Taipei Part II: Night Markets

11:09 PM

Back here to update Part II of my Taipei trip which will be all about the NIGHT MARKETS (more commonly known as 观光夜市) to the locals there.

I don't think anyone ever visits Taipei without making a trip to their night markets there! Night markets are soooo iconic of Taipei tourism and even among the locals, known and popular for the cheap and yummy food!

1. Shida Night Market 师大夜市
A popular night market amongst students studying at 师范大学 (smth like our NIE back here), this night market is greatly targeted for the youths. It is a lot more organized and clean as compared to Shihlin, and sells a lot more clothes suitable for young adults at affordable prices. However, do take note that while prices are affordable, the really nicer clothes can be quite expensive as compared to other night markets! (Just think shopping at Bugis Street vs Far East Plaza, same same but price different)

Also, what is night market without food? On my previous trip here (not the most recent one, will explain why later), tonnes of braised meat stalls can be spotted almost at EVERY turn we make in the street LOL.

Do bear in mind that the night market life only starts bustling from 6pm onwards, if you go too early, you're gonna walk off empty handed like me and Lunz this time because we went around 430pm and the streets were so empty compared to the previous time I went! But I'd say this night market is really worth a visit for the fashion!!

Sorry no photos for this because we went too early and there was nth there lol

Nearest MRT station: Taipower Building
It's around a 5 minutes walk from taipower building. Just walk towards Shida Road!

2. Ningxia Night Market 宁夏夜市
If you're not someone into shopping and are purely looking for food in night markets, this is the place to go. EVERYWHERE IS FOOD. Left, Right, In front, behind. And not just food. IT IS PACKED WITH PEOPLE TOO. (Read: ahemprcahemtouristsahem)

Might be because I was there on a Friday night hence the entire place was sooooo packed with tourists. But this place has tonnes of yummy food man. Here are some of what we had:

Fried Cuttlefish (NT$100) Damn juicy, chewy and full of flavour. We ordered the garlic flavoured one and it was so good.
Oyster Omelette!!! (NT$60) This is the place and generally Ningxia Night Market is the place for oyster omelette imo. Not Shihlin. Shihlin sells overrated and overpriced oyster omelette! I forgot the shop name but this shop actl has a queue for its oyster omelette and there are a lot of locals eating this too. 
Papaya Milkshake (NT$60) 
My favourite drink there!! Not because it helps in bust growth ok!! I dislike papayas since young but this tastes sooo yummy! 
Advised to be consumed within 20min of purchase
Grilled cuttlefish (NT$100)
Evidently, I love cuttlefish

However, despite all the food being extremely yummy, this place is overly tourist-fied in my opinion and hence explains the higher prices in food. Like, a grilled squid for NT100? I could get the same at Danshui for NT80! And the drinks that we got that were priced at NT60, we could readily get them at NT40 elsewhere, even in more "developed" places like Ximending. But it's still worth a try if you want to soak into the local atmosphere and enjoy some yummy food.

Also, please appear strong when you're walking through the crowd. If not you'll just get pushed around and get your queues cut by barbaric tourists (ahem) whom the stall owners even gets pissed off with. Or maybe I just look THAT weak and easily pushed around by them. Tbh, that's the only thing I disliked about Ningxia, so I guess if I had gone on a less crowded night, I'd fall in love with this place very much (:

Nearest MRT station: Zhongshan

3. Tong Hua Street Night Market 通化街夜市
This was the most quiet night market that we visited and could walk around with like the whole road to ourselves. While it is a relatively shorter street as compared to other night markets, this place seems to be quite popular with the Taiwanese students because we saw so many of them there! You know a place is good when you see more locals than tourists.

We went there right after we checked into our hotel upon arrival, and were soooo dead hungry. So this was what we got:

Hot plate sirloin steak that is bigger than your face (directly translated) LOL.
Freakinggggg huge steak that we shared, with spaghetti, sunny side up and free flow of soup.
Flavoured sausages, quite nice. But never a fan of sausages.
My fav. Peanut Ice Cream wrap!
I first had this at Danshui in my previous trip and loved it, and back then not many stores sold this. Now it is everywhere you go due to its popularity. But this stall looks the most old school and authentic and the uncle gave me a damn big scoop of ice cream! My wrap was bursting. hehe

Also, we bought this really yummy bubble tea that was damn nice!!! Nicer than the famous 50嵐 (the KOI of taiwan) but I can't remember what was its name. I can only rmb that to get there, you turn right when you see the sausage stall and it's the last stall of the stretch, with its logo in green! Lots of youngsters were buying from there :)

A very simple stretch of road filled with road stalls that are not overly tourist-fied, with some shops selling collectibles, toys and stationery. Worth a visit if you're nearby but you would want to give it a miss if you're looking to shop.

Nearest MRT Station: Liuzhangli

4. Shihlin Night Market 士林观光夜市
Okay, if this night market doesn't appear here, I probably can't call myself a tourist. HAHAHA. This place is just horrifyingly filled with 1000000000000 people, if there are that much people in this world.

If you hate crowds, don't come here on weekends. Packed like sardines is how I'd describe the place to be on weekends. There're actually 2 main areas in this night market -- one for eating and one for shopping. To get to the eating district (where the gigantic underground mall is), you turn left after crossing the road (facing NET) You'll walk past stalls and stalls of game stalls and some food stalls till you see tonnes of tourists being dropped off. And that's where the underground eating area is. To be honest, I wouldn't recommend much from their underground eating mall because the food are really quite average and you know, they all kinda survive only because of the hype over the place. But there are 2 stalls I would recommend and it's my must eat every time I am there:

My ultimate love. Coffin Bread. 
Sounds inauspicious but this is THE BOMB. Soup/porridge filled in fried bread.
I've tried other coffin breads before but only this was to my liking. 
And I crave for this everytime... T.T

This is the original store and there are many other stalls selling this in the same mall. I love the chicken floss flavoured one, really savory!

Also, right before you go underground for the food, you can alr spot the big store of 豪大大鸡排 with tonnes of tourists. From here, walk straight into the alley and you'll find the treasured gem of......

So cute, and I loved cotton candy since young it's like my fav ever. I was actl trying to hunt this down this trip because we all have this childhood dream we wish to fulfill one day right? HAhahaha and thankfully Zuyou told me there's one in Shihlin and told me how to get there and I found this!!!!

To be honest, damn overpriced la. The duckling is for NT80 (around SGD3.50) and the flower is for NT60 I think. But yeah, you can't find this in Singapore at all and if you love cotton candy this is like ~WONDERLAND~ ok!! so just take my money!! HAHAHA Strictly no photography allowed during the process of how they make duckling though, so sorry can't share w you guys how this was born! The duckling can be kept up to 1 day, but really, I don't think it would survive the crowd even if it survived the hours so just, down my tummy it went!

There are also more food along the street where the temple is, but we didn't buy any food cos we were sooooo full from a day of eating at Danshui already. hahaha.

Moving on to shopping: if you don't wanna eat, and just wanna shop, turn right once you cross the road from the mrt station (facing NET) and there you go, get lost in that crowd!

I didn't buy much this trip because it was winter, but I sure did buy a lot of shoes! There is this shop that seem to be perpetually having clearance sale (so when is the company ever gonna close, we don't know LOL) and all the shoes were like going for NT120 - NT200. Yeap you heard me right. Like ALL the shoes -- boots, sandals, loafers. You can't miss that shop because the whole shop front is plastered with the sale boards and all. Just open your eyes big big won't miss already!

Also, here's a tip if you're shopping there. The deeper into the street you go, the cheaper it gets. This is quite a universal rule for shopping even back in Singapore like Bugis Street. LOL. What may appear cheap to you (because SG is ridiculously expensive) may actl be damn expensive in their currency. For instance, I was on a hunt for a checkered shirt in Shihlin and the first shop I saw, it was for NT$390, I was already going to buy it but I told myself no, sure can find cheaper somewhere here! (btw that's like SGD$17 only). 10 min later, walked into a shop and saw it for NT$290! NT$100 cheaper!!! Did I buy??? NOPE I DIDN'T because it was a SHOP and not a roadside stall, so I decided to be even more aunty and continue hunting. Finally, saw a stall selling it for NT$200! (that's like SGD$7.50?!!) so BUY.

In Shihlin, NT$200 is quite like the cheapest price for nice clothes, as per my past experiences. Don't be impulsive, be patient, and you'll ultimately be at advantage in the end! (:

Nearest MRT Station: Jiantan 
You can't miss it, just follow the crowd

5. Raohe Night Market 饶河夜市
I would suggest this to be paired together with a shopping trip at Wufenpu wholesale market for shopping earlier, and then visiting the night market at night since they kinda are in close approximity.

I love the oriental looking signboard, and right behind the entrance board, is the famous pepper bun stall. Rumour has it that it is this pepper bun that got Raohe night market famous, but on my previous trips here I've never had it. But since Lunz loves anything with spring onions and this bun has tonnes in it (also explains why I never ate them cos I hate it HAHAHA), we decided to queue for it.

Sadly, Lunz didn't really like it, maybe because earlier on he already had the BESTEST 葱抓饼 from Yong Kang street that even I LIKED IT. And worse still, Lunz kinda had indigestion that night after eating the pepper bun! :( Ok... it may be famous but not smth I would recommend.

Also filled with lots of food stall inside, Raohe seem to have liven up a bit with more shops catered for shopping. In particular, they had shops selling bags and these are not ugly pasar malam bags but the shop front of famous online bag stores like 天蓝小铺 (also in Shihlin night market) & PGmall! They actl have some other "blogshops" store fronts there including those of shoes which were pretty and cheap BUT RAN OUT OF MY SIZE SOBBBBS.

A little insight into the two online bag stores aforementioned... I used to really like 天蓝小铺 and would get my bags there everytime I'm in Taiwan but sadly this season all their bags are inspired from the bigger brands. I mean it's ok to be inspired like Singapore sells tonnes of chio inspired bags too but their inspired bags don't even look that nice... So sadly I didn't buy any bags this time round. For PGmall, their designs were very pretty and the material was good too! But prices were like NT$600 kinda so I didn't buy 'cos I didn't have enough cash left cos we went there on our last day.

We stopped by for some Braised Meat Rice (luroufan), watched some tv in the shop before heading back to rest. It was a rainy night so not much tourists! YAYYY

Nearest MRT Station: Songshan (Exit 5)
if you're coming from wufenpu, you'd have to walk a distance

With this, I sum up my list of night markets and whether they're mostly for food or for shopping. But here's a tip: if you're going to Taichung, please make sure you visit Fengjia Night Market because in general, stuff there are NT$100 cheaper than the same stuff in Taipei!!! And they have the best sweet potato fries (Cia Cia Fu sweet potato fries) EVER.

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