My favourite night market in Taipei has got to be hands down Raohe St Night Market (it is situated near a wholesale shopping area Wufenpu). In fact, we made two seperate trips to visit the market cos there was just so much yummy good food. You might think how do two girls have so much stomach space for all the food below, no worries, it was not done at one go. The food consumed was the sum of our two trips - I just consolidated it all together. It was my second trip to Taiwan, so I mostly went for foods that I didn't try before, so I skipped dishes like 胡椒餅 (pepper meat bun) or 臭豆腐 (stinky tofu).
I have no idea what this is, but it was at the stall behind the okonomikayi stand, so we ordered it too as these were the first stalls we chanced upon at the market on our first trip (and we were super starving). It was not bad, tasted kind of like fishcakes smothered in a sweet sauce? (refer to below picture)
Crowds at the Night Market
Taiwan is famous for their 滷肉飯 (braised pork on rice), and there were several stalls at the Night Market that sold the dish (more as a side dish though). The stalls were actually selling soups - so we ordered a bowl of soup to share, and two bowls of rice. The rice bowls were teeny meeny, and the meat topping on it was so miniscule - about a tablespoon worth? We were all like, omg, the portion of meat topping is ridiculous. So we asked for more, saying we don't mind paying, the lady just gave us a weird look (Why? Was it strange to ask for more meat?) and proceeded to add just a teeny bit more of meat topping for us. Okay. Point taken. Apparantly, the meat topping proportion is just simply as it is. Sigh.
This stall was selling 雞腿捲 (chicken leg roll), there was a queue for it, and the grilled chicken smell was really enticing, so we queued up to buy one to share. There were several flavours you can choose from, original, spicy, pepper, curry, lemon and etc. Below, you see a row of uncooked chicken leg rolls, and the next, the chicken rolls browning nicely on the grill. The skin was really crispy and it made for a pretty good snack.
We spotted a 台灣香腸 (taiwanese sausage) stall, and my my, don't it look delicious? I don't normally eat these grilled sausages, but hey, I'm on vacation! Super yums, but not as yums as the one I had at 九份.
There was a stall selling fried mushrooms. And it was super addictive! Basically, you can choose what variety you want (we chose the mixed - oyster, enoki and button). The mushrooms were coated in a flour coating and deep fried, the stall owner then seasoned it liberally with a spice shaker. It tasted great when it was piping hot. Needless to say, our bag of mushrooms disappeared quite quickly.
Crowds at Raohe St Night Market
愛玉冰 (aiyu jelly)
After all that food, it would be great to grab some drinks to quench the thirst. Instead, we downed a bowl of yummy aiyu jelly. We actually revisited the stall again on our second trip to the Raohe St Night Market. The aiyu jelly is a jelly made from the gel from the seeds of a variety of fig (more details here). It's my first time having fresh aiyu, and I've never even seen what it is made of before (the fruit is actually the cone shaped seedy object in the above picture). There are actually seats at the stall we bought it from, and the second time we went, I saw that they had the option of adding tapioca pearls (otherwise known as the 珍珠 in bubble tea). We ordered our bowls with the pearls, and it tasted equally delicious. The lady adds in some lime juice before serving us, and you can actually ask for a little extra squirt of lime juice (it tastes better!).
You can't visit Taiwan without eating beef noodles. I first discovered this beef noodles store through online reviews, so I decided to find it when I was there. The Night Market is essentially a stretch of road, with various stalls in the middle. On both sides of the street, there are also shops that sell various food or knick knacks. This beef noodle store is actually on one side of the street (not the main market stretch).
The noodles were pretty decent, but of course, the Yong Kang St beef noodles win hands down (previously mentioned here). The broth here was lighter than the Yong Kang St one, I should say, slightly less flavourful?
Guavas, I love thee
This is a special type of guavas, found in Taiwan only (I think). The skin is smooth, and the meat is pink. It was sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo sweet. Yeah, I had to do the multiple 'o's to highlight how awesome it tasted. A must try imo if you are a guava lover. I actually really like eating guava, but I don't very often cos I only like my guavas a certain way - the outer layer should be still slighty crunchy, but the innards should be soft. And it's really hard to tell if most guavas are going to be how I like it, so I just skip eating it most of the time for fear of getting unripe guavas.
士林夜市 Shilin Night Market
We headed to Shilin Night Market quite late one of the nights, and the available food options were pretty meagre. Of course, first of all, we had the famous fried chicken. Where one serving is bigger than a person's face...
The Night Market food stalls have actually relocated underground (the last time I went in 2005, it was up in the open and it seemed more like a Night Market). As it was pretty late, most of the shops were not open, and only a few stalls were still serving customers. So, like I said, pretty limited choices to choose from. We decided to go for a fried oyster omelette and a bowl of shaved ice. Both which were pretty sub standard (me reckon). Perhaps it was the wrong time to visit, but I wasn't overtly impressed with the food at Shilin in general. And cos the place was underground, it felt quite stuffy and hot.
I definitely recommend Raohe St Night Market should you visit Taiwan. Shilin - my opinion is not fixed since it would be unfair to judge it based on only three dishes I tried. I mean, if it's your first time to Taiwan, go ahead and visit it since it's a famed Night Market and all, but cos I've already visited it twice, I doubt I'll pay it a third visit should I visit Taiwan again.
饒河街觀光夜市 Raohe St Night Market
Address: 台北市饒河街249號前 249 Raohe Street, Taipei
Opening Hours: 5pm - 12 midnight
Nearest Station: 後山埤 Houshanpi MRT Station
士林夜市 Shilin Night Market
Address: 台北市士林區 Shilin District, Taipei
Opening Hours: 5pm - 1am
Nearest Station: 劍潭 JianTan MRT Station(Exit 1)