Updated: Feb 16
No doubt the Taiwan’s textile industry is not as important to Taiwan’s economy as it was a few decades ago, Taiwan, and particularly Yong Le Fabric Market (永乐布业商场), is still a great place for fabric shopping in Taipei. So, that was on the top of my must-go list when planning for my trip to Taipei recently.
The closest MRT to the Yong Le Fabric Market is the Beimen (北门) station on the Green Line. Exit the station via exit 3 and walk north on Tacheng Street (塔城街) until it changes into Dihua Street (迪化街). You’ll be able to see the market on the right after a minutes walk along Dihua Street. The shops are generally open from 10am to 6.30pm, Monday to Saturday.
Yong Le Fabric Market is pretty much like the 2nd floor of People Park’s Complex/Food Center in Singapore. Except it is much bigger and seems cleaner (I am not sure whether the cold weather made things seem cleaner… but I was particularly impressed by the cleanliness of the toilet! One of the spacious cubicles even sports a diaper changing station! Great for mothers who are fabric shopping with babies, though climbing the flights of stairs with a pram might be challenging – didn’t see any lift/working escalator when I was there.)
Luckily my parents were with us, so the girls happily went off with their grandparents, giving me a good hour or so to shop in peace!! (Yay!) So, here’s a list of (some of) the shops I visited:
(1) Hua Xing Fabrics 华兴布行 (No.2018 and 2042)
The owner of the shop Lü Guo Hua (吕国华) is a very affable chap, who chatted with us for quite a while. He told us that his fabric-selling business was his “second spring” (第二春). He used to work in Unilever, retired a few years ago, and went on to study for a masters and even wrote his thesis on the history of Yong Le Market(!). He carries quite a large selection of lovely Japanese and American fabrics (e.g. Robert Kaufman and Michael Miller), as well as cotton-linen and pure linen. My mom bought a couple of fabric panels that can be made into fabric books for my nephew at his store. (Mr Lü is seen cutting the fabric for her in the photo below).
I also got some lovely laminated cotton at the store opposite Hua Xing No. 2018, but have unfortunately misplaced its name card, so I don’t have its name or store number to share 🙁
Thinking of making some place mats, or maybe even a small bag with this 😉
(2) Niao Ju Fang 鸟居纺 (No.2068)
Another great place for cute prints is Niao Ju Fang. Many of its fabrics are imported from Japan. I got a few yards of lovely double gauze cotton here at 300NT (approx S$12) per yard here.
(3) Sheng Hao Fabrics 盛豪布行 (No.2065)
Sheng Hao is the place to go to for (polyester) satin and lace. The selection is huge and the price is rather reasonable, starting from 40NT per yard. I couldn’t resist and bought quite a few rolls of satin. Not exactly sure what I will do with them, but I guess they will come in useful when making princess dresses 🙂
(4) Jie Wei 杰威布行 (No.2043 and 2046)
And of course, I’m always on a lookout for knit fabrics 😉 From my conversation with Mr Lü of Hua Xing Fabrics, there aren’t many stores selling knits in Yong Le, but he, very helpfully, brought me to the one that does! 🙂 Jie Wei, which has two stalls in the market, specialises in knit fabrics, as you can see they have rolls and bolts of them in the photo above. The selection of cotton printed knits fabric aren’t great, so I only ended up with some turquoise cotton interlock knit. Planning to make a matching tee for my husband and myself 😀
(5) Zhong Yao Fabrics (仲嶢布行) No. 2059
If you like flowery prints in vibrant colours, you must check out Zhong Yao Fabrics. Its fabrics are largely flowery, and its price is quite reasonable, starting from 50NT per yard (although the fabrics from the cheaper range seems a bit too heavy/thick for making garment. I supposed they will be good for bags.)
I didn’t have the time to visit all the stores, but given my limited time there I am quite happy with my purchases 🙂 If you are a fabric lover, you must check out Level 2 of Yong Le Fabrics Market when you are in Taipei! (Level 3 are mostly fabrics for upholstery. Some of the shops there also offer tailoring service, I think.)
If you are feeling tired or famished after all the fabric shopping, do consider eating at some of the food stalls around the market. They are pretty good and can get quite crowded at times. My husband spent most of his time checking out these stores while I did my fabric shopping 😛
If you are looking for crafting/sewing book, you should check out the Xin Yi branch of Eslite Bookstore, one of Taiwan’s largest bookstore – it spans a few floors. It carries an extensive selection of books (in English, Japanese and Chinese) and opens till midnight(!). I love the book culture in Taiwan (and for that matter in Japan and many other countries). It’s such a pity that brick and mortar bookstores in Singapore are having a hard time surviving.
If you are checking out Din Tai Fung‘s main branch along Yong Kang Street, you could also pop by the bookstore right next to the restaurant (while waiting for your table). It has a pretty decent selection of crafting books – though mostly catered for making bags, quilting and knitting – as well as a fairly sizable children section.
All in all, I had a fabulous time in Taipei.
Top row L to R: The amazing seafood tanks gigantic crabs and scrumptious sushi at the Standing Sushi Bar at Addiction Aqua Development 上引水产.
Second row L to R: Shaved ice at the famed Smoothie House along Yong Kang Street, Taiwan sausages (that tasted a lot better than those you can get in Singapore :D) at Ning Xia night market highly recommended by our Taiwanese friends, and the very popular and supper yummy muar chi stall near Xing Tian Temple.
Lovely weather (I love cold weather!), friendly people, yummy food and pretty fabrics. What’s there not to like about Taipei? 😀 I can’t wait to make a trip back again soon!