Anyone who’s been to this East Asian country can tell you that visiting a Taiwanese night market is an essential part of the Taiwan experience. It’s such an important part of Taiwanese 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 making time for the Eiffel Tower. It has to be done.
There are dozens of night markets in Taiwan and not all are created equal. Some are better than others so choosing the right night market is important if you have limited time in Taiwan.
We’ve explored the best and most popular night markets in nearly every major city to come up with this list of the thirteen best night markets and street food neighborhoods in Taiwan.
If you don’t have much time and only want to visit the best night markets, then this list will be useful to you.
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TAIWANESE NIGHT MARKETS
A BRIEF HISTORY OF TAIWANESE 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 and games, even name brand shoes and apparel.
THE BEST NIGHT MARKETS IN TAIWAN
We’ve made a few trips to Taiwan and have visited several major cities in the country. We love Taiwanese street food so when possible, we try to visit a different night market every evening.
You’ll find many of the same Taiwanese dishes at different night markets so there’s no need to visit every one. Some of the smaller markets may not be worth it. To save you time, I’ve highlighted what many consider to be the biggest and best night markets in Taiwan.
I’ve included some of the most popular street food neighborhoods as well. These are famous areas like Jiufen Old Street that also open during the daytime.
Of all the cities in Taiwan, Taipei has the most night markets. There are over a dozen night markets in Taipei but easily the biggest and most popular are Shilin and Raohe night markets.
1. Raohe Night Market
As described, Raohe night market is one of Taipei’s most popular night markets. It’s known for having a great selection of food so if all you want to do is eat, then this may be the very best night market 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
Flame-torched beef cubes are among my 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 fresh oysters and topped 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 largest 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.
If you’d like eat your way through Shilin Night Market with a guide, then you may want to book this Shilin walking tour through Klook.
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
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: 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
There are many “must-try” Taiwanese street food dishes along Jiufen Old Street, 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.
Another popular dish in Jiufen 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, 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
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 along Tamsui Old Street 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.
The stewing process 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 largest night market in Taiwan, Taichung’s Fengjia night market is home to an estimated 15,000 shops, restaurants, and stalls.
Like Shilin or Raohe night markets 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
On the grill 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-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 Taiwanese night markets we visited, Zhongxiao Road night market 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 favorite night markets.
It didn’t seem to have as much food variety as other night markets in Taiwan 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
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: 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 home to what CNN calls one of the most beautiful bike paths in the world. It’s also home to Ita Thao Shopping Street which boasts a wealth of delicious Taiwanese 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”. It was 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. 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 Taiwanese 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
I don’t know what this dish is called but it’s delicious. It’s made with grilled pork belly that’s 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. It was supremely tasty with great texture.
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 Taiwanese street food snacks and something we enjoy almost every day in 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.
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.
9. Anping Old Street
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
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.
A simple street food dish of quail eggs with tobiko and shrimp
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 narket is open just three days a week, on Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. It’s become one of the biggest and most famous night markets in Taiwan.
If your trip to Tainan falls on any of the three nights it’s open, then you should definitely visit Flower night market.
Things to Try: Shrimp balls
Pros: Biggest night market in Southern Taiwan
Cons: Limited opening times, closes completely on rainy days
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.
11. Ruifeng Night Market
Ruifeng night market 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
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.
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: 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
Like Ruifeng, Liouhe isn’t the largest night market in Taiwan 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’s no fun having to walk 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
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 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.
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.
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.
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
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: 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.
TIPS FOR VISITING NIGHT MARKETS IN TAIWAN
To make the most of your experience, listed below are a few things to remember before visiting a night market in Taiwan.
NO RUBBISH BINS – As previously mentioned, most night markets in Taiwan don’t have rubbish bins. In fact, you won’t find trash cans in public spaces anywhere in Taiwan. The Taiwanese government banned them after discovering that litter tended to collect around rubbish bins. This can be annoying at night markets. They have them only at the exits so it may be a good idea to bring a plastic bag to keep all your used plates, cups, and utensils before disposing of them when you leave.
NO TOILETS – As far as I can remember, most night markets don’t have toilets. If you need to go, then it’s best to do your business before going to the night market.
AVOID RAINY DAYS – Night markets are uncovered so most stalls will close if it rains. As described, we learned this the hard way at Flower night market in Tainan. Plan your trip well and if you can, visit Taiwan during the less rainy months.
LOOK FOR THE LONGEST LINES – If you don’t know what dishes to eat, then look for the stalls with the longest lines. That’s always a telltale sign that the food they serve is delicious.
KEEP AN OPEN MIND – If you’re too finicky an eater, then you may miss out on some unique cultural experiences. Dishes like stinky tofu, duck tongue, and chicken feet may be off-putting to some but if you can get past your biases, then you may find that these are delicious dishes that add to the Taiwanese night market experience.
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 Taiwan night market guide is a work-in-progress that will only grow and get better with every return visit to Taiwan.
This article mentions a few interesting dishes you can look for at night markets, but if you want to learn more about Taiwanese cuisine and street food, then be sure to check out our Taiwanese food guide for a list of the best dishes to eat in Taiwan.
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