One of the imperatives for our trip was to experience at least one night market in Taipei. Back home in Manila, our youth have their own mall-going culture, and I’ve come to believe that visiting a night market in Taipei seems to be the direct equivalent of this. Dining, shopping, entertainment, and just plain hanging out are just some of the things these markets offer, and probably the most popular destination for these purposes is the Shilin Night Market.
It’s the largest night market in Taiwan and it probably gets the lion’s share of pedestrians at any given day. As such, when you travel to the Shilin Night Market, make sure all your belongings are safe. Along with Ximending, this place has one of the highest crime rates due to crowd size – however, we weren’t a group to worry much. We’re too used to Manila’s markets that we thought it can’t be that scary in Taipei’s.
As for us, the highlight of our Shilin Night Market visit was trying out the different snacks available, none of which we have ever tasted before.
The stalls open around four in the afternoon and close past midnight, but if you’re taking the train out of Shilin, be sure to leave before midnight when the last train leaves.
People would generally have two reasons for going to Shilin: to shop or to dine. The shopping selection is generally on the cheaper side as it is within a short distance from various schools, making students their primary market. Even some popular brands with stores here offer items at a discount to appease the young crowd! A word of advice: since many stores carry similar items in their inventory, it’s best not to be impulsive and buy the one you want immediately. Check if any other store offers the same item and compare prices for the best value out of your money.
As for us, the highlight of our Shilin Night Market visit was trying out the different snacks available, none of which we have ever tasted before. Taipei’s more famous snacks include fried chicken fillets, oyster omelets, bubble tea, oyster vermicelli, and stinky tofu. Unfortunately, as for the snacks that we did try, I couldn’t really identify them well enough, so I’m going to let the following photos do the talking.
I’ve heard it more than once that for people who plan to visit a night market in Taiwan, it’s best not to eat anything until you get there. The food selection is simply overwhelming both in variety and in being cheap. If you’re traveling in a group like we were, I think it’s a good idea to intentionally buy snacks in small portions for sharing. This way, you’ll have a lot of room for different things to try out.
We saw quite a number of these “Wow Frog Eggs” stalls, but we didn’t try it. For starters, I found the signage a bit unappetizing, and secondly, I didn’t want frogs to do anything with whatever I eat. Judging from the number of stalls we saw, however, I think this products sells. It’s just that we’re not their target market.
Definitely, Shilin Night Market is a place to check out for any tourist who visits Taipei. We made our bet on it being the night market destination of our choice (we only had room for one in our packed itinerary) and we were satisfied with how our visit turned out.
Shilin Night Market
Shilin District, Taipei, Taiwan