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Dadaocheng Ecomuseum: Recalling History Through Architecture

An era of innovation passes down a 100-year-old industry
Giving the public a glimpse into Taipei's most retro district
To promote the rich cultural stories of Taipei City, we rolled out the Museums Without Walls project, among which the Dadaocheng Ecomuseum (大稻埕無圍牆博物館) showcases the long history of a 100-year-old industry and street houses in Dadaocheng District (大稻埕). The Taiwan New Cultural Movement and modern industrial innovation also took root here, creating a unique appearance of the new and old converging at the local level.
Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) visited Dadaocheng on July 30 and went to Dihua Street (迪化街) to visit the cultural venue Cheng Le Tong (埕樂通), and the residency BackerHouse (貝殼好室), facilitated by the Taipei Old House Cultural Movement project. He also visited specialty stores along Zhongbei Street (中北街) to admire the contemporary cultural and creative products sold at nan-bei huo stores (南北貨, regional specialty goods) in Dadaocheng, and invited the public to join him in savoring the novel taste of Taipei’s most retro district.
A cultural venue & a special sound exhibition
Dadaocheng District has the greatest density of street houses over 100 years old of anywhere in Taipei. The cultural venue Cheng Le Tong, located along Dihua Street, fully retains the original architectural features, with it two entrances to a single shop front. It is also among the rare long-form street houses that allows the public to freely pass between Dihua Street and Minle Street (民樂街). The space has rolled out a Special Exhibition of Flow of Sound in Dadaocheng, collecting sound samples from Dadaocheng such as street hawking, temple festivities, and rain to create a unique art installation, and inviting the public to experience the characteristic Dadaocheng atmosphere through hearing. Cultural relics from the Qianyuan Pharmacy, telling the history of the industry, are also exhibited on site.
100-year-old street house and a flagship camera store
Aside from the rich streetscapes of historical buildings, the boundless creativity of civic efforts to revitalize old houses has brought a fresh coat of color and vitality to the streets of Dadaocheng. The Olympus Plaza Taipei building is the flagship store of the 100-year-old international camera brand Olympus. As well as selling cameras, it also promotes photography culture in Dadaocheng, holding photography exhibitions, courses, and seminars in the street house. Well-known crowdfunding team Backer-Founder (貝殼放大) also worked through the Taipei Old House Cultural Movement project to take up residency in an old house and create BackerHouse, a crowdfunded brand and product exhibition space, transforming the space into a base for innovation and boundless creativity.
Contemporary cultural and creative products, the specialty flavors of Dadaocheng
Dadaocheng District first started out as a business district. Since 2015, we have rolled out the Build Up Taipei store refurbishment project, and as of today we have assisted 148 stores in transforming and improving their competitiveness. Many well-known stores are now inheritors of the industry, such as Lee Rih Sheng (李日勝), Garlic Smart (烏覓馬), and Da Dao Chen (大盜陳茶飲). And specialty restaurants The Carp (鯉魚) and Tong-An Family Selection (同安樂) have thought up creative ways to give their historical brands a new lease of life.  
Lee Rih Sheng is a nan-bei huo store (selling regional specialty goods) in Dadaocheng. Its signature product is wild mullet roe. Its creative launch of mullet roe ice cream was well-loved by the public. Garlic Smart is a store whose signature products include black garlic, black lemon, black beans, and other black health foods. Dried black garlic is a healthy snack that can be eaten with black lemon drink as a novel health food option. Da Dao Chen (named to sound like “Dadaocheng”) is a creative bubble tea store that has rolled out beverages using local ingredients, such as mullet roe oolong tea and mullet roe beer. It also launched the God of Love Milk Tea to celebrate Chinese Valentine’s Day: you take a sip and receive an exclusive love poem. The highly creative store has become a well-loved go-to for young people.
The Carp started out as a regional specialty goods store on Dihua Street and has transformed over three generations, innovating by creating novel cuisine from traditional ingredients. The founder of Tong-An Family Selection is the ninth-generation successor of Dalongdong’s Chen Yueji Residence (陳悅記老師府). The old-fashioned cuisine currently offered at the restaurant holds the 200 years of memories of the Tong'an people who gathered and lived in Dadaocheng. The Han Chinese costumes and embroidery decorating the store also showcase the matchless elegance of the centuries of history of the Tong'an people.
Where new and old cultures meet, where cultures converge
A century ago, Dadaocheng was a bustling commercial district and a key development hub in Taipei. Today, fascinating old buildings, lively market fairs and a diverse cultural atmosphere intertwine to create a unique streetscape. After visiting the streets of Dadaocheng today, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je proceeded to Yanping Riverside Park (延平河濱公園) to watch the Chinese Valentine’s Day fireworks and immerse himself in the romantic atmosphere with residents.
For information on the Dadaocheng Ecomuseum, visit the Taiwan New Cultural Movement Memorial Museum Facebook page [link] or our Facebook page [link]. For more information on refurbished stores, visit the Taipei City Office of Commerce Facebook page [link].