A Charming Piece of Madness
Take a jumble of giant building blocks, paint the exterior ones a grimy gray, then infuse the middle with randomized dashes of color! Wallah! You have Zhongxin market. From the outside you wouldn’t even know a market existed. Situated directly across from the art museum, there’s no entry sign. Instead you’ll likely stumble inside as most visitors do into a forgotten memory of a Taichung; a thirty-year-old sepia tone Polaroid suddenly thrust into the light of day. Shafts of light through a corrugated canopy cause swirling islands of illumination among a dense undergrowth of life.
Tourists vs. Residents
What should be a ‘market’ is rather the inside of an old residential block that should have been dismantled years ago. However its exactly the years of urban decay that lend ZhongXin market its encapsulating atmosphere. Many local residents still treat the block as their own backyard, giving a sort of perverse open window into people’s personal lives here. Piled belongings, discarded bicycles and crates of food jostle for space alongside the occasional vagrant visitor. Additionally, like new growth battling for light, hipsters and neophytes have recently moved in dotting the ground floor with colorful cafes, bookstores and antique shops. Some are a work in progress, yet each is a labor of love and an exaggerated reflection of the personality of its owner.
Look Once, Look Again
Like walking through a period movie set, Zhongxin market has a little of everything and a lot of nothing. But that’s exactly where the attraction lies. The allure of the market lies in the curious mix of the old and the new, the natural and the recreated. Residents busy about their daily work, mingle with hipsters busy keeping shop. Each circuit around the market opens up a further treasure to explore, a new curiosity to peer into.
Sail Cafe: A stand-up style cafe with home brews, a bookstore and vinyl collection to explore alongside a cozy ambiance.
How to Get There
Using the Google map below, cross the road from the Art Museum to the buildings directly opposite and look for a large entrance disappearing inside. Walk inside and you’ve arrived rather unannounced. The hipster shops inside are really something to see and well-worth the time to find.