Taiwanese Street Food: 13 of the Best Night Markets in Taiwan

Taiwanese Street Food: 13 of the Best Night Markets in Taiwan

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Anyone who’s been to Taiwan can tell you that visiting a night market is quintessential to the Taiwan experience. It’s such an important part of the culture.

For me, going to Taiwan without eating street food at a night market is like going to Paris for the first time ever and not seeing the Eiffel Tower. It has to be done.

Taiwan has dozens of night markets throughout the country so choosing the right ones is important. We’ve explored the best and most popular markets in nearly every major city to come up with this list of thirteen must-visit night markets and street food neighborhoods in Taiwan.

If you have limited time and only want to go to the best night markets, then this list will be very useful to you.

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Ruifeng Night Market and stinky tofu

GUIDE TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. A Brief History
  2. Taipei
  3. New Taipei City
  4. Taichung
  5. Sun Moon Lake
  1. Chiayi
  2. Tainan
  3. Kaohsiung
  4. Hualien

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 sale of xiaochi began attracting a wider demographic which included the local elite. Food was the catalyst that brought people together.

Over time, night markets prospered and modernized. Low quality garment stalls gave way to gift shops while neon signs were put up to attract more customers.

Today, night markets have become lively hubs of food and pop culture. They attract locals and tourists throughout the country, offering a wide selection of trendy and traditional snacks, games, even name brand shoes and apparel.

TAIPEI

1. Raohe Night Market

Of all the cities in Taiwan, Taipei has the most night markets. Raohe and Shilin are two of its most popular, especially among tourists.

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. However, due to its popularity, 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
Raohe Night Market in Taipei, Taiwan

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.
Flame-torched beef at Raohe Night Market in Taipei, Taiwan

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 fresh oysters and topped with a mild sweet and sour tomato sauce.
Oyster omelette at Raohe Night Market in Taipei, Taiwan

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 in Taiwan. It was established in 1899 and still going strong.

Shilin has a fun, carnival-like atmosphere with arguably the best mix of food, games, and shopping stalls. If you want to have a complete night market experience in Taipei, then you should definitely go to Shilin. Just be prepared to elbow your way through the crowds.

Things to Try: Hot Star fried chicken chop, flame-torched beef
Pros: Huge night market, lots of shopping, great selection of food and games
Cons: Can get very crowded, harder to navigate
Shilin Night Market in Taipei, Taiwan

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.
Penis waffles at Shilin Night Market in Taipei, Taiwan

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.
Pig's blood cake at Shilin Night Market in Taipei, Taiwan

Shilin Night Market

Address: No. 101, Jihe Road, Shilin District, Taipei City, Taiwan 111
Operating Hours: 4PM-12MN, Mon-Fri / 3PM-1AM, Sat-Sun
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
Jiufen, Taiwan

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. It’s an interesting Hakka dish made with a glutinous rice casing filled with a variety of ingredients like sweet red bean, salted vegetable, and preserved turnip.
Glutinous rice cake at Jiufen, Taiwan

Another often recommended dish 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.
Taro balls at Jiufen, Taiwan

Jiufen Old Street

Address: Jishan Street, Ruifang District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 224
Operating Hours: Around 7AM-9PM, daily
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. 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, it’s 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
Tamsui Old Street in Taiwan

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.
Ah-gei along Tamsui Old Street in Taiwan

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.
Iron eggs along Tamsui Old Street in Taiwan

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.

TAICHUNG

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
Fengjia Night Market in Taichung, Taiwan

On the grill at Fengjia Night Market are many different types of seafood like scallops, clams, squid, oysters, sea snails, and abalone.
Grilled abalone at Fengjia Night Market in Taichung, Taiwan

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.
Fried chicken chop at Fengjia Night Market in Taichung, Taiwan

Fengjia Night Market

Address: Wenhua Road, Xitun District, Taichung City, Taiwan 407
Operating Hours: 4PM-2AM, Tue-Sun / 4PM-1AM, Mon
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! You’re a tourist 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
Zhongxiao Road Night Market in Taichung, Taiwan

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.
Lu wei at Zhongxiao Road Night Market in Taichung, Taiwan

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.
Lu wei at Zhongxiao Road Night Market in Taichung, Taiwan

Zhongxiao Road Night Market

Address: Zhongxiao Road, South District, Taichung City, Taiwan 402
Operating Hours: 2-11:30PM, 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
Ita Thao Shopping Street at Sun Moon Lake in Taiwan

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.
Sausage in a glutinoius rice bun at Ita Thao Shopping Street at Sun Moon Lake in Taiwan

This gua bao was delicious. It contained a generous helping of pork along with cilantro, cheese, and a fried egg.
Gua bao at Ita Thao Shopping Street at Sun Moon Lake in Taiwan

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.

CHIAYI

8. Wenhua Road Night Market

Wenhua Road Night Market is a small but pleasant night market in Chiayi. It stretches for about four or five blocks and offers a decent selection of street food. It’s the most popular night market in Chiayi City.

The douhua stall featured on the Taiwan episode of Street Food on Netflix can be found here.

Things to Try: Fuyishan pepper soda crackers, sweet potato balls, douhua
Pros: Pleasant night market with few tourists
Cons: Not that big
Wenhua Road Night Market in Chiayi, Taiwan

I don’t know what this is called but it was delicious. Pork belly was grilled then stir-fried with basil and loads of onion. It was smokey, savory, crunchy from the onions, and a little sweet and aromatic from the basil. Very tasty with great texture.
Pork belly dish at Wenhua Road Night Market in Chiayi, Taiwan

Taiwan has a term for chewy and springy snacks like these fried sweet potato balls. They call them QQ – from the Minnan word for “khiu” – which means soft and elastic. This is one of our favorite street food snacks and something we had almost every day on our most recent trip to Taiwan.
Sweet potato balls at Wenhua Road Night Market in Chiayi, Taiwan

This is the tofu pudding from A E Lao Dian Dou Hua, the stall featured on Netflix’s Street Food. It’s a comforting dessert or snack made with silken tofu, ginger or almond syrup, and toppings like tapioca pearls, peanuts, and adzuki beans.
Douhua at Wenhua Road Night Market in Chiayi, Taiwan

Wenhua Road Night Market

Address: Wenhua Road, East District, Chiayi City, Taiwan 600
Operating Hours: 5PM-1AM, daily
How to Get There: From Chiayi TRA Station, walk east on Zhongshan Road. When you reach the fountain roundabout, make a right onto Wenhua Road and the night market.

TAINAN

9. 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, not as much fun
Anping Old Street in Tainan, Taiwan

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.
Coffin bread along Anping Old Street in Tainan, Taiwan

Quail eggs with tobiko and shrimp
Quail eggs along Anping Old Street in Tainan, Taiwan

Anping Old Street

Address: Yanping Street, Anping District, Tainan City, Taiwan 708
Operating Hours: Around 11AM-10PM, daily
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.

10. 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.

Flower Night Market is 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, closes completely on rainy days
Flower Night Market in Tainan, Taiwan

By 范鈞傑 [CC BY-SA 4.0], from Wikimedia Commons

Flower Night Market

Address: No. 533, Section 3, Hai’an Road, North District, Tainan City, Taiwan 704
Operating Hours: 5PM-1AM, Thurs, Sat-Sun (closed Mon-Wed, Fri)
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.

KAOHSIUNG

11. 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.

Things to Try: Giant takoyaki balls, bubble tea toast, wagyu cubes
Pros: Fun atmosphere, very local, easy to navigate, great selection of food, completely closed off to traffic
Cons: Can get very crowded
Ruifeng Night Market in Kaohsiung, Taiwan

This stall selling giant takoyaki balls is one of the most popular at Ruifeng Night Market. It’s about the size of your fist and loaded with things like octopus, shrimp, mushroom, and vegetables.
Giant takoyaki balls at Ruifeng Night Market in Kaohsiung, Taiwan

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!
Boba toast at Ruifeng Night Market in Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Ruifeng Night Market

Address: Yucheng Road, Zuoying District, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan 804
Operating Hours: 4PM-12MN, Tue, Thurs-Sun (closed Mon and Wed)
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.

12. 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, Liouhe 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 doesn’t sound like a big deal 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, fried chicken poppers
Pros: Relaxed atmosphere, plenty of tables and rubbish bins, wide walking path
Cons: Not as much fun as other night markets
Liouhe Night Market in Kaohsiung, Taiwan

This stall selling papaya milk is one of the most famous at Liouhe Night Market. It’s creamy and absolutely delicious.
Papaya milk at Liouhe Night Market in Kaohsiung, Taiwan

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 basically a noodle dish made with 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.
Noodle soup at Liouhe Night Market in Kaohsiung, Taiwan

We were with our Taiwanese friends on our last visit to Liouhe and they insisted we try these crunchy chicken poppers. They’re chunks of battered and deep-fried chicken dusted with a spicy or non-spicy seasoning. They were absolutely delicious and one of the best things we ate in Kaohsiung.
Fried chicken nuggets at Liouhe Night Market in Kaohsiung, Taiwan

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.

HUALIEN

13. Dongdamen Night Market

This was another of my favorite night markets in Taiwan. Dongdamen is a big night market in Hualien 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
Dongdamen Night Market in Hualien, Taiwan

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.
Grilled mochi at Dongdamen Night Market in Hualien, Taiwan

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.
Peanut ice cream rolls at Dongdamen Night Market in Hualien, Taiwan

Dongdamen Night Market

Address: No. 50, Zhongshan Road, Hualien City, Hualien County, Taiwan 970
Operating Hours: 6PM-12MN, 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.

IN SUMMARY

You’ll have dozens of night markets and street food neighborhoods to choose from in Taiwan. If you’re interested only in the biggest and most popular, then this list of thirteen 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.

This article suggests a few tasty and interesting dishes you can try at night markets, but if you want to learn more about Taiwanese cuisine and street food, then be sure to check out our list of 45 things to eat in Taiwan.
Danzai noodles in Tainan, Taiwan

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