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Night Markets & Street Food in Taipei

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

After 7D6N in Hong Kong and 2 days of rest in Malaysia, we scooted off to Taipei for yet another 7D6N eating trip. Taiwan is famous for its "xiao chi" 小吃, which literally translates into little dishes or snacks and these can be found in many roadside stalls and markets. So we ended up going to a lot of street night markets for local street food rather than "proper restaurant food".

“What the hell is a night market?” you may ask. Well it’s simply a market that is open mainly during the night-time! Taiwanese people seem to be mainly nocturnal and the night markets are just full of people from 6pm to midnight (because the MRTs close soon) selling mainly food and clothes.

Shilin Night Market 士林夜市

This is the largest and most famous night market in Taipei. The night market is divided into two parts: one part being a roofed food court located opposite the Jiantan MRT Station, the other part is just like any other night market with shops stretching from Wenlin Road, Dadong Road and Danan Road, etc.
Nearest MRT: Jiantan 劍潭 (NOT Shilin 士林)

Shilin Night Market, Taipei 01

Small sausage in large sausage 大腸包小腸 - The "large" sausage is actually grilled glutinuous rice. Ridiculously tasty for a mere NT50. We kept a sharp look out for more of this to eat over the next few days.

Shilin Night Market, Taipei 02

Pig's blood cake 豬血糕 (the black stuff in the picture below) - Another commonly found snack, lots of rice so quite mild flavour; the glaze and chilli gives most of taste.

Shilin Night Market, Taipei 04
PS. those brown things in the middle picture are bishop's nose.

HOT STAR Large Fried Chicken 豪大大雞排 - one of the most popular street foods in Taiwan. Queue very long but waited only five mins. They were fast! Soft tender chicken with salty batter powdered with a fragrant spice mix only NT50. Found many outlets across Taipei.

Shilin Night Market, Taipei 06

Big-head dragon oyster omelette 蚵仔煎 (top row) - very starchy and the small oysters were very disappointing. Had better in Malaysia.

Deep fried stinky tofu 臭豆腐 (bottom row) - blocked nose at first so couldn't smell but later could smell the terror. Not too bad once actually eating it with the pickled cabbage and chili. Interesting. But the smell....woooh...

Shilin Night Market, Taipei 03

Small roll in big roll 大餅包小餅 (top left) - a flour crust wrapped in a salty crepe-like skin (like popiah skin). You can have it savoury or sweet. We had sweet peanut. Interesting flavour and textures, would be better with more sugar.

Mayo loaded pancake with corn and bonito flakes (top right) - tasty!

Grilled quail’s egg 烤鸟蛋 (bottom) - rubbery!

Shilin Night Market, Taipei 12

Grilled Taiwanese big sausage - came with raw garlic cloves, very tasty with sweet salty flavours. Only ordered about a third to share for NT60.

Shilin Night Market, Taipei 09

Literally translated into "the frog lays eggs" 青蛙下蛋 (top) - we ordered aiyu jelly 愛玉 with tapioca pearls 粉圓. The little tapoica pearls are like frogs eggs hence the name. Very refreshing and interesting textures with the jelly and pearls.

White buttergourd and honey juice drink (bottom left) - nice and sweet but bitter aftertaste lingers. A must-try!

Shaved ice 泡泡冰 (bottom right) – nice, very refreshing after all the grilled and fried stuff. The shaved ice was much finer and softer than ice kacang (Malaysian shaved ice). The longan one has actual longan pieces inside. Mango a bit too sweet.

Shilin Night Market, Taipei 07

1000 cc drink - for only NT$25! commonly found in all night markets. You'll need this after all the grilled and fried stuff.

Shilin Night Market, Taipei 11

Shida Night Market 師大路夜市

Much smaller than Shilin but packed full of people espcially students as it's located near National Taiwan Normal University.
Nearest mrt: Taipower Building 台電大樓, Exit 3

Lantern Hot Stew 燈籠滷味 - Basically the stall has a large variety of different stuff to eat, all of which will be braised in a tasty broth for a minute or two then plopped onto a plate for your enjoyment. On offer are about a dozen types of fishballs, meatballs, various bits of duck, goose, pig and some other unidentified animals as well as noodles and vegetables. Very tasty, definitely recommended trying. We regret not adding noodles, looked sooooooo good!

Shida Night Market, Taipei 01

Shida Night Market, Taipei 02

Hsu's pan-fried dumplings 許記生煎包 (top) - Crowded. I was asking a random passer-by what the stall was selling and they told us we needed to take a ticket to queue. They then offered to sell us half of theirs as they couldn’t finish theirs anyway as the stall only sell guo tie by the dozen. Actually, it was pretty good and tasty although the skin is slightly on the thick side.

Bun filled with braised shredded pork and preserved vegetable (bottom left) - This stall didn’t have a lot of business, which didn’t make any sense because it was really delicious. Even better was a choice of either lean or fatty pork to suit your personal fatty needs.

First charcoal grilled chicken fillets 師大第一家碳烤雞排 (bottom right) - Ludicrously tasty, the batter had a fair amount of spices mixed in. Probably better than the Hot Star version we tried in Shilin.

Shida Night Market, Taipei 04

Arnor crepes 阿諾法式可麗餅 - Another stall where you had to take a ticket to queue, we waited about an hour (well, we went off to snack on more stuff then went back to collect later). The four of us shared a peanut butter, chocolate and banana crepe and we wished afterwards we had ordered more. The crispy sweet-ish skin is more akin to a waffle cone type of thing and went really well with our dessert fillings.

Shida Night Market, Taipei 03

Others:

We spotted this famous specialty of RaoHe Street Night Market (which we did not go) on Yong Kang street. Hu Jiao Bing 胡椒餅, means pepper bun is basically a crispy crusted bun with peppered pork and spring onion filling. The buns were cooked in a tandoor-like clay ovens.

Raohe Hu Jiao Bing 胡椒餅

The bread was crispy on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside. The filling was really tasty too.

Hu Jiao Bing 胡椒餅

Useful sites and downloads:

  • Map of Shilin night market
  • Map of Shida night market
  • Other night market links
Other Taipei related posts:

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