Between 南京路 and 民生西路 (on Ningxia Road, between Nanjing Rd and Minsheng Rd West)
How to get there: Bus or subway with a good deal of walking, or taxi. For where we stayed in Taipei, taxi was the most convenient, and it wasn’t too expensive from where we were.
General comments: This rates as one of my top 3 favorite night markets out of the 7 we visited during our time in Taiwan. I’m sad and sorry I didn’t get any pictures here…maybe it was too exciting and I was too busy stuffing my face that I forgot?! Everything we got was tasty, but here are the two 2 most memorable ones:
–Mochi shaved ice at 林記燒麻糬 – Big mochi (un-filled; just the chewy part) on a mountain of shaved ice, covered with ground peanuts and sugar on one side, and black sesame powder and sugar on the other. Have someone save a table while someone else orders. It is crowded but so worth the wait! (The line moves rather quickly).
-Fan tuan （Taiwanese rice roll) from 阿婆飯糰- Sticky rice filled with a crunchy Chinese donut stick, plus other goodies. Click for someone else’s pictures. The Chinese donut/cruller/you tiao was amazingly crunchy, the rice was piping hot, and the fillings were made with care.
Hu Jiao Bing , Cong Hua Shao Bing
(Peppery Pork Bread/Bun & Flaky Scallion Bread )
Tonghua St, Alley 171, #4, Taipei
How to get there: MRT Brown Line- get off at the Liuzhangli stop, and it is only a few minutes’ walk. On the way, you’ll pass a park, which would be a great spot to enjoy your food. There is also a traditional wet market a few blocks away (anyone on the street should be able to point you in the right direction), so you can explore that, too.
My aunt Cynthia first told me about her favorite Taiwan snack of hu jiao bing, and after I had my first one on my first trip to Taiwan in 2005, I could easily see why !
What is hu jiao bing? Hu jiao means pepper, so it is translated as pepper bread. Think of seasoned peppery pork and bunches of fresh scallion, wrapped in a thin sesame-encrusted dough that is crusty outside and has a thin layer of soft dough inside. This stuff is bursting with juice, so to make sure the juices don’t all leak out, make sure you eat it with the flat side on top and round side on the bottom (a tip from the owners).
This is literally a little space on the side of the road. Get your food and bring it to eat at the park nearby! It is piping hot out of the stove, so no need to worry about the food getting cold..This mother and son have been in business for over 20 years (I presume the father passed away)..they told us that they used to own a bigger space, but they were too busy to enjoy it, so they downsized.
They make fresh batches continuously until they sell out for the day. When we were there the second time, they had just run out of the batch and were making more. We killed some time at the nearby open market, and returned just in time for more fresh ones.While we were there, a taxi driver passed by to check if there were any hu jiao bing, and they said that they were still cooking. A retired chef on scooter (with bags of groceries hanging on the handles) also passed by to get some goodies as well.
Keelung Night Market
Rensan Rd., Ren’ai District, Keelung City 200, Taiwan
How to get there: The night market is very close to the train station, so, you can take the train (Taipei Railway Administration (臺鐵) ) or take a shuttle bus. We took the train there, but since there were no tickets available for the return trip, we took Guo Guang (國光) and it was very affordable.
Overall comments: There was not much we didn’t like here; we had some gua bao that were only okay to us, but everything after that was pretty much delicious!
As for other food we had here, nothing else we had seen here was different than what we had seen at other night markets, so I didn’t feel compelled to take many pictures, much to my dismay as I write this. We got:-冬瓜茶 (dong gua cha) – Winter melon tea. Made from winter melon that is cooked with sugar for a looong time. Makes a very refreshing and perfectly sweetened drink, once after which you won’t need to gulp water to down the sugaryness.-香腸 (xiang chang) – Sausage. The ones we had were minis, which meant more chewy ends! They were rather expensive and I think the small size was definitely a marketing tactic, but they were still good.
-甜不辣，芋頭餅，杏鮑菇 (tian bu la, yu tou bing, xing bao gu)- Tempura, taro cake, and king oyster mushroom- There are several what should I call them…frying booths? There is a variety of goodies that you can point to, and the vendor will fry them up. We loved all three of these at the frying booth we passed.
-花生卷+冰淇淋 (hua sheng juan + bing qi lin) – Peanut Candy Roll + ice cream- No night market trip was complete without one of these, at least not for Tim. The one we had at Keelung was hands down, the best we had. There was only vendor selling these- a very old kindly man ! He used very thin and delicate spring roll sheets as the base of the roll. Once again, the peanut candy was in a huge block, and the old man shaved and shaved the candy until there was a huge mound of peanut candy shavings. Then, after spreading the peanut candy on the spring roll sheets, he reached into the metal cylindrical container and scooped out 3 flavors of ‘ice cream’ (no dairy, so technically sorbet): Taro, peanut, and pineapple. For the cool kids other than Tim, the old man sprinkled cilantro atop the ice cream, before rolling it up. For Tim, cilantro was no where to be seen. Each bite was bursting with peanut candy and creamy sorbet…the spring roll was tender with only a slight chew to it. At 30 NT ($1 USD), this was definitely a steal.
– 邢記鼎邊趖 -The best! Their signature dish is Gotta get dingbiancuo (鼎邊錯）and luroufan. Dingbiancuo is like rice noodles on crack. It is super chewy sheets of rice noodle, submerged in an amazingly delicious and refreshing broth with shrimp paste, napa cabbage, and garnished with Taiwanese celery stems and fried shallots. The dingbiancuo does not look like much in the picture, nor the lu rou fan, but their flavors and complexity are out of this world! Get both. For sure. We (Jenny, Kenny, Tim, and me) had decided that we would share everything at the night market so that we could try as many different things as possible. This ding bian cuo place was one of the first places we stopped at, and it took self control to move onto other vendors. We were still a little hungry at the end of the night, so we came back to this place for round 2 of eating. Their Lu rou fan was so good that after the first shared bowl, we asked for more! By that time, the boss didn’t have any rice left, so he ended up ‘borrowing’ rice from a nearby vendor. Hilarious!
“Big, Fat, Live Seafood” (Fishing dock)
Guanhai Rd, #37-1, Tamsui District, Taipei
How to get there: Sorry, folks, I think you’ll need to drive here..
My mom’s childhood friend, Wang ShuShu, took us to an amazing seafood restaurant. You order by picking whatever seafood looks good to you. They’ll grab some from the tanks, then cook the food however you want it. There’s no English name for this restaurant, but just look for it- there should also be employees with flashlights trying to direct you to park 🙂 If it is available, make sure to ask for the shansu. Shan su is a wild mountain vegetable that is crunchy and has a great texture that holds up to stir-frying. Everything we got was delicious and tasted like it was swimming not too long ago! Something that was neat was that we ordered a whole fish, and they used part of it to make sashimi, and the rest to make a yummy soup. Mr. ABC Chef downed the sashimi almost all by himself. o_O
Because we sat outside and it was so dark, I had to use flash on all the pictures…sorry! 🙁
士林區, 台北市 111, Taiwan
Shilin Night Market
Jihe Rd, #101
Shilin District, Taipei 111, Taiwan
How to get there: Take the MRT Red line to Jiantan station, then walk.
Shilin is really popular and probably one of the best known night markets. But….we didn’t like it that much. I got a papaya milk that was 90% milk, and Mr. ABC Chef said that the airsoft stands were really expensive. We went after dinner at the seafood place and were already stuffed,so we weren’t looking for savory foods, but the very sub-par papaya milk left a really strong and bad impression on me!
We did, however, love this juice they had. We saw it all the night markets in Taiwan, and finally decided to try it here. I never did find out exactly what it’s made from, but the fruits all have green skin. The juice is citrusy, a little sour and a little sweet, cold, and very refreshing! The stand reads “Kumquat lemon,” but I remember seeing key-lime looking fruits, and the green-skinned gold fleshed oranges around the stand. There were two competing stands right across from another; they let us sample a little before committing to buying, and the vendors can adjust the sweet/tart level for you. The stand with the youngins had juice that just tasted like sugary with a little of citrus! The stand with the older lady (in blue, below, who didn’t want to be in the photo..) had juice that we loved and thought was a perfect balance of sweet and tart and citrus.
Roosevelt Blvd, Section 1, No. 8
Across from Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall
7 AM-6 PM, closed on MONDAYS.
How to get there: Take the MRT Red line to Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall, and it is barely a walk from the station.
This is a cook and food lover’s paradise. My grandma loves it here. My mom loves it here. I loved it here! For dried goods like dried scallops, dried longans that are super sweet, dried anything…find the store that is owned by the father and son. Their store is near a bunch of beef and pork jerky vendors. They are so kind and their goods are puopuo (grandma) approved. If there’s any cooking ingredients you are looking to bring back to the US, you can find it here. Just make sure it’s not on a banned list of items for customs…
Right next to Nanmen Market, this is a great place to go eat lunch before/after shopping. We got 鳳梨苦瓜雞 (Pineapple, bitter melon, chicken soup)， 空肉飯 (Pork belly rice)，and 肉羹 (Pork vermicelli with a thick yummy soup ) and liked all of it. There is no English on the menu..sorry! You can always get 魯肉飯 (lu rou fan), which is in their store title..Or, you can point and see what you get 😉
An Dong Street, No. 50-1
How to get there: This is a short walk from the MRT Zhongxiao Fuxing stop.
We found this unassuming mom and pop shop when we decided to adventure out around the east side of Taipei..we came back here a second time, which means we really liked it! We only had a few things twice- hu jiao bing (see above), this noodle shop, and the dingbiancuo at KeeLung night market. Make sure to decide whether you want thin noodles (not homemade, but fresh from the market), or house shaved noodles, which are nice and thick. Our favorites were the 麻辣炸醬麵 and 招牌麵 (ma la zha jiang mian and zhao pai mian). The ma la zha jiang mian is not just zha jiang mian with spicy oil, but it’s a completely different sauce; I asked the owner (whose cartoon is on the menu. He looks a lot like it! ). The zhao pai mian (signature noodles) is a tasty combination of sauces. Come here. There is a small wait staff, but everyone is very nice! The son is especially nice and even hailed a taxi for us when we left for our next destination.
Update 2015- We came back and brought my grandma and mom, and they also gave this place thumbs up. The son was also there and remembered Tim and me (!)
Sunny Hills Pineapple Cake
Minsheng E Rd, Section 5
Lane 36, Alley 4, Songshan District, Taipei City, Taiwan
How to get there: Taxi is the smartest choice, and from the heart of Taipei, it’s not too expensive! Maybe 200-250 NT one way? If you want to walk off those pineapple cake calories (or be cheap), you can take the MRT green line to the Taipei Arena or Nanjing Sanmin stops (your choice), and walk. Tim and I walked there (2015), and we were super sweaty upon arrival. The choice is yours…
Hands down, our favorite pineapple cake! We deem it the best pineapple cake in Taiwan. We definitely like it over Chia Te, another famous pineapple cake vendor. The crust is shortbready, and the filling is chock-full of pure pineappley taste. Unlike the more traditional pineapple cakes that often have winter melon in the filling and dilute the pineappley-ness, Sunny Hills’ filling uses only wild pineapple in it, so you get a mouthful of pure deliciousness.
Make sure to visit the store when you are hungry for a snack- you have the option of trying before you buy. When you enter the store, you can sit down to a cup of oolong tea and one full pineapple cake for you to sample. Pretttty nice. They also have pineapple juice for sale.
Can’t wait to go to Taiwan for its tasty food? Try my recipes for Taiwanese food!