Sec. 3, Roosevelt Rd., Zhongzheng Dist., Taipei City 100, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
Gongguan Shopping Area is more of an experience in youth culture than a tourist attraction. Straddling the southwest side of National Taiwan University, this shopping area stretches several blocks on both sides of Roosevelt Rd. It is immediately apparent that most of the people packing the street here are students from NTU or other nearby schools. It's something of a mystery that came first: the students who need a place to relax after class, or the shops and vendors that serve them? But similar to night markets around the country, Gongguan grows and adapts to the times, such that a night excursion here is sure to uncover the latest trends appealing to a current generation of Taiwanese youth.
Indeed, if you are in the market for a new pair of shoes, Gongguan may be just your bet in Taipei. Numerous shoe stores and eyewear shops competing for customers line the streets southwest of the MRT station, offering all the latest brands and styles. Small street-side vendors sell a range of other fashionable items such as clothing accessories, cosmetics, and even stylish umbrellas. Not straying far from its target audience of students, a handful of bookstores also make an appearance, and typical of the bookish Taiwanese, are always packed.
But perhaps the real enticement of a visit here is the variety of food choices. In the evening, food vendors roll onto the street, making a makeshift night market, replete with sandwiches, egg pancakes, and fresh food stalls. Beverage shops and bun makers are often the most in demand, with customers willing to queue for ages. The gems, however, are to be found along the quiet alleys. One such rare find is a Xinjiang restaurant, serving delicious full-bodied stews from the northwest region of China. Crossing over Roosevelt Rd and making your way through the alleys behind Eslite Bookstore will lead you to a wide assortment of foreign restaurants, diners, and cafes. Here, the paradox of enjoying a quiet evening of delicious food in the midst of the excitement of Gongguan is an experience to savor.