregular art exhibitions, experiential lectures and cultural spaces and 9 branches have opened in succession, each with its own style. For example, the neighbouring “Fujin Tree 353 CAFÉ” was originally one of the flower gardens in front of a block of flats. Although the garden has been removed, the cafe is still filled with bonsai plants and the old flat's external and internal walls have been removed, creating an open, transparent space. The café aims to be “a courtyard in which everyone gathers”. Not only does the entrance have vases which contain all kinds of flowers and plants, but also an antique chest of drawers from which plants peep, filling the whole space with vitality.

Minsheng Community
Transport: Approximately a 10-minute walk from MRT Songshan Airport Station Exit No.3

Time: Wednesday-Sunday 13:00-20:00
Address: No.2, Aly. 1, Ln. 359, Fujin St., Taipei City
Tel: 02-2766-5916

Fujin Tree 355
Time: Monday-Friday 12:00-20:30; Saturday-Sunday 11:30-19:30
Address: No.355, Fujin St., Taipei City
Tel: 02-2765-2705

Fujin Tree 353 CAFÉ
Time: Monday-Friday 9:00-18:30; Saturday-Sunday 9:00-19:30
Address: No.353, Fujin St., Taipei City
Tel: 02-2749-5225

Caopu Market (Xindong Street Vendors' Area)
Time: Monday-Sunday 6:00-14:00
Address: Xindong St., Taipei City (Fujin St. to Ln. 180, Sanmin Rd. and Ln. 65, Xindong St.)

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Taipei City Government