Taiwan’s Night Markets

1043 Reviews

Star Travel Rating

2/5

Review type

Things to do

Location

Date of travel

April, 2015

Product name

Product country

Product city

Travelled with

Partner

Reasons for trip

In our Lonely Planet guide, night markets and street food were included in Taiwan’s top 15 things to do and see so we decided to visit as many as possible.

Our first was Raohe Street Night Market in the capital Taipei which we found easily by following the Mandarin and Pinyin signs on the metro. On exiting, we followed the crowds to one long street closed to traffic. Stalls on either side were selling a variety of food: squid, sweet and savoury snacks, noodle soups, frittata type dishes, lots of fresh fruit, whole and blitzed into smoothies, and many other things of an indeterminate nature.

We walked the length of the street and spied what was described as a ‘suckling pig’ being chopped up. I knew that suckling pig was meant to be small i.e. a sucking piglet, but this creature was considerably larger. It looked pretty good but we continued on until the end of the street when we turned around. As well as food stalls there was a variety of other shops selling toys and clothes and other amusement places, lottery sellers, fortune tellers, nail bars and massage parlours. We also saw women having a road-side facial treatment called ‘rolling the face’ which removes facial hair.

There was very little English spoken and most of the signs were only in Mandarin. As I’m not a particularly adventurous eater, I decided that vegetarian was the best option and we tried soft buns stuffed with leeks (NT$12 or 25p) which, in the absence of anywhere to sit, we ate standing in a shop doorway. They were delicious if slightly messy. On returning to Mr Suckling Pig, we shared a large portion topped with a squirty red sauce and crackling – this time eaten on a street corner. Pudding was, what we think was recommended in our guide book, black pepper cakes eaten standing outside one of the ubiquitous Seven-Eleven shops. This appeared to be a very local market as we didn’t see a single western tourist.

The next market on our agenda was Shilin night market again in Taipei. This was bigger and more complicated in its layout, but we followed the crowds trying to remember the advice given to us earlier by Gordon our guide. It was extremely crowded and we made arrangements where to meet in case we lost each other. We walked down one street which was mainly clothes and toys with our progress hindered by people putting goods out to sell on the floor in the centre of the path. It was not as easy to navigate as Raohe as there was a maze of streets and we weren’t really sure where to go. We eventually found a covered market which we walked through with a sign for food in the basement but I recalled Gordon advising against it. We came out onto a street with food but it was so busy it was hard to see what the stalls were offering and what we could see didn’t tempt us and finally it would have been another ‘standing up dinner’. After an hour we decided to return to our hotel and head for the bar next door.

Our third attempt was Liuhe Night Market in Kaohsiung which was directly outside the metro. It was one single, uncrowded street with mainly food stalls. Although there were a variety of food, this was specializes in fish, both dead and alive, including scallops, lobster, prawns, salmon, oysters etc. There was also lots of stall with intestine (including intestine sausages) and so we were a little wary. At last we found a market with somewhere to sit with plastic communal tables and chairs laid out down the middle of the road. We found a seat and celebrated with a large, very chilled can of Taiwan beer for NT$50 and people watched. We saw a stall selling buns being baked in a tandoori type oven and I tried one with potato and cheese filling whilst Roy opted for spicy pork. Again, we managed to find a couple of seats. This was definitely the best of the three markets as there were less people, a better selection of food and more importantly, somewhere to sit and eat it.

We were glad we tried the night markets, but they’re certainly not a gastronomic experience.

Helen Jackson

Join the club

Become a member to receive exclusive benefits

Our community is the heart of Silver Travel Advisor, we love nothing more than sharing ideas, inspiration, hints and tips between us.

Come feel the love on a Princess cruise. You’ll enjoy the MedallionClass experience others simply can’t, and it’s exclusively for everyone. Visit incredible destinations and be involved in the best experiences around each one of them.

Experience more with Princess and connect effortlessly with the world around you, spend time away with loved ones, take a moment for yourself, and fall in love with your holiday of a lifetime, every time.

With over 20 years of experience, Wendy Wu Tours has mastered the art of creating exceptional, fully inclusive tours which showcase the very best of each destination.

Each tour is led by a world-class guide, who will highlight the very best of their homeland, and includes authentic cultural experiences so you are not just seeing the sights, but truly immersing yourself in local life.

Say hello to ease at sea. Ambassador’s purpose is simple: they want to inspire every guest to experience authentic cruising, effortlessly and sustainably. Passionate about protecting our oceans and destinations, their ships comply with the highest industry emission standards and there is no single-use plastic on board.

On your voyage, you will receive the warmest of welcomes from the Ambassador community as you sail upon the friendliest ships afloat.

This is a global co-operative co-owned by local partners using real local experts and guides, which supports local communities, environments and wildlife. It offers travellers quirky places to stay, activity holidays and learning experiences. Not In The Guidebooks gets travellers off the beaten track into local culture with day experiences and longer, immersive adventures.

From wild wellness breaks in Wales to painting in Portugal, sustainable adventures in Mauritius to food safaris in Brazil, this is immersive, exciting travel.

Seabourn’s five intimate ships carry guests to the heart of great cities, exclusive yacht harbours and secluded coves around the world, while two new purpose-built expedition ships will combine exhilarating adventures in remote destinations with the sophisticated amenities of the world’s finest resorts at sea.

From the luxury of all suite accommodations to complimentary fine wines and spirits, and a no tipping policy, Seabourn exemplifies the definition of travelling well.