When I think of Taiwan, I can’t help but think of night markets. They’re synonymous with the country and an integral part of Taiwanese culture. Ren and I travel for food so we can’t visit this island without going to at least one night market. And it doesn’t matter if it’s our first or fifteenth trip either. Our Taiwanese experience would never be complete without it.
On our most recent trip, we spent two weeks traveling through the country and exploring as many night markets as we could. There are so many that we honestly could have visited at least two every night. In fact, according to this Wiki page, there are at present 67 night markets throughout Taiwan. That’s a whole lot of stinky tofu!
We’re yet to explore all 67 but listed here are 12 of the most popular night markets and food streets in Taiwan. We zeroed in on the biggest and most famous so if it’s your first time visiting a Taiwanese night market, then any of these would be a good place to start. Happy traveleating!
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GUIDE TABLE OF CONTENTS
A BRIEF HISTORY ON TAIWAN’S NIGHT MARKETS
Night markets in Taiwan have a long history that dates back to the Tang Dynasty. Night vendors would gather around urban street corners or temple plazas to sell handicrafts, traditional medicine, and Taiwanese street food called xiaochi. In the 50s and 60s, migrant urban workers made up a large base of night market customers, but the serving of xiaochi began attracting a wider demographic which included the local elite.
Over time, night markets prospered and modernized. Low quality garment stalls gave way to gift shops and neon signs started lighting up to attract more customers. Today, night markets have become lively hubs of pop culture. They attract both locals and tourists throughout the country, offering a wide selection of trendy and traditional snacks, games, even name brand shoes and apparel.
1. Raohe Night Market
Of all the cities in Taiwan, Taipei has the most night markets. Together with Shilin, Raohe Night Market is arguably its most popular. Raohe has a great selection of food so if all you want to do is eat, then this is one of the best night markets you can visit in Taipei. The only drawback is that because it’s so popular, it can get pretty crowded.
Things to Try: Stinky tofu, oyster omelette, flame-torched beef, pepper buns
Pros: One of the best selections of food
Cons: Can get crowded, walking paths aren’t as wide
Flame-torched beef cubes are among my absolute favorite things to eat at Taiwanese night markets. They’re so tasty and tender! You can get them with your choice of seasoning like teriyaki, salt, pepper, or cumin. We always got ours with cumin.
You’ll find many trendy dishes at Taiwanese night markets these days, but you can always count on finding classic xiaochi dishes like this oyster omelette. It’s made with small fresh oysters and served with a mild sweet and sour tomato sauce.
Raohe Night Market
Address: Raohe Street, Songshan District, Taipei City, Taiwan 105
Operating Hours: 4PM-12MN, daily
How to Get There: Take the MRT to Songshan Station (Green Line, Exit 5). The night market entrance will be to the right across the street next to the temple.
2. Shilin Night Market
Shilin Night Market is one of the biggest night markets we’ve visited in Taiwan. Established in 1899, it’s been around for over 119 years and still going strong. It has a fun, carnival-like atmosphere with arguably the best mix of food, games, and shopping stalls. If you’re interested in having a complete night market experience and can only visit one in Taipei, then this should be it. Just be prepared to elbow your way through the crowds.
Things to Try: Hot Star fried chicken chop, flame-torched beef, penis waffle
Pros: Huge night market, lots of shopping, great selection of food and games
Cons: Can get very crowded, harder to navigate
When we visited Shilin Night Market in 2014, there was a stall called A Piece of Gayke which offered these scandalous-looking penis waffles. You could get them filled with things like red bean or peanut and glazed with a frosting of your choice. I read that the stall may no longer be around, but you can find similar pre-made penis waffles sold in boxes throughout the market.
Fancy some pig’s blood cake? Pig’s blood cake is a popular Taiwanese street food snack made with pork blood congealed with sticky rice. It’s covered in a sweet soy sauce before being coated in peanut flour and coriander.
Shilin Night Market
Address: No. 101, Jihe Road, Shilin District, Taipei City, Taiwan 111
Operating Hours: 3PM-1AM, daily
How to Get There: Take the MRT to Jiantan Station (Red Line, Exit 1). Diagonally cross the street to the left to enter the night market.
NEW TAIPEI CITY
3. Jiufen Old Street
If you’ll be spending enough time in Taipei, then the mountain town of Jiufen in Northeastern Taiwan makes for a great day trip. Located about an hour east of Taipei, Jiufen is a former gold mining settlement that’s become a popular tourist destinaton because of its resemblance to the town in the critically acclaimed anime film Spirited Away. People who come to Jiufen do two things – take pictures and eat, both of which they do in abundance.
Things to Try: Taro balls, glutinous rice cake, peanut ice cream roll, ice cream puff
Pros: Charming atmosphere, good selection of street food
Cons: Always extremely crowded, food prices seem higher, about an hour from downtown Taipei
There are many “must-try” street food dishes in Jiufen, though perhaps none more popular than these glutinous rice cakes from Ah Lan Hakka Glutinous Rice Cake. An interesting Hakka dish, it’s made with a glutinous rice casing filled with a variety of ingredients like sweet red bean, salted vegetable, and preserved turnip.
Another popular dish that’s often recommended in blog posts is this bowl of taro balls from Grandma Lai’s Taro Balls. Served hot or cold, you’ll get a bowl of sweet soup filled with chewy handmade taro balls, green tea balls, sweet potato balls, and kidney beans.
Jiufen Old Street
Address: Jishan Street, Ruifang District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 224
Operating Hours: Around 7AM-9PM
How to Get There: From Taipei, take the MRT to Zhongxiao Fuxing Station (Blue/Brown Line, Exit 2). Outside the Sogo department store, take Bus 1062 (Keelung) bound for Jinguashi and get off at Jiufen. The ride takes about an hour and the fare costs NTD 98 each way. Walk up the steps to Jifuen Old Street.
4. Tamsui Old Street
Like Jiufen, Tamsui is a great place to visit and spend the day from Taipei. Located at the end of the MRT’s Red Line, there you’ll find a charming seaside town known for interesting regional delicacies like ah-gei and iron eggs.
Things to Try: Ah-gei, iron eggs, tower ice cream
Pros: Pleasant atmosphere, unique food items, great place to spend the day
Cons: About 40 mins from downtown Taipei
If you visit Tamsui, then be sure to try ah-gei. It’s a specialty of Tamsui District and consists of fried tofu skin stuffed with cooked green bean noodles and sealed with surimi, a fish paste mixture. Many places in Tamsui offer ah-gei, but one of the best places to try it is at the Original Ah-Gei shop which is credited for inventing the dish in 1965.
Like ah-gei, iron eggs are a specialty of Tamsui. They’re chicken, pigeon, or quail eggs that have been repeatedly stewed in a tea, soy sauce, and spice mixture before being air-dried. This shrinks the eggs and turns them a dark brown color (almost black), making them chewier and more concentrated in flavor. You’ll find iron eggs sold in vacuum-sealed packs like these throughout Tamsui.
Tamsui Old Street
Address: Zhongzheng Road, Tamsui District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 251
Operating Hours: 9AM-10PM, daily
How to Get There: Take the MRT to Tamsui Station (Red Line). Make a left after exiting and walk along the waterfront to Tamsui Old Street.
5. Fengjia (Feng Chia) Night Market
Described as the biggest night market in Taiwan, Taichung’s Fengjia Night Market is home to an estimated 15,000 shops, restaurants, and stalls. Like Shilin or Raohe in Taipei, it’s a hugely popular night market with a wide selection of food. If you’re keen on visiting just one night market in Taichung, then Fengjia Night Market is the one you should go to.
Things to Try: Grilled abalone, sausage with sticky rice, fried chicken chop
Pros: Big night market, great selection of food
Cons: Can get crowded, no MRT system in Taichung so it’s a little harder to get to
Grilling at Fengjia Night Market are many different types of seafood like scallops, clams, squid, oysters, sea snails, and abalone.
We had this huge fried chicken chop from a popular stall at Fengjia Night Market. Chicken cutlets the size of your face are dredged in flour and deep-fried to golden perfection before being flavored with your choice of seasoning like salt and pepper, chili pepper, sweet and sour, or teriyaki.
Fengjia Night Market
Address: Wenhua Road, Xitun District, Taichung City, Taiwan 407
Operating Hours: 4PM-1:30AM, daily
How to Get There: There’s no MRT system in Taichung so the fastest and easiest way is to go by Uber (about 20-25 mins from Taichung TRA Station). It’s cheaper than taxis. If you’d prefer to take the bus, then I suggest downloading the Google Maps app (iOS | Android). It’ll tell you how to get to Fengjia Night Market by bus from wherever you are.
6. Zhongxiao Road Night Market
Among all the night markets we visited in Taiwan, this one felt the most authentic. There weren’t as many trendy food stalls and it appeared to be visited mostly by locals. However, it was one of my least favorites. It didn’t seem to have as much food variety as other night markets and more importantly, it didn’t feel as safe. Unlike other markets that are enclosed and shut off to car traffic, this one has stalls on either side of busy Zhongxiao Road. Take a step back without looking and WHAM! Scallion pancake.
Things to try: Lu wei
Pros: Feels authentic, true local experience
Cons: Along a busy street with heavy car traffic, stressful, not as much variety
This night market stretches along Zhongxiao Road from Taichung Road to Guoguang Road. We only walked the length of about 2-3 blocks but many of the stalls we saw were lu wei stalls. Lu wei is a distant cousin of hot pot and consists of many different types of braised food like vegetables, sausages, mushrooms, and noodles.
After you pick out everything you want, they serve it to you in a plastic bag with a bamboo skewer. It isn’t the easiest dish to eat while standing, so we sat at a nearby convenience store and enjoyed it with beer.
Zhongxiao Road Night Market
Address: Zhongxiao Road, South District, Taichung City, Taiwan 402
Operating Hours: 12:30PM-11:30AM, daily
How to Get There: There’s no MRT system in Taichung so the fastest and easiest way is to go by Uber (about 5-10 mins from Taichung TRA Station). It’s cheaper than taxis. If you’d prefer to take the bus or walk (about 20 mins), then I suggest downloading the Google Maps app (iOS | Android). It’ll tell you how to go to Zhongxiao Road Night Market from wherever you are.
SUN MOON LAKE
7. Ita Thao Shopping Street
If you’ll be spending enough time in Taichung, then a day trip to Sun Moon Lake is one of the best side trips you can make. It’s located about two hours south of Taichung and is easily accessible by bus. Sun Moon Lake is the largest lake in Taiwan and the site of one of the world’s most beautiful bike paths according to CNN. It’s also home to Ita Thao Shopping Street which has a wealth of delicious street food for you to choose from.
Things to Try: Gua bao, aruzay fish
Pros: Pleasant atmosphere, great place to spend the day
Cons: About 2 hrs from downtown Taichung
At first we thought this was a regular hot dog but it’s actually a sausage served with a glutinous rice “bun”. Tasty but very filling.
This gua bao was delicious. It contained a generous helping of pork along with cilantro, cheese, and a fried egg.
Ita Thao Shopping Street
Address: Yidashao St., Yuchi Township, Nantou County 555, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
Operating Hours: Around 9AM-10PM, daily
How to Get There: From Taichung Gancheng Bus Station, take the Nantou Bus bound for Sun Moon Lake. The ride takes just under 2 hours. From Shuishe Station, walk to the pier and take a ferry to Ita Thao Pier and Shopping Street. I suggest getting a Sun Moon Lake package from the Nantou Bus Station as it will include roundtrip bus fare, ferry vouchers, and ropeway tickets at discounted prices.
8. Anping Old Street
Anping Old Street is a popular shopping street in Tainan with lots of shops and street food stalls. A must-try here is the coffin bread which is considered a night market specialty of Tainan.
Things to Try: Coffin bread, dry tossed noodles, iced mung bean soup, Wang’s champion rice cakes
Pros: Interesting food items
Cons: Can get crowded
Coffin bread consists of a thick hunk of fried bread that’s been hollowed out and filled with a creamy chicken, seafood, or vegetable chowder. It’s reminiscent of chicken pot pie or chicken ala king and as you can see below, it really does resemble a coffin.
Quail eggs with tobiko and shrimp
Anping Old Street
Address: Yanping Street, Anping District, Tainan City, Taiwan 708
Operating Hours: Around 11AM-10PM
How to Get There: Anping Old Street is about a 10 min walk from Anping Tree House. From the tree house, walk along Gubao Street and make a left onto Anping Old Street.
9. Flower (Huayan) Night Market
This is Tainan’s largest night market. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get to it because it rained hard the only night we were in Tainan. Bummer. It’s open just three days a week – Thurs, Sat-Sun – and has become one of Taiwan’s biggest and most famous night markets. In fact, it’s said that “South is Flower, Middle is Fengjia, North is Shihlin“. If your trip to Tainan falls on any of the three nights it’s open, then you should definitely come here.
Things to Try: Shrimp balls
Pros: Biggest night market in Southern Taiwan
Cons: Limited opening times, closed during rainy days
By 范鈞傑 [CC BY-SA 4.0], from Wikimedia Commons
9. Flower Night Market
Address: No. 533, Section 3, Hai’an Road, North District, Tainan City, Taiwan 704
Operating Hours: 5PM-1AM, Thurs, Sat-Sun
How to Get There: There’s no MRT system or Uber in Tainan so the fastest and easiest way to go is by taxi (about 5-10 mins from Tainan TRA Station). If you’d prefer to take the bus, then I suggest downloading the Google Maps app (iOS | Android). It’ll tell you how to go to Flower Night Market from wherever you are.
10. Ruifeng Night Market
This was one of my favorite night markets in Taiwan. It isn’t the biggest but I found it to be the most fun. It’s laid out in a square-ish shape, like a parking lot, and it has a great selection of food. It’s easy to navigate and completely closed off to vehicular traffic. I loved it!
Things to Try: Giant takoyaki balls, bubble tea toast, wagyu cubes
Pros: Fun atmosphere, easy to navigate, great selection of food, completely closed off to traffic
Cons: Can get crowded
This stall selling giant takoyaki balls is one of the most popular at Ruifeng Night Market. About the size of your fist, it’s loaded with things like octopus, shrimp, mushroom, and vegetables.
Here’s an interesting treat that we saw only at Ruifeng Night Market. Called bubble tea toast, it’s basically boba served in sandwich form. Strange but surprisingly good!
Ruifeng Night Market
Address: Yucheng Road, Zuoying District, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan 804
Operating Hours: 12MN-12:30PM, 4PM-12MN, Fri-Sun | 12MN-12:30PM, Mon, Wed | 4PM-12MN, Tue, Thurs
How to Get There: Take the MRT to Kaohsiung Arena Station (Red Line, Exit 1). Walk straight along Yucheng Road for about 5 mins and the entrance to the night market will be on your right.
11. Liouhe (Liuhe) Tourist Night Market
In terms of night markets, Kaohsiung was my favorite city in Taiwan. I loved Ruifeng and I enjoyed Liouhe Night Market as well. Like Ruifeng, it isn’t the biggest night market but it’s well-laid out and pleasant to go through. There’s ample seating to enjoy your meal and it’s the only night market we visited that had rubbish bins. I know that sounds like a minor inconvenience, but it sucks walking around with trash in your hand while you’re trying to enjoy as many dishes as you can!
Things to Try: Papaya milk, sour and spicy noodles, seafood porridge
Pros: Relaxed atmosphere, plenty of tables and rubbish bins, wide walking path
Cons: Not as much fun as other night markets
This stall selling papaya milk is one of the most famous at Liouhe Night Market. It’s creamy and absolutely delicious.
This was an interesting noodle dish that we found only at Liouhe Night Market. I asked my Taiwanese friend what it was and he said it’s name literally translates to “sour and spicy noodles”. It’s a delicious noodle dish consisting of thick, translucent, and slippery udon-like noodles in a sour and spicy broth with loads of scallions, peanuts, and a few slices of pork. The stall selling it is located not too far from the papaya milk stand, on the opposite side of the street.
Liouhe Tourist Night Market
Address: Liuhe 2nd Road & 與中山一路口 Xinxing District, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan 800
Operating Hours: 6PM-10AM, daily
How to Get There: Take MRT to Formosa Boulevard Station (Red/Orange Line, Exit 1). Walk straight along Zhongshanheng Road then make a right on Zhongzhengsi Road. Turn left on Liuhe 2nd Road to the night market.
12. Dongdamen Night Market
This was another of my favorite night markets in Taiwan. It’s big with a fun carnival-like atmosphere. The walking paths are wide and there’s a good selection of food and game stalls.
Things to Try: Grilled mochi, peanut ice cream roll, gua bao
Pros: Fun atmosphere, wide walking paths, good mix of food and games
Cons: Not as much selection as other night markets
Hualien is known for its mochi. They’re commonly served in spherical form but we tried it grilled at Dongdamen Night Market. A frozen block of mochi is grilled before being topped with peanut powder and your choice of sauce.
This peanut ice cream roll is another interesting Taiwanese street food dish. It’s made by spreading peanut shavings over traditional popiah skin then topping it with two or three scoops of ice cream and cilantro. It’s rolled up like a burrito and served.
Dongdamen Night Market
Address: No. 50, Zhongshan Road, Hualien City, Hualien County, Taiwan 970
Operating Hours: 5:30-11:30PM, daily
How to Get There: The night market is near the end of Zhongshan Road, one of the main thoroughfares in Hualien City. Walk down Zhongshan Road towards the water until you see it.
As described, you’ll have 67 night markets and many other food streets to choose from in Taiwan. Choosing among 67 can be daunting but if all you’re interested in are the biggest and most popular, then this list of 12 can help you narrow it down.
As with all our travel and food guides, this list is a work-in-progress that will only grow with every return visit to Taiwan. I’m not an expert but if you have any questions or suggestions, then feel free to sound off in the comments. I’ll try to answer them as best I can.
For more food tips, check out our guide on 57 Things to Eat in Taiwan
JB and Renée are the Traveleaters behind Will Fly for Food, a travel blog for the gastronomically inclined. They enjoy experiencing food from different cultures so they’ve made it their mission to try every country’s national dish. Read more about them and their National Dish Quest here.