Taiwanese Food Guide: Must-try Food and Night Markets around Taipei
Taiwan is one of the world’s best food havens, and when visiting this country, eating and food crawling should always be included in your itinerary. Here we have rounded up the best street food at night markets though this Taiwanese Food Guide. Chia̍h hok!
Known as the “Harajuku” of Taipei, this hippy shopping and food haven is one of the city’s culture centes, boasting an array of clothing shops, restaurants, clubs, and bars.
Journey Freaks’ trivia: The word Ximen (西門) stands for west gate, as the district is located by the historic western gate of the old Taipei City.
Must-try food/drinks in Ximending:
- Big Sausage Wrap Small Sausage (NT$70) – If you want a flavourful snack to start off your Taiwanese food adventure, then this one will surely delight your palate! You can choose from original and spicy flavor (we prefer the spicy one for a more level-up taste!)
- Taiwanese Dumplings (NT$35 for 7 pieces) – If you are looking for a light yet tasty snack you can devour these Taiwanese dumplings with a sweet soy sauce.
- Ay Chung Rice Noodles Mee Sua (NT$70 for Large, NT$50 for Small) –This place is already an institution at the Ximending food scene – and it’s for really a good reason! The serving size for Small bowl is already good for sharing. You can stop by the small station to add any combination of chili oil, puréed garlic, and vinegar to your soup
- Curry Fish Balls (NT$30 per stick) – These amazeballs are cooked in a scented curry sauce, mixed with the taste of sweet chili sauce, it is definitely a delicious food that you surely won’t want to stop eating.
- Scallion Pancake (price varies) – If you’re eyeing for a light and savory snack then this might fit your palate!
- Taiwanese popcorn chicken (NT$100) – This stall at Ximending (at the backside of Uniqlo) is quite popular as we had to line up for 5 minutes. We ordered a lemon pepper chicken popcorn and wow it is surprisingly good!
- Passionfruit tea from Good Tea (NT$100) If you are looking for a refreshing and cleanser palate in one, this drink will be your best bet!
- Brown sugar milk tea from Tiger Sugar (NT$55) – The best milk tea we’ve tried during our Taiwan trip!
Operation hours: 5:00 PM ~ 11:30 PM (applies only for the food stalls and shops)
How to get there:
- Take MRT (either Blue line or Green line) and alight at Ximen Station (BL11 or G12).
- Go to exit 6 towards Ximen Pedestrian Area.
SHILIN NIGHT MARKET
Shilin Night Market is tagged as one of the largest and most-touristy night markets amongst Taipei. Located in Taipei’s Shilin District, a mere short walks from MRT Jiantan Station (Red line) between Dadong Rd, Danan Rd, Wenlin Rd, and Jihe Rd. This night market boasts a maze of alleyways that is filled with a variety of local, traditional, and international merchandise.
Must-try food/drinks in Shilin Night Market:
- Fresh assorted fruits (price varies) – Taiwanese fruits are known to be delicious! We got custard apple (atis), mangoes, pineapples
- Castella sponge cake (NT$100) – This cake is definitely an eye-catcher! Castella cake is known to have a fluffy and moist texture, and an eggy flavour to it. It is best to eat hot, pair it down with either tea, milk tea or coffee.
Don’t miss this out…
If you’re looking for dumplings, noodles and more, head to Shilin Night Market’s basement foodcourt. This place is always packed with people ranging from locals to tourists.
- Dumplings (NT$70)
- Oyster omelette (NT$55)
- Candied strawberries/cherry tomatoes (NT$55/NT$35)
- Torched beef cubes (NT$100/NT$200) – The best street food we’ve tried around Taipei! Soft, juicy and flavorful beef cubes cooked to perfection.
- Journey Freaks’ tip: Buy torched beef cubes at Shilin for cheaper price, in Ximending they sell it on a higher price (NT$200/NT$300)
- Minty drink (NT$10) –If you are looking for a refreshing and cleanser palate in one, this drink will be your best bet!
- Deep fried milk (NT$20) – One of the unique finds in Taipei! We love that it is not too sweet.
If ever you get tired of eating, you can try playing to one of the many carnival games in Shilin Night Market! A lot of it may seem to be easy to play, but believe us when we say it’s not easy-peasy! Prepare to shell out around NT$100 per game.
Operation hours: 4:00 PM ~ 12:00 AM (applies only for the food stalls and shops)
How to get there:
- Take MRT (Red line) and alight at JianTan station (R15).
- Go to exit 1 towards Shilin Night Market.
RAOHE NIGHT MARKET
When visiting Taiwan, you shouldn’t miss out visiting one of the oldest night markets in Taipei. Raohe Street Night Market is a must visit destination and it boasts a long 600m path full of food, drinks and knick knacks!
Must-try food/drinks in Raohe Night Market:
- Fuzhou Black Pepper Bun (NT$50) – Juicy, flavorul and unique! They say that some of the best things in life doesn’t come easy… yes, you need to line up to get one of this!
- Grilled giant mushrooms (NT$100) – Healthy, light flavor (in a good way), one-of-a-kind!
- Journey Freaks’ tip: Be careful when adding chili pepper!
- Okonomiyaki at Fukushima Yaki (NT$100) – Tasted really good with wasabi, light in flavor but really filling!
- Takoyaki (NT$100) – IMHO, Pinoy version of Takoyaki is still better but Taiwanese takoyaki are still worth trying. Their takoyaki are on a not-simple side as they tend to add A LOT of extra ingredients, think of cheese!
- Fruit tea (Manuka honey with lemon) from O My Good (NT$120) – Refreshing, unique, palette cleanser!
- Xing Fu Tang Brown Sugar Boba Milk (NT$55) – One of the best brown sugar milk drink in Taipei! However, the size is quite smaller than of Tiger Sugar’s.
If you’re up for extreme Taiwanese food experience, you may try where the locals eat! Prepare your stomach to eat innards of chicken, pork and beef.
Bonus food guide: Zhongzheng District
- Lan Jia’s Gua Bao (NT$55) – This shop boasts delicious slab of tender pork, stuffed into a fluffy steamed bun. Their gua bao is the gold standard in all of Taipei city. What we like about their service is that customers can customize the filling from partial lean meat to fatty one.
- Chen San Ding’s Boba Milk (NT$40) – If you’re on the hunt for the best bubble drink in Taiwan, this shop must be your best bet! This popular shop prides their boba milk drink (yes, it is purely milk-based). Their shop is located right opposite Lan Jia Gua Bao.
Operation hours (Lan Jia Traditional Taiwanese Snack): 11:00 AM ~ 12:00 AM
Operation hours (Chen San Ding): 11:00 AM ~ 9:30 PM
How to get there:
- Take MRT (Green line) and alight at Gongguan (G07)
- Go to exit 4, walk straight and turn left at the second street/lane (Lane 316)
RECOMMENDED TAIWAN ACCOMMODATION:
If you’re still looking for a place to stay for your Taiwan trip, we highly-recommend Ximen Dreamhouse. This accommodation is nestled in Ximending, a popular spot for tourists.
- Not too expensive price range (accommodation budget per day PHP1500 – PHP1800)
- Private bathroom
- Near MRT station
- Not too compact space
- Near 24 hour convenience stores
- Near breakfast places
- Best value