When you book a Taipei tour package, you’ll most likely get encouraged to check out Shilin Night Market. You may even be told that a Taipei tour won’t be complete without dropping by “Shilin Yeshi,” considering it’s less than 100 metres away from the Jiantan Metro Station. Very convenient, indeed!
As one of the most popular night markets in all of Taiwan, Shilin Night Market is an awesome shopping destination. More importantly, it’s also a foodie paradise. It’s definitely one of the best places to experience the local cuisine.
However, Shilin Night Market isn’t the only destination where you can have gastronomic adventures. As proof, here are just a few restaurants and markets to visit and savour some of the best dishes and street food in Taipei,
Raohe Night Market
One of the most popular night markets in Taipei is also one of the oldest: Raohe Night Market in Raohe Street, Songshan District. It’s full to the brim with affordable shopping options, along with fun carnival games and quirky shops to get fun little souvenirs. When it comes to food, make sure not to miss flame-torched beef cubes. It’s a very straightforward dish: beef cubes cooked over a grill before getting torched by flames and sprinkled with your choice of seasonings. Other popular foods to sample at Raohe Night Market include oyster omelettes and pork pepper buns or hu jiao bing.
Yong He Dou Jiang
For those who love breakfast, head on over to Yong He Dou Jiang. It’s a popular breakfast brand in Taiwan, and you can visit one in Yongji Road in Xinyi District. (They have branches all over Taiwan.) For a genuine Taiwanese morning meal, get a cup of soy milk and some rice congee and partner these with some fried youtiao. Essentially, youtiao is the Chinese version of a churro. In fact, it’s also called Chinese churro, Chinese bread stick, or Chinese cruller. If you want, you can dip your youtiao into coffee or tea.
If you want to taste Taiwanese-style mee sua, there’s no better place to get it than at Ay Chung in Wanhua District. This food stall always has long lines, which is one of the best proofs of the high quality and delicious flavour of their mee sua. With the milky smooth noodles and a generous topping of braised pork intestine bits, it’s easy to see why this humble food stall is famous all over Taiwan. To add a bit of a kick to your bowl of mee sua, Ay Chung has bottles of black vinegar, chili oil, and garlic that you can use as liberally as you want for seasonings.
Shida Night Market
Shida Night Market in Daan District is home to one of the most popular Taiwanese street foods in recent years: fried chicken. In particular, bite-sized chicken coated in potato starch and season with basil leaves, garlic, pepper, and salt. Think of popcorn chicken, but a bit softer and more tender due to the use of potato starch instead of the usual breading. Get your serving of this juicy, garlicky chicken goodness at Shi Yun Taiwanese Fried Chicken in Shida Night Market. Be warned: these chicken pieces are highly addictive!
Chun Shui Tang and Hanlin Tea House
If you love boba or bubble milk tea or pearl milk tea, it’s practically a sin to not try this delicious drink when you visit Taiwan. The original Chun Shui Tang in Taichung and Hanlin Tea House which is based in Tainan are “rivals” when it comes to which one is actually the original creator of the now-world-famous pearl milk tea. Wherever you choose to get your large serving of boba and other milk teas, though, you’re guaranteed to get the full-blown authentic experience. Both Chun Shui Tang and Hanlin Tea House also serve delectable Chinese and Taiwanese dishes if you want to eat first before enjoying your boba.
This list is by no means discouraging you to forgo Shilin Night Market during your Taipei tour. What it is is a little guide to bring you to even more destinations where you can experience the best dishes in the city. After all, food is a central part of tourism not just in Taipei but in all of Taiwan.
Bon voyage and bon appetit!