Two of my greatest passions are toys and old things. And if the toys/old things happen to be Taiwanese, then all the better. My brain nearly exploded when I found out about the existence of Shuntai Toys and Snacks (順泰玩具食品行) in Jingmei (景美). The owner, Kuan Ta-hsing (官大興), opened his shop in 1964. When kids started playing with video games and buying their candy at 7-Eleven and other convenience stores, he dug his feet in and continued to sell the same things even though his earnings plummeted. At some point in the 1990s, however, “old-fashioned” turned into “retro” and Shuntai Toys and Snacks gained a cult following.
The store itself is no frills and the front is stocked with more modern toys like model airplanes and Hello Kitty rice cookers. But the back is filled with the kind of treats, games and playthings that kids played with in the 1960s and 1970s.
For more about Shuntai (and Mr. Kuan’s cool life story… anybody who likes toys and candy this much has got to be an interesting person), read my article (PDF link). If you can’t visit Shuntai in person, check out the store’s Web site.