One of the greatest things to do in Taipei is to visit one of the many crazy night markets. Sure, there are night markets in other countries, but nothing comes close to the intensity of the Taiwanese night markets. It’s a phenomenon one has to experience to fully grasp the extremity of Taiwanese food culture.
During the long time I lived and visited in Taiwan I had the chance to visit many of Taipei’s famous night markets. The first semester I spent studying some Chinese was near Shida, and the Shida night market was one of the things my friends and I would do after a day of trying to make sense of Chinese to practice our bad tones on the local vendors. Shilin night market is possibly the biggest and most famous, and there were a few smaller ones like Ningxia Night Market. In my recent visit to Taipei I sought out a few new night markets I haven’t been to before, even if they’re fairly small, and so managed to discover the Tonghua night market, the Raohe night market, and further away to the east of Taipei the Keelung night market. If you, like me, have a thing for trying new things, then you’ll find endless options in every corner. Some of it is going to challenge your guts or your stomach, but the experience is often well worth it. Even if you’re less adventureous there should be plenty for you to find to keep you happy, from snacks, through ice-creams, to desserts and fruit-juice smoothies. It’s a wonderland of affordable and genuine Taiwanese cuisine in an insanely crowded noisy claustrophobic atmosphere.
That’s the magic of Taiwan, when it comes to cultural experiences, it doesn’t get much better than this.
Shall we take a stroll through the three night markets?
No matter how long you’re visiting Taiwan for, this is an absolute must Taiwanese experience, not to be missed. I’d start from Shilin, but if that’s a bit far or tight, you can try some of the smaller ones in your area.