When we talk about Taiwan, one of the most famous attractions is none other than the night markets. No matter which part of Taiwan you’re visiting, be it Taipei to the North, Taichung at the center, or Tainan to the South, you can find all kinds of night markets across Taiwan.
The night markets in Taiwan are famous for both the locals and in the eyes of tourists. You can find all kinds of Taiwan street foods and the local delicacies of Taiwan. Ranging from foods, household goods, to souvenirs, the night market in Taiwan is a must-visit.
Why Go to Night Markets in Taiwan?
Night markets are common in Asia, but why must you visit the ones in Taiwan? Here’s my opinion – you can’t compare the night markets in Taiwan with those in other countries.
Why? The reason is that the night markets in Taiwan somehow inherent part of the culture. And the best way to experience and understand a culture is to get close to it.
You have to understand that the night markets in Taiwan are not only meant for the tourists, but they are also for the locals too.
Meaning, night markets are not a tourist trap. Most vendors don’t sell overprice because there are local people there to buy foods and goods too.
Another reason is that there are tons of night markets to choose from. In Taiwan, most people look for food in the night market rather than inside luxury shopping malls. That’s just their culture.
So, if you ever go to Taiwan, make sure you visit the night markets. But, what are the best ones to visit? Here’s my list…
10 Best Night Markets in Taipei
Now, before we go through the list, I just want to make myself clear. This list does not follow any ranking. I just visit these night markets and find them interesting.
And please understand that each of these night markets has their own uniqueness and specialties. The one on top doesn’t mean it’s the best.
The point is that I’m sharing this list according to my own experience and what I know about them. So, enjoy the list.
1. Raohe Street Night Market
Raohe night market is one of the most famous ones in the eyes of the locals. It is very near to WuFenPu, the largest wholesale market for clothes and accessories. Many people will go shopping there and at night, they will just go to Raohe night market and find their food.
Besides that, there is also a popular landmark nearby to the night market – Ciyou temple. This temple is beautiful especially when it illuminates at night. For about 600m along Raohe Street, this night market has plenty of choices in terms of foods and clothes.
Suggested foods you must try in Raohe night market:
Pepper meat buns, omelette with toppings, herbal stew pork ribs, and spicy stinky tofu.
2. Ximending Night Market
Next, the Ximending. Now, this place is not really a night market, but it’s a combination and a mixture of shopping streets and night market. You can still find a lot of good food and things to buy here.
Ximending is considered the most famous night market in the city of Taipei. It has a more ‘luxurious’ feel than the rest of the night markets in Taiwan. This place is just like Myeong-dong in Seoul, Korea.
If you’re the first time visiting Taiwan, I bet this is the night market you’ll go to. It is convenient as it is located just beside the metro station.
Suggested foods you must try in Ximending:
Ay Chung meesua (rice noodles), Hot Star Chicken, and a variety of boba milk tea
3. Tonghua Night Market
The Tonghua night market is a very ‘local’ spot for the Taiwanese. It is located just one metro station away from the iconic Taipei 101. Thus, if you don’t prefer foods in the shopping malls, just take the subway and this is the night market that is closest to Taipei 101.
Although this place is located in a residential area, it can be very crowded at times. One thing the people prefer Tonghua night market is due to the taste of the food here. You can find some very classic Taiwanese cuisine here with the ‘old taste’ that never change in decades.
Suggested foods you must try in Tonghua night market:
Tien Hsiang Stinky Tofu, tangyuan (rice balls in soup), and Liang Ji Lu Wei for their soy sauce braised foods
4. Huaxi Street Night Market
After the movie, Monga made famous in 2010, the Huaxi Street night market has attracted more people to visit. The street has been featured in the movie and has brought more visitors to Huaxi Street since then.
Years ago, the locals come to Huaxi Street for tonic food because this place is also known as the ‘snake alley’. You can find vendors selling and snake stews and using the snake blood for alcohol shots. But today, you can’t really find much of these activities due to awareness of animal rights. Hence, the once ‘snake alley’ was then named Huaxi Street night market.
Suggested foods you must try in Huaxi night market:
Steamed minced pork and all sorts of exotic foods (if you dare)
5. Gongguan Night Market
Like Raohe, Gongguan night market is surrounded in the popular shopping and leisure distract of Zhongzheng and Da’an. There is also a local university near the night market.
The best thing about Gongguan is that they have restaurants serving other foods nearby too. If you’re tired of stuffing your stomach with street foods, you can check out the Thai, Malaysia, and also the Indonesian cuisine in the restaurants nearby.
Compare to other night markets, Gongguan may be a little smaller in size, but you can still find pretty much all the local foods in this place.
Suggested foods you must try in Gongguan night market:
Scallion egg pancake, sausages, and dumplings.
6. Shilin Night Market
Ximending is known for its more upscale night market-style, Shilin on the other hand, is famous for its local delicacies. If you’re from Asia, you should have heard about Shilin. It is one of the largest and most famous night markets in Taiwan.
If you were to ask me, I would say that Shilin is the #1 night market in Taipei city. It is one of the earliest night markets around and it has over 500 food vendors here. Plus, they have an air-conditioned underground food court that offers a more cooling escape in summer.
Shilin night market can get really crowded, especially during weekends and holidays. There are more tourists here compare to other night markets. However, you can still find a lot of classic local foods here.
Suggested foods you must try in Shilin night market:
Hai You Pork Ribs, pan-fried buns, XXL fried chicken, and Cheesy mashed potato
7. Ningxia Night Market
If you’re looking for food, you should visit Ningxia night market. Although this market is smaller in scale, it focuses more on food. So if you’re someone who’s into foods, this may be the right place for you.
Located near the Dadaocheng and Dihua Street, there are two rows of stalls running up along the Ningxia road. This is a good place for an easy and quick experience of Taiwan night market.
Suggested foods you must try in Ningxia night market:
Sesame-coated mochi, oyster omelette, and fried taro balls
8. Lehua Night Market
Now, if you don’t visit Taiwan that frequent, you may have never heard about Lehua night market. One reason is that it is located a little far from the city center, hence, most tourists will not prefer to go there. But for the locals, this is a totally different story.
The locals love to go Lehua night market, why? The reason is the food there. There are a variety of selections and many shops are available. Make sure you’re on an empty stomach if you plan to go there.
Suggested foods you must try in Lehua night market:
Braised meat vermicelli, yolk-filled taro balls, and stinky tofu.
9. Tamsui Night Market
Tamsui is an old street and a town next to the harbor. Of all the night market, I like Tamsui the most. The reason being that it is located next to the river and there are plenty of foods to eat too.
One of the most interesting distinctions between Tamsui old street and the rest of the night markets around Taiwan is the atmosphere. In Tamsui, you will notice that the pace here is much slower and people are here to relax and enjoy. If you visit Tamsui old street, try to visit Yuren Harbor too.
Suggested foods you must try in Tamsui night market:
Tower ice-cream, iron eggs, and fried chicken fillet.
10. Liaoning Street Night Market
Another night market that worth visiting is the Liaoning. It may be smaller in scale and span only one block, but the place has almost everything you can find.
Plus, if you’re someone who prefers a quieter and less crowded tourist hotspot, you may prefer Liaoning night market.
Suggested foods you must try in Liaoning night market:
Stir fry seafood, sticky rice pudding, and fried goose.
I know that I have shared the 10 most famous night markets in Taipei, but it is really difficult to put up a list of just 10 when there are so many night markets in Taiwan.
Hence, I decided to add more and give you more choices. I believe that everyone has their own preferences, some people love the food, some people love the ambient, and some people just want a place that is convenient for them to eat.
So, you may or may not like what I’ve shared, but here are some more night markets you should consider visiting…
11. Shida Night Market
Shida night market is located in a trendy university area. Thus, it is more popular among the youngsters. You can see a lot of the younger crowd in Shida, especially those who study there. And because most of the people who visit this place are the younger people, the prices here are a little lower compare to other places.
The streets used for night market are not big, but you can find plenty of foods here too. And when it comes to cafes and restaurants where the young people hang out, there is a lot here.
Suggested foods you must try in Shida night market:
Beef noodle soup, salted water chicken, and egg crepe roll.
12. Miaokou Night Market, Keelung
Miaokou night market may be a little far from town. It is located at Keelung, a 40-minute drive from Taipei city. What I like about Miaokou are their foods. If you’re looking for the classic Taiwanese cuisine, you can find plenty here.
Besides being more authentic, there are many fresh seafood selections due to its location. One more thing, Anthony Bourdain actually ate in this very market when he visited Taiwan.
Suggested foods you must try in Miaokou night market:
Crab soup, butter sauce crab, and sandwiches.
13. Nanya Night Market
Nanya night market at Banqiao is another choice you may want to consider visiting for all the usual local dishes. Banqiao is the heart of Taipei City government and it is considered one of the most developed parts of the entire city. It is convenient and you can find almost everything there.
14. Shuangcheng Street Night Market
Shuangcheng night market opens 24 hours and it is located in the Zhongshan District. This night market offers both the street foods and there is an indoor restaurant setting that gives visitors a more comfortable environment.
Tips and Things to Know When Visiting Taiwan Night Markets
I believe everyone who visits Taiwan will definitely visit the night market. Hence, I would like to share a couple of tips with you so that you understand better about the culture of night markets in Taiwan.
1. You don’t have to rush
Yes, it may be crowded, but that doesn’t mean you have to go too early to beat the crowd. In fact, most of the night markets in Taiwan open until late into the night. Some stalls may even open later.
2. Make sure you queue
Taiwanese people are polite and they don’t cut the queue. So, whenever you see the food you want to try out but the queue is long, don’t cut the queue. Instead, line up and wait for your turn.
3. A bargain is common but not always
In many places, bargaining is expected, but unlike Thailand, Taiwan is a little different. You can try to ask for a lower price, but not all shops will give you a discount. So if the sellers don’t give you the price you want, don’t feel offended or cheated.
4. Follow the flow of traffic
Now, the night markets in Taiwan can be crowded, especially during the weekend. Hence, walk with the flow and don’t do hanky panky stuff.
5. Try everything
Some of the foods are really delicious, but some are nice to see, taste just so-so. One good tip to make sure you can try out as many local dishes as possible is to go for the smaller portion. You don’t have to take the XL size, if there are options, choose the S size so you can try out more things.