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A walk through Dihua New Year Market

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Dihua Streets in Taipei. (Arsene Photo)

By Stephanie Chao, The Eye on Taiwan staff writer

It’s that time of the year again. Located in one of Taipei City’s oldest, a surviving neighborhood in Datong District, Dihua Street comes alive as Chinese New Year rolls around the corner.

Despite the chilly weather, families are out in the literally packed streets scouring for snacks, wares, Chinese herbal medicine and etc., as well as cooking ingredients to prepare meals during the festive new year holidays between Feb 15 and Feb 20, or perhaps, they’re just enjoying the break and spirit of getting together to celebrate the new year.

The Eye on Taiwan took a tour of Dihua Street this year. Will you be going, too?

A stall sells traditional Chinese snacks. Passer-bys are welcome, even encouraged to sample the snacks, which the vendors hope to entice them to buy.

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A couple caters to consumers as fried snacks are laid out for buyers to scoop their fill. Many of the shops on Dihua Street are furnished like this one, with decor that gives off a traditional, homely and nostalgic tone.

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An elderly man looks at wares on Dihua Street. On the right hand of the wares are dried luffa sponges that are used by many Taiwanese families, usually by the older generation or tradition-focused families.

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The elderly venture out into the chilly weather to procure ingredients to prepare for the upcoming Chinese New Year meals. For many of the elderly, this is the prime time of the year to see whole families gather together.

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A view of the busy Dihua New Year Market. The streets are closed off to ensure safety for shoppers.

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Varied snacks are on sale here at this stall. Pistachios (開心果) are a popular snack served during the lunar Chinese New Year, due to its affordability and auspicious name, literally meaning “carefree” or “happy nuts.”

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Peanuts are also favorite snack selections, too. Families often get the snack on nuts as they watch the lunar Chinese New Year special TV programs.

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Dried, canned abalone, as well as seafood, were considered delicacies for Taiwanese families in the past, which only the wealthy could afford.

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Traditional Chinese snacks, some dried vegetable or fruit slices, are offered at this stall.

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A different view of Dihua Street. The red, yellow lanterns offer a festive atmosphere to the street.

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Are you ready for Chinese New Year? Share with us how you plan to enjoy the lunr Chinese New Year this year by leaving a comment below!

Dihua New Year Market opens from Feb. 1 to Feb. 14.

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