Night Markets of Taipei

One of the great things about traveling around Asia is the night markets. Every city has them. Some cities are better known for them than others. They’re always the best places to find local food, interact with people, and buy some cheap items that you might want or need.

wheel cake
Wheel cakes, a custard or red bean-filled dessert that’s found everywhere in Taipei

Taipei is home to numerous night markets of varying sizes — some more popular than others. And because there are convenience stores on every block, it’s easy to stop in 7-11 or Family Mart for beer while you walk around and sample the delicacies. My apartment is about a mile from Ningxia Night Market, which I discovered on one of my wanderings after work.

frog eggs night market
No, it’s not real frog eggs. If it was, I would’ve ordered it.

Ningxia Night Market is full of food. Unfortunately, there’s very little room between the stalls to walk and even less seating area as only a few stalls provide seating. I also found that trash is only at the end of the night market, so you have to carry your garbage as you order more night market

Ningxia is not the largest night market, but there’s plenty of variety — stinky tofu, deep-fried shrimp and egg stuffed buns, and squid balls covered in spices. There are also plenty of restaurants on the street if you’re tired of walking between the food stalls.

Mmm...grilled squid
Mmm…grilled squid

As I read on more than a few websites, the place to go is Raohe Night Market. Fortunately, I road my YouBike past there a while ago and knew where it was — it’s not that close to my apartment or convenient to a metro station.

raohe night market
Welcome to Raohe Night Market

As all the YouBikes were taken at Linsen Park, I had to find a bus to take me to the night market. I arrived around 7:30 to a very crowded night market that was mostly filled with tourists (yeah, sure it’s the locals’ night market). I was greeted by these creepy owls at the entrance to the night market.

Not the most welcoming statue
Not the most welcoming statue

I found a greater variety of food, plus many more clothing vendors than at the other night markets I visited in Taipei. The first thing I tried was fried milk — it sounded like something that I’d find at a county fair in the Midwest. It tasted like solidified vanilla yogurt.

fried milk night market
Really, they fried milk

More impressive were the grilled squid and mini baozi (steamed stuffed buns) — I even got to use toothpicks as mini chopsticks.

baozi night market
Mini baozi. Just as good as regular-sized baozi

By the time I was finished walking through the crowd at Raohe, I had had enough. I headed south to Gongguan to get some local beer to wash down all that wonderful food that my doctor probably doesn’t recommend I eat. There are plenty of other night markets around Taipei, but these were the most memorable (I also prefer avoiding the crowds, so I tend to eat elsewhere).

Have you visited night markets in Taipei or elsewhere? What are you favorite night markets and night market foods?

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