If you reside in Singapore and have had access to certain fast food chains, you’d know just how much of Taiwan’s glorious culinary scene is dictated by street food, and how the night markets there are the best places to binge on these specialities.
Think everything from oyster omelette and Taiwanese fried chicken cutlets, to deliciously braised meats, fried sweet potato balls and fresh papaya milk —all of Taiwan’s best are served fresh right here in these night markets.
Best street foods to try at the Taiwan night markets
With a never-ending list of foods, it can be hard to figure out what not to miss in the night markets.We have listed out the best delicacies to make life easy:
Taiwanese oyster omelette
The Taiwanese oyster omelette is particularly appetising for seafood lovers. Prepared with fresh greens, tapioca starch, eggs, and of course fresh, juicy oysters, this delicious treat is hard to duplicate at home. While we’re familiar with having the oyster omelette with a tangy chilli sauce in Singapore, the Taiwanese like it with a generous drizzle of sweet chilli. Slightly crispy and chewy, it will surprise you with a burst of flavours.
Often a favourite among local Taiwanese, lu wei stalls display a variety of meats and vegetables stewed in a braising sauce. Once you’ve chosen the ingredients, hand them to the vendor to stew for a few minutes and drizzle with super flavourful and aromatic sauce.
Oyster Mee Sua
Smooth, thin noodles are steeped in a flavourful, thick stock made of bonito flakes, dried cuttle fish and chicken stock to create an addictive and filling dish here. The Taiwanese version usually consists of fresh oysters and braised pig intestines too, and is paired with pepper and black vinegar for a tangy kick that’ll keep you coming back for more.
The Taiwanese meatball is stuffed inside a translucent dough, usually made from corn starch and sweet potato starch. This unique dish can be hard to find anywhere else, so make sure you take advantage of this.
This fermented tofu dish is a divisive street food, but if you’re a fan, the Taiwanese version will one of the best you will try. It goes perfectly with the slightly spicy sauce, and if you don’t see the stall, just follow your nose.
Love fried chicken? Ji Pa (or chicken cutlet) is Taiwan’s best spin on this global treat. Be prepared to stand in long queues to taste this moreish street snack, which sees a flat strip of chicken generously coated with breadcrumbs and deep fried, before a generous scattering of spicy chilli powder is added for a little kick.
Best night markets in Taiwan
Read on for our list of Taiwan’s best night markets—how to find them and what to try when you get there.
1. Shilin Night Market, Taipei
The most famous of Taiwan’s sensory enterprises is the expansive Shilin. Here, it is easy to spot people from all stripes (backpackers to elderly local couples) wandering through the vendor-lined alfresco bazaar. At the Shilin night market, the air is scented with the aroma of stinky tofu.
How to reach: Take the MRT to Jiantan Station. Then, take exit one and cross the street to the left diagonally to enter the night market.
Address: No. 101, Jihe Road, Shilin District, Taipei City
2. Raohe night market, Taipei
Raohe in the Songshan district is less intimidating than Shilin but flaunts much more personality. Always begin your exploration with a visit to the gilded 18th-century Ciyou Temple. The fresh-from-the-fryer pork and chive dumplings are a must-try here. After savouring the gelatinous oyster pancakes, and juicy, schnitzel-like spiced chicken patties, cool off with a honey-spiked lemonade.
How to reach: Take the MRT to Songshan Station. The night market entrance will be right next to the temple.
Address: Raohe Street, Songshan District, Taipei City
3. Jiufen Old Street
Located about an hour from Taipei, Jiufen is a popular tourist destination. Make sure to try the taro balls, glutinous rice cake, peanut ice cream roll and ice cream puff. In addition, one of Taipei’s oldest night markets is located about 15 minutes from Jiufen. So, if you visit Jiufen Old Street, you must stop here. Also, go here after the sun sets since that’s when the food markets in Taiwan start to come alive.
How to reach: Take the MRT to Zhongxiao Fuxing Station. from Taipei. Take exit 2, hop onto the bus 1062 bound for Jinguashi and get off at Jiufen.
Address: Jishan Street, Ruifang District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 224
4. Fengjia Night Market, Taichung
Home to an estimated 15,000 restaurants and stalls, Fengjia Night Market in Taichung is one of Taiwan’s largest night markets. We have heard great things about their grilled abalone, sausage with sticky rice, and fried chicken chop.
How to reach: There’s no MRT in Taichung, so the easiest way is to book an uber (about 20-25 mins from Taichung TRA Station)
Address: Wenhua Road, Xitun District, Taichung City, Taiwan 407
5. Liuhe Tourist Night Market, Kaohsiung
Louie is well-laid out and pleasant to stroll around! There’s ample seating to enjoy delicacies such as papaya milk, sour and spicy noodles, and fried chicken poppers in a relaxed atmosphere. This creamy papaya milk is the highlight here. If you are in Taiwan, this night market is a must-visit, full-stop.
How to reach: Take MRT to Formosa Boulevard Station and take the exit to get to Zhongshanheng Road and then the night market.
Address: Liuhe 2nd Road & 與中山一路口 Xinxing District, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan 800
Visiting for the first time? You can’t go wrong in these Taiwan night markets if you come hungry and open-minded.
(Hero and featured image credit: marilynyee/Getty Images; other images: Flickr, Instagram, Wikimedia Commons)
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