Bright Lights, Steaming Soups & Lessons in Culture: Best Taipei Night Markets To Visit

Best Taipei Night Markets- Taste Taipei's best local food at Michelin-recommended food stalls and buy local crafts, souvenirs and fashion at cheap prices at the best night markets in Taipei. Taipei Night Markets| Night Markets in Taipei| Street food at Taipei Night Markets #Taipei #timeforTaiwan #Taipeitravel #nightmarkets #markets #streetfood

Come evening and ladles of thick steamy broth are poured over noodles, giant steaks of meat sizzle on a grill, and plump fish balls on sticks call out to the hungry and the restless in Taipei’s night markets that spring up around the city transforming it into a steamy, somewhat heady hotpot of sights, chatter, aromas and flavors, and the energy of (so many) visitors.

The night markets of Taipei are not only one of the most splendid aspects to the city’s culture, they’re also a vital part of Taipei’s ecosystem, with vendors who have spent their lives and generations of the same families, working together at the stalls at these markets.

Most of the night markets in Taipei came to exist organically, as more and more vendors began to set up shop close to temples in the 1950s, temples after all being centers that brought together people in the way of social life, sort of like European plazas and squares. It was here that vendors, who often came from surrounding villages, would serve up the dishes that had remained in their families for decades, to hungry city-dwellers, only to have now achieved legendary status with a firm place in the memories of many Taipei locals.

Every evening, both tourists and locals amble along narrow streets, scanning over the offerings of food stalls for a chance to partake in the city’s best culinary secrets, known only to the somewhat adventurous eater ready to take to the streets for good grub. Locals and tourists alike can be seated on plastic stools, slurping, sipping, and chatting in these pockets filled to the brim with insights into daily life.

At the many night markets in Taipei, you’ll find the best food in the city; Taipei’s finest cuisine is often not at its high-end restaurants, but hidden away in its traditional, cheap, and exciting night markets, where you can feast like a king for a very affordable price. These markets are bursting with culinary delights- think soft oyster omelettes and steamed pork belly sandwiches, and pineapple cake and mochi on ice. In fact, several of Taipei’s food stalls located in the city’s night markets have been recognized in the Michelin Guide Taipei 2019 edition, and if you’re a foodie visiting Taipei, it’s totally worth it to make a Taipei night market itinerary around visiting these stalls.

 

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Oyster omelette being prepared. Photo by Prince Roy via Flickr

 

Of course if food isn’t the only thing on your radar, at Taipei’s night markets you can also shop for clothing and accessories, and local crafts and souvenirs, and all manner of things you did not know you needed. So the best night market in Taipei really then, depends on the sort of vibe you’re after and whether you’re visiting mainly to eat, shop or just wander around the biggest area possible.

Visiting a night market in Taipei is one of the coolest, quintessentially Taipei things to do in the city once the sun goes down. They’re a pleasure to wander and explore, for the food, shopping and the general vibe. If you’re traveling around Taiwan, you should check out my Taiwan itinerary for a week to see some of the best spots around the country, from mountains to the legendary Taiwan Lantern Festival and more. 

Here are the 12 best night markets in Taipei.

Best Night Markets in Taipei & How to Get There

Map of the Best Night Markets in Taipei


 

Ningxia Night Market: Best Reasonably-Sized Taipei Night Market for Food

A firm favorite among locals, Ningxia Night Market is a smaller night market that is easily accessible and a manageable size if you want to try the night market experience without getting lost within a maze of stalls. Near the historic Dadaocheng area, Ningxia Night Market is actually spread along a single street. In fact, walking down the empty road in the day, you’ll have no hint of the magical transformation that takes place by night.

 

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Ningxia Night Market Photo by llee_wu via Flickr

 

Although smaller, it’s actually one of the best night markets in the city in terms of food. You can try most Taiwanese delicacies here including the amazing oyster omelette, pork liver balls, chicken rice, and indulgent deep fried taro balls. One of the most famous food stalls here is the Michelin-recognized Liu Yu Zai (you can probably tell by the queue) and the thing to try here is the deep-fried taro balls, also stuffed with salted egg and pork. Also try the shredded chicken on rice at Fang Chia.

If you’re curious about what else to try at the Ningxia Night Market, here is a post about what to eat in Ningxia. Alternatively, take a tour of the Ningxia Night Market with a local so you don’t miss out on the must-try dishes here.

How to get there: Closest stops are Shuanglian MRT and Zhongshan MRT. Take exit 1 from Shuanglian MRT station, turn left and keep walking until you reach Ningxia Road on your left. Ningxia night market is open between 6pm-12am daily.

Location on Google Maps: Ningxia Night Market

 

 

Shilin Night Market: Best Taipei Night Market for Tourists

If you ask around about that one night market in Taipei that you should visit, most people will tell you to visit Shilin Night Market. It’s one of the largest in the city and has become a hub for visitors looking to enjoy exciting Taipei’s nightlife.

One of the benefits of visiting Shilin Night Market is that you can buy all of your souvenirs and also enjoy hundreds of stalls of great food at the same time. You’ll find stalls selling clothes, accessories, purses, local crafts and lots of general cutesy things that are popular all over East Asia, like plushies and various items with K-pop stars emblazoned across them. You’ll also find game booths here- they’re something of a craze in this part of the world.

 

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Shilin Night Market Photo by Eduardo M.C. via Flickr

 

Make sure you set aside enough time and keep an empty stomach to explore this beast of a market. There’s lots to sample here- oyster omelettes, stinky tofu, pork buns, fish balls, fried chicken steaks, massive pork sausages, bubble tea, and other delicacies. Don’t forget to eat at the original Hot Star Fried Chicken, a wildly popular Taiwanese fried chicken chain that is now seen all around the country but started off here. Wondering what else there is to eat here? Check out this post about the food at Shilin Night Market.

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Hot star fried chicken Photo by Soon Koon via Flickr

If you’re not sure about navigating menus and the food stalls on your own, consider taking a food tour of the Shilin Night Market so you don’t miss the best eats.

Pro tip: If you’re traveling in the summer and need a break from the heat, you’ll also find an underground air-conditioned food court attached to the market.

How to get there: Take exit 1 from Jiantan Station MRT (not Shilin Station) and cross the street diagonally to find the entrance to the market. It’s between Dadong Road and Danan Road. Shilin night market is open 4pm-12am during the week and 3pm-12am on the weekend.

Location on Google Maps: Shilin Night Market

Huaxi Street Night Market

One of the most convenient night markets to explore in Taipei is the Huaxi Street Night Market, thanks to its location in the Bopiliao Historical area right next to the gorgeous Longshan Temple, that you’ll likely visit when in Taipei. Huaxi Night Market is open from 4pm but it majorly livens up a bit later, around 8pm. The area used to be a red light district but today is a legit night market.

It was one of the first markets opened for tourists but thankfully it’s just as authentic as any other- in fact, many businesses here are historical- having been passed down through the generations- think traditional crafts, bookstores, herbal cures, foot massage spas and more.

 

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Huaxi Night Market Photo by Larry Koester via Flickr

 

It’s actually one of the best spots for seafood (such as squid soup) and the only place you can try lesser-eaten dishes such as snake soup, which is why it’s sometimes known as ‘snake alley’. If you’d rather not, then a place that might be better suited is the famous Danzai noodle shop located here.

How to get there: Take exit 1 from Longshan Temple Station on the MRT, you can find it just west of the temple. It’s marked by traditional red gates and red Chinese lanterns can be seen along the street, so you’ll have no problem seeing when you’ve arrived.

Location on Google Maps: Huaxi Street Night Market

 

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Linjiang Street Night Market (Tonghua Night Market)

Just around the corner from the Taipei 101 and its hyper-modern and fashionable district, where you wouldn’t expect to find an authentic market experience such as Linjiang Street Night Market- but hey this is Taipei and anything is possible.

What I love about Linjiang is that it’s generally frequented by locals and expats who live nearby, so you’re not going to get crushed in the same way you will at Shilin Night Market. It’s located in a residential area but there are over 200 stalls- from those selling clothes and accessories to some of the best food stalls in the city, so you have plenty to do and eat here. The vibe here is less touristy and more relaxed, so if you’re into that kind of thing, you’ll prefer this market.

 

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Linjiang Night Market Photo by ironypoisoning via Flickr

 

Some things to eat here are the oyster omelettes, oyster noodles, big sausages, stewed meats, noodle soup, pork knuckle noodles, steam fried buns, egg tarts, gua bao (Chinese burgers) and other snacks. If you’d rather have a street food itinerary for Linjiang Street Market, this post won’t disappoint. If you’d like to seek out some Michelin-recognized eateries here, head to Liang’s braised snacks, Hunghua Spicy Salt-water Chicken, and Luo’s stir fries (where you can try stir-fried snails, among other meats).

If you’re looking to try the delicacy ‘stinky tofu’ then Linjiang is a perfect place to do it. There are an abundance of stalls selling the divisive snack but the most delicious I’ve tried is at Ya Kou in the center of the market.

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stinky tofu in the making. Photo by eazytraveler via Flickr

How to get there:  Take exit 3 at Xinye Anhe MRT station and walk towards the Taipei 101 building. Turn right when you reach Tonghua Street. The market is open from 6pm to 2am.

Location on Google Maps: Linjiang Street Night Market

Gongguan Night Market

In general, Taipei’s night markets are where you go for cheap eats in the city. You can spend the equivalent of five dollars and come out absolutely stuffed but if you’re looking for an even cheaper night market experience then Gongguan Night Market is the one to go for.

It’s located right next to the National Taiwan University so most of the regulars are students. This not only gives it a youthful vibe but also super cheap prices. You’ll find everything from clothes, accessories, shoes and bookstores to tea stalls.

 

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Gongguan Night Market Photo by Mannyeong Lee via Flickr

 

There’s a lot to eat here- from noodle soups, bean curd dessert, pancakes, fried chicken, and pork buns to gua bao and bubble tea. One of the most unusual things you can try at this market is pig’s blood cake, a combination of pig’s blood, sticky rice and soy on a stick.

 

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Blood cake Photo by Ruocaled via Flickr

 

How to get there: Take the MRT to Gongguan MRT station and you’ll find the market right next door. You’re also very close to Ningxia market if you fancy comparing the two. Gongguan is open from 3pm – 11:45pm.

Location on Google Maps: Gongguan Night Market

Raohe Night Market: Best Taipei Night Market If You’re Short on Time

Raohe Night Market is alive with an electric atmosphere for six hours, from 6pm to midnight. It’s a unique market, among the oldest in Taipei, spread over just 600m that has a range of great food options but it also has shopping options, too, and even carnival games!

This means visiting Raohe Night Market is like going to the carnival all year round. It’s an old, old market that’s a staple of its district, a treasured part of the local tradition. And at the end of the market beside Songshan Station is Ciyou Temple, which has stood proud since the Qing Dynasty. You’ll find plenty of local crafts here, so if you want to take home a handmade souvenir from Taipei, this is a good place to buy it.

 

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Raohe Night Market Photo by a.canvas.of.light via Flickr

 

Some things to try here are pepper meat buns, pork ribs soup, stinky tofu, grilled squid, xiaolongbao, fried chicken, and custard pancakes. For pork pepper buns, head to Fuzhou Shizu Black Pepper Buns- they’re quite famous. Here you can know more about the Michelin-recommended places to eat in Raohe Night Market. Mark Wiens, who in my opinion is among the world’s top food travel bloggers (if not the best one- okay, he is totally the best), wrote about his experience of eating around the Raohe Night Market, and you can check it out here.

 

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Eat your way around. Photo by Larry Koester via Flickr

 

How to get there: Take the MRT to Songshan station and you’ll see Ciyou Temple marking the start of the market. Visit any time between 6pm and 12am.

Location on Google Maps: Raohe Night Market

Liaoning Street Night Market

Liaoning Street Night Market in Zhongshan District, is one of the smaller night markets in Taipei, but that just means that it’s easy to navigate this market that sees few tourists. It’s still a fun, lively experience where people are always on the same page, buzzing off the atmosphere of the food, crowd and conversation.

 

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Liaoning Night Market Photo by Keith Lang via Flickr

 

Like most night markets in Taipei, this one too was not designed, but rather sprung up and expanded naturally. Locals would come to the Fuju Temple in the vicinity and vendors saw an opportunity to feed the temple-goers. Eventually enough vendors transformed the space into a market. Because it’s a little smaller, Liaoning Night Market is a little easier to explore than many others.

Liaoning Night Market is not so much for shopping (there are better night markets for that) as much as it is about eating. Try the usual night market fare here- oyster omelettes, squid, noodle soups, stinky tofu, stir-fried seafood and more.

How to get there: Take the MRT to Nanjing Fuxing Station and walk south for two blocks. Turn right and the market is on Liaoning Street. You’ll find vendors there from noon to midnight.

Location on Google Maps: Liaoning Street Night Market

Yansan Night Market: Best Taipei Night Market for an Authentic Food Experience

Yansan Night Market is one of the lesser-known night markets in Taipei. It’s something of as a local secret, and you won’t find a whole lot of tourists here (coz they’re all hanging out at Shilin Night Market), just locals out and about for a bite and enjoying the most traditional of local delicacies in a no-frills setting.

 

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Street food in Taipei

 

Many of the stalls here are family-owned – they’re the livelihoods of these local families, and they’ve been passed down through the generations with closely-guarded family recipes- so they’ve got a lot of history attached. They’re the kind of places that evoke nostalgia in the locals who have been visiting them for decades. This is a market that caters mainly to locals, not tourists, so don’t expect theatrical food flipping and what not, just no-nonsense, really good food being enjoyed and taken away by locals getting home after work.

This is definitely the best of Taipei’s night markets for tradition and quality local dishes- think that good ol’ stinky tofu, gua bao (steamed sandwiches), squid soup, fried noodles, braised beef noodle soup, smoked shark, and mochi on shaved ice.

How to get there: Take the MRT to Daqiaotou Station and walk west towards Taipei Bridge for a single block. The market begins on your right. You can also get a view of the market in full flow from atop the bridge.

Location on Google Maps: Yansan Night Market

Miaokou Night Market

Although Miaokou Night Market (also known as Keelung Night Market) is actually found on the very edge of Taipei, just beyond New Taipei City, it gained quite a bit of international fame when beloved chef and TV host Anthony Bourdain visited and ate there. It’s a simple, traditional market of local delicacies, such as fresh seafood, and is located just by Keelung Harbour.

This market too is mainly about eating your way around its streets, or should be at least, given how much variety there is and how easy it is on the pocket. Try the thick crab soup, fried sandwiches, and PaoPao shaved ice.

 

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xiaolongbao dumplings Photo by Alpha via Flickr

 

How to get there: Take the MRT to Songshan Station. From there, get the Tze-Chiang Express train to Badu Station and switch to the Fuxing Shuttle that will take you straight to the market. The entire journey will take you just 40 minutes.

Location on Google Maps: Keelung Night Market

Shida Night Market: Best Night Market in Taipei for Shopping Clothes

Shida Night Market is one of the more trendy night markets and is popular with the hipster crowd and university students of Taipei. In fact, it’s named after the National Taiwan Normal University, abbreviated in Mandarin as shida. You can find it in the Da’an district, which is one of the more artistic neighborhoods, and the market definitely reflects this vibe. Since this market caters mainly to young students, prices are way more reasonable than what you’d find at other more touristy night markets like Shilin Night Market.

Once a sprawling market that seemed like it was always expanding, this market was contained into a smaller area- this means that it’s actually easier to browse now and walk around without feeling exhausted.

 

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You’ll be able to buy local handmade pieces and find a great selection of cheap boutique style clothing. If you’re after some local fashion on a budget – think young Taiwanese designers just starting out, or if you’re looking to go clothes, bags, shoes or accessories shopping at a night market, Shida Night Market is the one you should head to.

Of course, there’s still a lot of food too although it’s not the main draw at this market. Still, if you find yourself accompanying someone who is there for the clothes, while you have no interest in that, then there’s enough of things to eat here to keep you busy for a while, from falafels and crepes to local delicacies like luwei (noodle soups with vegetables that you can pick) and pineapple buns.

How to get there: Exit from Taipower Building MRT station.

Location on Google Maps: Shida Night Market

Nanjichang Night Market

A local market with more than its fair share of Michelin-star stalls, Nanjichang Night Market is well worth a visit. You can actually find Nanjichang open in the day if you’re short on time and want to browse some delicious food stalls.

This is a firm favorite with local foodies and you’ll rarely find tourists venturing this way. One of the (many) must-tries in Nanjichang is Nan Sesame Oil Chicken. It’s well worth waiting through the long lines you’ll find at this award-winning stall as you’ll forget your wait the moment you try the steaming sesame oil chicken soup.

 

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stinky tofu Photo by Yun Huang Yong via Flickr

 

Another recommendation here is Yummy Fried Chicken for crispy and delicious fried chicken. To eat at a Michelin-recognized stall, head to Sung Ching Taiwanese Burrito for popiah rolls of bean sprouts, shredded carrots and radish, and fried pork. Around the market you’ll also find fish ball soup noodles, pigs blood cake, oyster cakes, dumplings, stinky tofu, meatballs, and pork pepper buns.

How to get there: The market is a 15- minute walk from Xiaonanmen MRT station or a 20- minute walk from Longshan Temple station.

Location on Google Maps: Nanjichang Night Market

Guangzhou/ Wuzhou Street Night Market

If you fancy two night markets in one then Wuzhou street market is just north and joined to Guangzhou Street Night Market. You’ll find fantastic seafood here and it’s an ideal place to pull up a chair, eat and drink merrily with the locals.

 

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street food in Taipei Photo by Guillaume Paumier via Flickr

 

It’s also near to Longshan temple and ideal if you want a very local vibe but you don’t have the time to go seeking out some of the smaller markets in other areas. You’ll find great food and games here, but for clothing you’ll want to head elsewhere.

How to get there: Take exit 1 at Longshan Temple and head west.

Location on Google Maps: Guangzhou Street Night Market

Best Night Market In Taipei for Food: Ningxia Night Market

It may not be the most traditional, or nestled beside a temple, but Ningxia Night Market is the ultimate foodie’s dream and possibly the best night market in Taipei for food. It’s a perfectly sized night market that is lined with some of the very best street vendors in Taipei.

 

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Ningxia Night Market Photo by LWYang via Flickr

 

Blending cuisines from China, Taiwan, and Japan together to create a perfect hub of the finest street food cuisine in East Asia, you’re sure to leave with a full belly. There’s no finer selection of food all in one place across the entire city. To make sure that you don’t miss out on any of the must-try dishes, take a food tour of the Ningxia Night Market with a local.

Best Night Market In Taipei For Shopping: Shida Night Market 

Much like boutique shops in the artsy districts of European cities which sell the arts and crafts of local designers, Shida Night Market is filled with stalls doing the same. Shida Night Market is the best night market in Taipei for clothes shopping. The stalls in this market offer some truly unique clothes, accessories and crafts made by young Taiwanese designers.

 


 

General Tips For Visiting Night Markets

  1. Make sure to bring plenty of cash (especially small change) since vendors don’t accept card payments and also because you’ll be visiting a lot of stalls.
  2. Don’t fill up at one stall. Take your time, sample things, have a bite here and there. There’s so much to experience-so savor it and take it slow. Always come hungry!
  3. Get used to walking and eating. There are often free seating areas to settle down and enjoy your food, but if they’re busy you may have to walk and eat.

Additional Reading

How to Spend a Week in Taiwan: An 8-day Taiwan Itinerary

 

Have you visited a night market in Taipei? Which one was your favorite? Let me know in the comments below.

 This post was written by guest contributor Jessica Esa.

Author Bio: Jessica is a travel writer and blogger from the UK, she splits her time between East Asia and Europe and writes about the wonderful things she sees and learns there. She manages her blog Books and Bao with her partner. 

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