Without a doubt, the most talked about nightmarket of Taiwan is ShiLin Night Market. It’s busy regardless of what day of the week it is, and can get very crowded. Here you can get your shop and your eats on with the wide variety of food offered. I go back to Taiwan first and foremost to eat, so I’m not too big on buying stuff. Heck, I planned entire days around eating when I was there last summer, looking up places and asking friends and relatives where I should eat. I am Taiwanese afterall, it’s in my blood to eat! :)
While I wish I could offer you a definitive guide for ShiLin, the fun is going there yourself and discovering and exploring it for yourself! It is definitely a MUST visit if you are in Taiwan, even if you’re a local.
The smaller red area is for tourists and is under cover and is mainly food stalls, and is visible right when you exit Jiantan MRT. See the picture below.
The bigger blue area is where I prefer to shop around, as it offers more people watching and is less crowded.
Don’t get confused and get off at Shilin MRT, it’s basically the end of the nightmarket and nothing is really there.
Now off to the “real” market!
Fresh fruits such as guava, pineapple and rose apple are freely available almost everywhere. Great local tropical and seasonal fruits.
水煎包 (Shui Jian Bao) or Pan Fried Soup Buns. For 10NT each! That comes to about $0.30 CDN each, (1CAD~30NTD)
This was the first thing we picked up to eat, cheap, filling and hot!
The juices inside were so scaldingly hot I burnt my tongue. Not a good way to start eating, but sooo worth it!
While eating, just soak in the atmosphere. It’s busy, messy, dirty, and packed. That’s a nightmarket for ya!
The biggest sausage I have ever seen. Never bought one, don’t think I would want to eat the entire thing by myself and no one wanted to share.
Seeing as it was our first night in Taiwan, I wanted to start it off with a bang. Real authentic stinky tofu on the streets of Taiwan! While I did indeed smell it, I couldn’t identify which cart it was coming from, so I was walking around looking for one of two things, 1. a deep fryer 2. the word 豆腐.
Success, here we have stinky tofu 臭豆腐 for 40NT. I can see Victor and Kevin in the back waiting while I ordered us two plates.
Stinky tofu can be eaten in different ways, and it’s usually prepared either steamed/stewed or fried. I much prefer the fried version, but the steamed/stewed version can be a hell of a lot stinkier. This one wasn’t really stinky..kind of like regular tofu. I know some people absolutely hate the smell of it, but once they get over their fears and try a bite of it, they don’t even taste it. I suppose you could say its bark is worse than its bite?
Finding alcohol in Taiwan was actually a little difficult. Finding beer was easy, they’re everywhere in the convenience stores but actual liquor stores weren’t as noticeable (+ the fact that we can’t read much Chinese..but I
can sure read the word for liquor!) so we were pretty surprised to find one close to us when we walked from our place to Shuanglian MRT station.
In Taiwan, the land of weird and wonderful food, you can even have frog juice!
Just joking, it’s 青蛙下蛋 Frogs Laying Eggs. Why the weird name? Well when the pearls are cooked, they tend to look exactly like frog eggs! They’ll add the pearls to any type of drink you want. My favorite to get is the 愛玉 Ai Yu, a jelly made from a fig. Lemon and honey is typically added and is great for cooling off during the day or even the hot muggy nights.
One thing you shouldn’t miss out on trying is the 士林豪大大鸡排 (Shi Lin Hao Da Da Ji Pai) Shilin XXL Fried Chicken. For only 50NT you can get this massive fried chicken steak. It definitely is a meal in itself, and I would advise sharing. It’s right beside the roti place picture below.
Edit: Found more pictures from subsequent visits to Shilin. I always find myself coming back here at least once every trip back to Taiwan.
Does anyone like these Taiwan posts I’m putting up? Let me know if you do!