Taipei Night Markets- Shilin, Raohe and Ningxia night markets
Shilin Night Market
When we first got into Shilin Night Market, we harboured the thought of coming again in the next few days, but we didn’t make it for a second time. Reasons? There are at least 8 more Taipei Night Markets that we did not have time to visit the same one again.
The best thing about Taipei Night Markets is they are all located very near to the train station, typically a 5-10 minutes walk. If your hotel is nearby, you could grab your snack and went back to your hotel room with the snack still warm. You may not have the time or you may not like street food for whatsoever reasons, still it is compelling to at least have a walk at any of these night markets to feel the bustling nightlife of Taiwan.
Location: 10 minutes walk from Shilin Station.
Outside Shilin train station, there are signages directing you to the night market.
It happened that on the night we arrived at Shilin Night Market, Typhoon was about to arrive. It was raining, which was why the street was much less crowded than usual, in fact, it was a bit deserted. But that worked to our advantage, as we need not queue longer to get the popular snacks.
This stall is iconic to Shilin Night Market. Located at the front of a temple, it’s famous snack is Ta Chang Bao Xiao Chang, literally means big sausage wrapping up the small sausage. Despite the rain, the queue was considerable, that showed the popularity of it.
2 meters away from the sausage stall is the Mee Sua or thin rice noodles. It looks to be a simple dish, but try it and you would understand why it is so famous.
Whichever dish you like and wherever you go, here comes a stall no one should and allowed to miss, Taiwan Da Ji Pai or Deep Fried Chicken fillet. Everyone knew about its existence, many tour guides were seen encouraging their group to get a taste of it, and many joined the long queue to get not 1, not 2, but 3-4 packs each. We wondered how were they going to finish it.
It was called Da Ji Pai primary because of its oversized, virtually the size of 2 adult palms or half the size of an A4 size paper, if you still could not imagine it. The thickness? About 6mm. A single piece is enough for an adult… or 2 adults if you had already eaten all the way to this stall. That’s why never eat a meal or a dish alone in any of Taipei Night Markets, always share it with a companion to reserve some space in your stomach for more delicious food!
More interesting food stalls in Shilin:
And my favourite Smelly Toufu. It was supposed to be smelly, but the one I got here did not have a bad smell to frighten me off. I was rather disappointed with it.
Shilin Night Market is not just about food and snacks. There are many souvenir stalls and play area as well.
Go try your hands on prawning.
Have a game of dart throwing or ball rolling to win some prizes to brighten-up the night!
Boutique shops are everywhere, with shoes, watches, belts and dress available. With lesser tourists patronizing them, they are certainly outshined by the mouth-watering food. I went into a few to make some price comparison and found they are not much cheaper… a mere 5-10% down on average. So if you intended to come here to pick up some bargain goods you can forget about it and go focus on the street food.
Raohe Night Market
For the 3 Taipei Night Markets which we had been, you could have already entered the location without knowing you were already there, except Raohe Night Market.
Location: 10 minutes walk from SongShan Station.
The gigantic structure at its entrance announced your arrival.
To confirm its popularity, the first stall right at its entrance had a queue so long that it even required security guards to maintain law and order…as the queue had snaked onto the main road causing traffic jam.
What’s so great about this stall? Frankly I’m clueless. It was simply a roasted Chinese bun wrapped with some ingrediants. We queue 15 minutes for it, but find it taste ordinary.
Live demonstration on how it was made.
Ice-Kachang – a dessert containing coloured ice with the toppings of red beans and corn. It was a very popular must-try dessert. We did not have the chance to try it as it was so difficult to get a seat.
And my favourite BBQ squid.
Some local delicacy such as Deer Meat and Wild Boar meat.
The most common food in all the night markets is still sausage and bratwurst.
Ning Xia Night Market
After visiting 2 night markets, we were a bit tired to visit another. Our primary aim tonight is merely to fill the stomach. And as we guessed it correctly, food in Taipei Night Markets are always a repetitive. Well, well, good things are always being copied.
Location: 10 minutes walk from Shuanglian Station
Still we were greeted by another highlight of Ning Xia Night Market. A stall with a queue so long that we gave up after queueing for 20 minutes with the queue never seems to get shortened, eventually we left without getting a taste of it.
Looks to be Chinese glutinous rice, with this old lady featured in one of Taiwan variety show played on a TV on its stall.
See the long queue? Tell me how good it is if you had the patience to wait for the food.
Never try a meal like Chinese Bee Hoon or Rice Vermicelli, not that it tastes badly, but it is considered a big meal, eaten this and your stomach is probably 70% filled with no place for other mouth-watering snack as you proceed further.
A 2-palm sized squid, you could asked it to be done sweet or salty.
And another famous snack: Golden Fishball.
Games are available for the kids.
Overview of Taipei Night Markets
Taipei Night Markets are opened daily, starting as early as 6pm till midnight, be prepared to spend 2 hours wrestling through the huge crowd and narrow aisle.
For every day we were in Taipei, we were always looking forward to the night markets, we never had a proper meal in a proper restaurant, all our dinners were spent at the night markets.
We totally had no idea which stall offers the best food, so we decided by joining any stall which has a long queue. The crowd can’t be wrong. Most of the time we eavesdropped on what the tour guide said to their group.
After touring 3 of many Taipei Night Markets, my conclusion is Shilin Night Market is still the best of all. Though the place was very much commercialised, it offers a great variety of local, traditional and international food. Food hygiene seems to be better also as the place looks cleaner than the others.
But the thing I liked about all the night markets is the food price are affordable. At an average of TWD$100 or USD$3.00, one could get a very delicious meal. On every night which we went to, each of us spent an average of TWD$400 on food alone. Some we ate it on the spot if chairs and tables are available, others we took it as finger food, eating all the way to the other end of the street. Still we never had enough of it, we even had some packaged to the hotel as supper.