My visit to Jingmei was the result of pure chance; on a whim I had closed my eyes and traced my finger along the MRT line, ultimately landing upon Jingmei.
Even though the name Jingmei (景美) suggests beautiful scenery, the town itself is quite ordinary, containing all the things you’d expect: schools, restaurants, a night market, temples. What I was surprised and excited to see though was a public library.
The library is conveniently located close to the MRT station, a few minutes walk away from the night market. Though the library was open, sadly the only sections available were the study rooms and the children’s section as the other sections were closed for maintenance.
The children’s section looked really cosy and I was quite amused to see more grownups than children there. (The newspaper shelves had apparently been moved to the children’s section.) The majority of the books are in Mandarin but I spied a couple of English books tucked away on a shelf in the corner.
So glad I decided to browse through the books because I found this gem of a book, The Thing About Luck by Charlotte Kadohata. The book is such a sweet, tender portrayal of what it’s like being twelve yet having to grow up so fast. I ended up staying and reading the entire book, alternating between laughing out and tearing up. Definitely one of the nicest books I’ve read in a long time.
On my way back, I stopped by the night market for dinner. Compared to other night markets, it’s really very small. The food stalls occupy just one lane and the clothes and shoes stalls take the lane perpendicular to it.
Do try the shanghai pan-fried buns; they’re sold at the stall with the longest queue. At 10 NTD a bun, it makes a pretty decent and cheap snack. People actually buy them by the dozen though I don’t think the buns are that good to be a meal in itself.
I also tried run bing, which is basically Taiwan’s version of the popiah. Instead of radish, you get cabbage and beansprouts; sliced pork replaces prawns and everything is topped with generous sprinkles of crushed peanuts. The best part is that you eat it like a wrap, making it very handy if you’re eating and shopping simultaneously.
There’s also sushi for only 10 NTD!
Though the food at the night market was decent, I probably won’t return to Jingmei again, unless of course it’s another chance encounter. But fingers crossed fate has more interesting places in store for me :)