You can’t travel to Taiwan and not visit a night market at least once. It is a unique experience in itself… the smells, the tastes, the sights… Let yourself be taken by all of these.

Common Taiwanese snacks are found everywhere but the ones at Taiwan night markets are special. Each roots from a point in history, a strand of culture, and the heart of tradition. We compiled the must-see markets in Taiwan so you can plan your visit next time you fly over there.

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5 Of Taiwan’s Best Night Markets

History of Taiwan Night Markets

Night markets in Taiwan date back to the Tang Dynasty. Vendors, then, would gather around temples or along streets to sell herbal medicine, handicrafts, and xiaochi, a traditional Taiwanese street food.

As migrants came, xiaochi attracted a larger customer base.

The development and modernization of market stalls happened in no time since many people began to come to markets at night. These days Taiwanese night markets are written and recognized as tourists spots and pop culture symbols.

How Are Taiwan Night Markets Like?

Crowded. Taiwanese people fancy waiting in line for food and drinks with a good reputation. There’s even an expression used to describe their local night markets: re nao – which literally translates to hot and noisy.

Enough introduction. Let’s get to the main dish. Here are the famous night markets in Taipei, Kaohsiung and beyond.

1. Shilin Night Market

shilin night market
Photo by travelwayoflife on Flickr

Shilin Night Market is considered to be the king of all local markets in Taiwan. It’s the biggest and most visited one.

It’s fun, theme park-like ambience makes it popular among the youth. There are lots of trendy clothing stores, cafes, bowling alleys (Yes! This ain’t your ordinary night market.), and cinemas.

Must-visit stalls:

  • The air-conditioned underground food court is a must-visit during summer. Go to the Western border of the night market then, take the first road going in.
  • Hai You Pork Ribs is a Michelin Star awardee.
  • Tiger Sugar Bubble Tea well represents the homeland of bubble teas all over the world.
shilin taiwan
Photo by Khairil Yusof on Flickr

Foods to try:

  • Pen*s waffle (Not sure if this is still around, but it sure made a buzz years ago.)
  • Pig’s blood cake
  • Oyster mee sua vermicelli
  • Peanut brittle ice cream wrap with cilantro
  • Taro-pineapple ice cream wrap
  • Hot Star fried chicken chop
  • Flame-torched beef

Access: Take the MRT to Jiantan Station (Red Line, Exit 1). Cross the street diagonally to the left.

Address: 101 Jihe Road, Shilin District, Taipei City

Operating Hours: 3 pm – 1 or 2 am, daily

2. Raohe Night Market

raohe night market
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

For a great all-around experience (and not as crowded as Shilin Night Market but still crowded), visit Raohe Night Market. It’s located in Taipei, too.

Must-visit stalls:

  • Chen Dong Ribs Stewed in Medicinal Herbs is on the Michelin Taipei Night Market Bib Gourmand List.
  • Fuzhou Shizu Black Pepper Buns is a must-see if you like meat buns and if you want to witness some serious Taiwanese food prep showmanship. This, too, is on the Michelin Taipei Night Market Bib Gourmand List.
  • Shi Boss Spicy Tofu sells stinky tofu with duck blood curds, soup and fried.
  • The Songshan Ci You Temple is a site dedicated to Matsu, the goddess of the sea. Go to the roof!
  • The Rainbow Bridge lights up in ROYGBIV at night.
raohe taiwan
Photo by Larry Koester on Flickr

Foods to try:

  • Fish stew
  • Tian bu la or Taiwanese tempura
  • Mik tea (coz, duh!)
  • Oyster omelette
  • Flame-torched beef

Access: Take the MRT to Songshan Station (Green Line, Exit 5). Take the entrance across the street next to the Songshan Ci You Temple.

Address: Raohe Street, Songshan District, Taipei City

Operating Hours: 4 pm -12 am, daily

3. Nanjichang Night Market

Nanjichang Night Market
Photo by Ken Marshall on Flickr

Most food and travel bloggers would say this is “the one”. Nanjichang night market is Taiwan’s most “local” night market.

This night market gained its name from its location which is right beside a military airport during the Japanese era. “Nanjichang” means “South Airport”.

Nanjichang Night Market is open during the day, too, but the real market scene begins at around 5 pm.

Must-visit stalls:

  • Shanghai Shui Jian Bao sells yummy fried buns.
  • Keelung Tianbula has the best tian bu la, the Taiwanese version of Japanese Oden.
  • Smelly Boss serves Michelin quality stinky tofu soup topped with fresh Asian basil, mushrooms, and ginger.
  • Yummy Chicken sells Taiwanese style fried chicken fillet.
  • People line up at A Nan Sesame Oil Chicken, another Michelin recognized night market vendor.

Foods to try:

  • Shaobing (a crispy, sugar-filled pastry)
  • Fried oyster ball
  • Dumplings
  • Taro shaved ice
  • Lu rou fan or braised pork rice
  • Tong zai mi gao or sticky rice mold with sweet sauce, pork, mushrooms, and cilantro

Access: Take the MRT to Xiaonanmen. The market is a 15-minute walk away via the Taipei Botanical Garden. You can also take the MRT to Longshan Temple MRT and walk for about 20 minutes from there.

Address: Lane 307, Section 2, Zhonghua Road, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City

Operating Hours: 6 pm – 12 am, daily

4. Liuhe Tourist Night Market

Liuhe Tourist Night Market
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

For a more relaxed night atmosphere, go to Liuhe Tourist Night Market in Kaohsiung City. The walking path is wider compared to the other night markets. There are rubbish bins (apparently, there aren’t any in the others).

Liuhe Tourist Night Market used to be called Dagangpu Night Market in the 1950s when it first opened.

There aren’t as many or Michelin recognized stalls here, unlike in other Taiwan night markets, but I thought I should throw in a “chill” option in the mix – just in case, you’re one who hates crowds.

liuhe taiwan
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Foods to try:

  • Papaya milk
  • Sour and spicy udon-like noodles with pork, scallions, and peanuts
  • Seafood

Access: Take the MRT to Formosa Blvd. Station (Red or Orange Line, Exit 1). Walk straight on Zhongshanheng Road. Turn right on Zhongzhengsi Road. Turn left on Liuhe 2nd Road.

Address: Liuhe 2nd Road, Xinxing District, Kaohsiung City

Operating Hours: 6 pm – 2 am, daily

5. Ningxia Night Market

Ningxia Night Market
Photo by Felix Filnkoessl on Flickr

Ningxia Night Market is a good choice for an easy, quick Taiwan night market experience. There are two rows of stalls kind of crammed together in a single road.

Though it can get bumpy while walking, this is a good spot if you’re travelling with kids. The southern area offers activities for children like balloon darts.

If you’d rather be guided around, the Ningxia Night Market Tour could be your option.

Must-visit stalls:

  • Liu Yu Zai creates a line even before its operating hours. It offers Michelin recognized deep-fried taro balls. There are two kinds: taro only balls and taro balls with salted egg topped with pork floss.
  • Rong’s Pork Liver sells Michelin recognized pork liver soup.
  • Huan Ji Sesame Oil Chicken, which began in 1941, serves local chicken dish and mee sua.
  • Beer Ammo offers over 300 craft beers, including some from Belgium.
  • Lai Ji Oyster Omelet, Yuan Huan Bian Oyster Omelet, and Oyster Omelet Da Wang all offer the savory local favorite.
ningxia taiwan
Photo by Felix Filnkoessl on Flickr

Foods to try:

  • Deep fried oyster, shrimp, and egg balls
  • Taro balls stuffed with custard
  • Traditional mochi balls covered in peanut butter or sesame seed or served on shaved ice and condensed milk (yum!)

Access: Take the MRT to Zhongshan station. This is 10 minutes from the south end of Ningxia Night Market. You can also get off at Shuanglian station and walk to the north end. You can also head to Daqiaotou Station (via the Yellow Line) and walk for 10 to 15 minutes from there to the market area.

Each region in Taiwan has its own specialities that tell the stories of its people. Its night markets add a new perspective to your visit. Complete your trip by taking the time to explore one (or more!).

Which Taiwan night market are you visiting next? Let’s talk about food and travel in the comments below!

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