When someone mentions Taiwan, the word “night markets” surely comes to mind. All parts of the country have their own distinctive night markets that literally crop up out of nowhere before or after sunset. These markets are an important part of their lives. In ancient China they were called “ghost markets.”
Taiwan’s capital and largest city, Taipei, has several famous night markets that are a foodie’s and fashionista’s sight to behold. There’s nothing quite like them. They’re both practical and inexpensive.
These night markets attract tourists and Taiwanese alike throughout Taipei. A number of them have reigned supreme as the creme de la creme of night markets. Here’s a look at three of the most popular and best known for their extraordinary street food and excellent fashion finds.
Shilin Night Market
This is the most popular night market of all, and also the largest Food vendors are on one side of the street, and clothing goods on the opposite. Of all the night markets, some have stated its better to buy clothing such as t-shirts, shoes, and other accessories here. Shilin Night Market is crowded with tourists.
Their food selection is limited. The recommended food fares would be: Da chang bao xiao chang -- a Taiwanese sausage sandwiched in sticky rice bun, their deliciously famous Hot Star large fried chicken (Hao Da ji pai) -- crispy fried chicken cutlets, and shaved ice on a hot summer night. Open from 12 noon till 1 a.m. daily. Take the MRT (mass rapid transit) to Jiantan Station.
Raohe Street Night Market
Here’s the oldest night market in Taipei best known for its excellent street food. It stands amongst Taipei’s magnificent Ximending Mazu Temple. There are stalls on opposite sides of the street, including one down the center. Talk about plenty to choose from. Highly recommended is the famed hujiao bing -- pepper pork buns.
You can also try local snacks that include pork feet noodle string, beef noodle soup, herbal stew of ribs, and the always favorite bubble tea. Not only will you find tourists at Raohe Street Night Market, many of the Taipei residents frequent this market too. Hours of operation are from 5 p.m. till midnight. By train you take the West Railway Line to Songshan Railway Station.
Linjiang Street Night Market
It has the distinction of being opened the latest until 2 a.m. or 3 a.m. Many Taipei residents know it by its common name as the Tonghua Street Night Market. Located in central Taipei, it’s a favorite among young people for its latest available fashions. Yet, this night market also attracts people of all ages.
Foodies will appreciate the exotic food stands selling other Asian delicacies from Malaysia, Japan, and other parts of Taiwan. Linjiang Street Night Market is one of the few operating in a residential area. Hours of operation are usually 5 p.m. till 1 a.m., thought it stays open later. By bus you can take the number 36, 22, 226, 274, 254, 70, or 20.