One of the top things to do in Taipei is to visit their night market to try out the unique Taiwanese street foods/snacks. Taipei are not only popular for their foods, it is also great for cheap clothes shopping and playing their street games like catching fish/prawns, shooting balloons etc. The street is always packed with tourists and the local Taipei people too!
During our one week trip to Taipei, we visited six different night markets and tried their recommended foods, bought cheap clothing and these are our thoughts on their night market.
Shilin Night Market
The night market is closest to Jiantan Station on the Tamsui Line (Red Line). The moment you come out from the station, you will see it. This is one of the best and biggest night markets and we loved it so much that we went there twice. There are endless street snacks to try. One universal tip that seems to apply here is if you see a long queue, it means their food tastier. It is worth waiting a little extra!
These are their local snacks that you must try!
Fried Chicken Steak (炸鸡排)
We queued for at least 30 minutes to buy our fried chicken steak. It is definitely one of the best chicken steaks we have tried. They first deep fry the coated chicken piece and dip it in their sauce. Then they grilled it. You can either buy the whole piece or have it shredded. We opted for it shredded so that it would be easier to eat while walking.
Small Sausage in Large Sausage (大腸包小腸)
When I went to the tourist counter for general information about the market, they recommended the Small Sausage in Large Sausage. Initially I thought this would be meat wrapped in more meat. In fact, it is a sausage wrapped in glutinous rice. They barbeque the glutinous rice ‘sausage’ and then they slice it open. Then it is filled with a Taiwanese sausage, pickled vegetable and sauces. There are a lot of stalls selling this and I went to the stall that had the most customers which I thought was worth waiting for. This stall had more choices of ingredients and kimchi. No wonder they have won many awards.
Deep Fried Milk
I was unsure when my sister told me to try this. I am not a big fan of milk but this deep fried milk has a crispy outside and a soft centre resulting in a tasty snack that melts in your mouth. It has a smooth texture and milky flavour. I would definitely recommend this! One of the best mini snacks I had.
Deep Fried Octopus Tentacles
I love seafood and these octopus tentacles are deep fried and mixed with sweet and sour sauce. It is chewy, spicy and delicious!
Deep Fried Taro Balls
I saw these taro balls in many street market and really want to try it. So I bought a small portion for NT$100 and added my choice of flavour onto the balls. They are small and easy to eat. I didn’t manage to get a photo as my husband accidentally threw it away thinking I already finished the food! They were so lightweight that he didn’t know that there was still half a bag full! I would definitely recommend this!
Monster Ice Cream Roll
This is from Thailand where they prepare the ice cream roll on the spot. Watch this video and see how they made!
We also tried peanut bun, peanut ice cream, watermelon juice and many more! There are a lot of arcade games to play too. I do think it’s quite cruel to encourage children to catch the fish or prawns. All they do is sat there and try to hook as many fishes as possible. I am not sure what they do with the fish afterwards.
If you are after a set of family t-shirt, then Taiwan is the best place to buy! I bought a set of mummy, daddy and children in a Disney pattern for my sister. There are also other fun cartoon characters too. Quite often you will see a couple or family wearing the same t-shirt design. We bought the set of four t-shirts (two adult and two children sizes) for NT$600. I think the prices are reasonable and it will make a great family photo! This is a picture of my nephews wearing theirs.
They do have a food court underground but we didn’t go. The place is huge and packed with lot of tourists. There were buses of tourists coming to visit.
Raohe Street Market
The night market is closest to Songshan Station on both the MRT Green Line 3 and train. Most of the street stalls opens around 6pm and if you are early, you should take a walk at the Clothing Shopping Outlet in Wufenpu (五分埔).
It is a great spot for cheap discounted fashion within the maze of alleys! Most of the clothing are just NT$100. The problem for me is I am far too big for Asian sizes hence I didn’t manage to get any suitable clothing. The average sizes are for UK size 8-12.
Another thing you have to look out is the traffic! You will get a lot of scooters, bicycles and even vans driving up and down these narrow alleyways!
Ciyou Temple (慈祐宮) was built by local residents during the Qing Dynasty era which looks very grand. It was closed by the time we went.
Black Pepper Bun
Just as you enter the market, you will see a queue for the Black Pepper Bun. It came well recommended. I thought it was nice too. It is slightly greasy and has a mild pepper flavour. I was not very keen on that.
Oyster Omelette & Stinky Tofu
I love both of them so much that I could eat them all day! The oyster omelette is gooey and tasty and great with their chilli sauce. It is very fresh too.
As for the stinky tofu, it has a crispy outside and soft inside. It does smell but it is awesome! We bought these two dishes for around NT$200.
Pig Blood Rice Cake
My brother-in-law told us to try this pig blood cake as it tastes nice. Unfortunately we beg to differ. The congealed blood cake is dipped in a lot of coriander and peanut powder. My husband had four mouthfuls and couldn’t take any more. It was nothing like black pudding which he was hoping for.
Taro Milk, Bitter Melon Juice, Bubble Milk Tea
Besides eating yummy food, we also tried various drinks. The taro milk has small bits in it and is quite milky. It’s not a drink that I would drink on a regular basis but it’s good to try it and my husband enjoyed it. For me, one juice to avoid is the bitter melon juice! I bought it because I had never had this before and it looked okay. I was so wrong! It was bitter and tasted horrible. I drank a mouthful and couldn’t drink anymore! Luckily my husband wasn’t too fussed about the bitterness but it was not his favourite drink either. They also sell all sorts of fruit and vegetable juices. But I will always stick to bubble milk tea to be on the safe side!
Cotton Candy Art
We found one stall that sold cotton candy. It is about halfway down the market and is not hard to find. We are were not allowed to take photos of the stall but they have cotton candy designs for Hello Kitty, a flower, duck and many more characters. This is my duckling which costs me NT$160. I was too full to eat it and left it in the bag. The very next morning, the cotton candy reduced to hardly anything! So I would recommend eating it on the day, if you can!
The market wasn’t as big as Shilin market but we did spend about at least two hours there. They also sell a lot of small gadgets like mobile phones accessories.
Shi-Da Night Market
The night market is closest to Taipower Building Station (台電大樓) Green Line 3. After leaving Exit 3, make a right turn, then make another quick right to reach Shi-Da Road (師大路). The market is located along both Shi-Da road and in the alleys off both sides.
We had a walk around and found it to be not as big and buzzing as the other two night markets above. There are more upmarket boutiques, restaurants and bigger stores. This was not for me though. We did had a lovely pineapple bun that I would recommend.
To reach Ximen, you would take Blue Line 5 or Green Line 3 to Ximen (西門). Once you come out from the Metro, you will see the street filled with lots of neon lightings, big stores, upmarket street food and many more. It is a busy location filled with a lot of entertainment.
The prices didn’t seem as cheap as the other markets. For the same item, I could buy in Shilin or Raohe for a cheaper price. Of course, if you see something unique, then get it. We bought these two cute money boxes in one of the stores and my children love it dearly.
Oyster Vermicelli (蚵仔麵線)
We found a nice Oyster Vermicelli store. Again there was a massive queue but we didn’t have to wait for too long. It was one of the best and we loved it!
Modern Toilet Restaurant
This is located not too far from Ximen station and took us about 10 minutes to find. I saw this restaurant advertised in a tourist magazine and decided to try it out. As you can guess from its name, this restaurant’s theme is the humble toilet. The food and drink are serve in bowls shaped like a toilet. If you prefer to drink from a urinal, then you have to pay NT$50 extra.
The food is okay. I wouldn’t say it was amazing but it was a nice experience to be amused by the theme. The portions were decent to fill both of us for a long time. I was worried that we would have to pay premium price for the novelty factor but I was pleasantly surprised that they were reasonably priced.
Tonghua & Linjiang
Both these places are located at the same area. They are not too far from Taipei 101 station or Xinyi Anhe station. You do have a longer than average walk to get there.
In this market, they sell most of the stuff I mentioned earlier and features exotic delicacies from Malaysia, Japan and Thailand in a narrow street. It was less busy than another places and I do like the market but it didn’t captivate me like Shilin or Raohe. This is one of the night markets that I didn’t return to for a second time. I felt that the food was slightly boring for me compared to the others.
I hope that this article will inspire you to explore and try out their local snacks.
Do check out my earlier Taiwan trip posts on:
Watch my highlights of Taipei here: