Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, is a vibrant city that offers something for everyone, regardless of whether you are into culture, museums, nature or nightlife. For nightlife in Taiwan, other than the typical clubs and pubs in a classic city, the night market is an essential part of the Taiwanese life. In fact, Taipei has 12 night markets spread across the densely populated city, the highest concentration of night markets in Taiwan. What is so fascinating about the night markets such that they are worth your attention? Not only do they offer a variety of clothing and accessories, you will also be able to join the locals in sinking your teeth into the delectable local delights. Here’s a guide to the six local street food that you must try so that you don’t leave the night markets in Taipei with regrets!
Black pepper buns at Fuzhou Shizu Hu Jiao Bing stall (福州世祖胡椒饼)
At the oldest night market in Taipei – Raohe Street Night Market – you can find the Fuzhou Shizu Hu Jiao Bing (福州世祖胡椒饼) stall near the entrance of the night market. It is easy to spot this stall as there is a perpetual long queue here for its famous black pepper bun as seen above. While queuing for this popular snack, you can check out its bun-making process.
The stall is manned by many staff, who diligently prepare the dough by hand, stuff them with generous pork and chopped spring onion fillings, wrap and sprinkle the buns with sesame seeds before baking them in the charcoal oven. Be careful with your first bite into the freshly made bun as it is piping hot and juicy. Though you may have to wait up to 30 minutes before you can lay your hands on this bun, it is well worth your wait for the charcoal-baked bun (50 TWD, about 1.50 USD) is fragrant, tasty and fresh from the oven!
Braised Prince Noodles at Lantern Soy Sauce Braised Food (灯笼卤味)
Thinking of sitting down for a proper dinner at the night market but not sure what to eat? Visit Lantern Soy Sauce Braised Food (灯笼卤味) at Shida Night Market, which got its name because of its proximity to the National Taiwan Normal University. Besides offering a large selection of stylish and trendy fashion, Shida Night Market also has a wide variety of street food to cater to the students from the nearby university.
Over at this stall, first, join the queue to pick the ingredients of your choice into a basket and pass it to a staff, and then join another queue to wait for your food to be cooked in a savoury broth. I highly recommend you to ask for the chewy Prince Noodles, which comes in a yellow packaging with a picture of a cute boy, especially if you’d like some carbs in your meal. In addition, you should also try the Pig’s Blood Cake, a Taiwanese street food delicacy made with pork blood, sticky rice and soy broth. Besides the ingredients you pick, a generous amount of salted vegetable will be poured onto your plate, adding crunch to the delicious meal with chilli and special braised sauce. Price of a plate of braised Prince Noodles will depend on the number and type of ingredients you choose. For a big plate like the picture above comprising 7 items, it will cost around 210 TWD (about 6.40 USD).
Large Fried Chicken at Hot Star Large Fried Chicken (豪大大鸡排)
The largest night market in Taipei – Shilin Night Market, is undoubtedly the most famous tourist night market. If you love food, you shouldn’t skip Shilin Night Market because it has a huge selection of local street snacks. If you are going to the night market via the MRT, alight at Jiantan Station and it is a short 5 minutes’ walk after crossing the traffic light in front of the station exit 1.
Located near the start of the night market from Jiantan station is the well-liked Hot Star Large Fried Chicken Stall. There is only 1 type of food being sold here – the original Large Fried Chicken (60 TWD, about 1.85 USD) with a written sign in front of the stall saying that no requests to cut the large piece of chicken will be entertained. The large piece of fried chicken is really crispy and flavourful, but do eat with caution for it is freshly fried and hot.
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Taiwanese pork sausage wrapped in sticky rice sausage (大肠包小肠) at Fu Rong Ji (福榕记)
Head over to the basement food court at the other end of the night market to find the stall featured above, for a taste of the uniquely Taiwan street snack which literally means “small intestine wrapped with large intestine” in Chinese. This snack, essentially Taiwanese pork sausage wrapped in sticky rice sausage is a specialty at 50-year-old Fu Rong Ji. At 50 TWD (about 1.50 USD) per piece, you can choose to have a taste of this savoury chewy snack in original, black pepper, wasabi or garlic flavour.
Traditional handmade brown sugar brewed tea at Black Pearls (黑噜噜粉圆)
Time for some traditional handmade beverage after all the yummy food! Head to the Black Pearls stall (黑噜噜粉圆) located at 87 Danan Road. The specialty at this stall is the traditional handmade brown sugar black pearls with either brewed tea or milk, featured on many local television food programs. Served iced, warm or hot according to your preference, this beverage is great as a thirst quencher, especially if you love chewy taro pearls in your drink with a hint of brown sugar fragrance. Price starts from a reasonable 30 TWD (about 0.90 USD) for a regular cup.
Natural Herbal Tea at Wang’s Qing Cao herbal tea (50年老店王青草茶)
Think you ate a tad too much oily food? Don’t worry, along the same street as the Black Pearls drink stall, you will find this old shop of more than 50 years old – Wang’s Qing Cao Herbal Tea – at 44 Danan Road which serves cooling herbal tea from 15 TWD (about 0.50 USD) for a small cup. With no preservatives, artificial flavouring and colouring, added sweetener or other chemicals, the cup of tea is naturally sweet with a tinge of peppermint flavour. A refreshing healthy drink that you should not miss!
Discover the joy in touring Taipei night markets
When travelling in Taipei, you will be missing all the joy in tasting mouth-watering street snacks if you exclude the night markets from your itinerary! Surely you don’t want to leave Taipei with regrets if you didn’t get to try these local delights? I am certain you will enjoy the culinary discovery and crave for more Taiwanese delicacies as you explore the lively night markets in Taipei.
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