Taipei is inarguably one of the top street food cities in the world. Taiwan is known as the land of snacks: they have literally invented and re-invented genre after genre of snack food over the years. From pearl tea to fried chicken, the Taiwanese are all about inventing and perfecting the ultimate snack foods. The catch with Taipei street food, though, is that almost all of it is nocturnal. You can find some stalls during the day but 99% of the street food options don’t come out until late afternoon and evening when the night markets begin to spring to life. We visited Taiwan in January 2016 and visited one of the must-visit night markets in Taipei, Shilin Night Market (士林夜市)
The Shilin Night Market in Taipei is one of the largest, most popular night markets in Taiwan with regard to food, and also one of the most popular points of Taipei’s night life among visitors. In contrast to Xi Men Ding which had a very cosmopolitan Tokyo vibe, Shilin was more oriental and laid back. The maze of alleyways is filled with a variety of local, traditional, and international merchandise that attract locals and foreigners alike.
Many of Taiwan’s traditional foods can be found and bought for reasonable prices from the friendly locals who are eager to let you taste the unique flavors of their traditional recipes such as Giant Fried Chicken, Bubble Tea, Bubble Tea, Peanut Candy, Crispy Seaweed, etc. Although the sellers set the price tag, but you can bargain and the sellers will give you a discount if you buy in large quantities.
The night market consists of two major elements: general merchandise and local cuisine. Along the western edge of the market is the Shilin Night Market Food Court (士林夜市B1美食區), an underground food paradise. Although it doesn’t have the feel of the open air market, the market is as busy as ever with locals and tourists. It’s a big place and you’ll need to make a run through before deciding on what to eat. One of the most popular snacks is Deep Fried Soft Shell Scrab.
The must try street food in Shilin Night Market is definitely the Extra Large Fried Chicken. We found that 2 vendors with the long queue. The first one, in front of Shilin Night Market, before the main gate, there is one stall with a very very long queue. If you walk from Jiantan MRT Station to Shilin Night Market, you’ll easily find them. I think they’re the only one of fried chicken stall in a row of the road to the main gate. Their stall was the only one which has an extremely long queue.
The other one is HOT-STAR Chicken. Keep walking forward through the main gate and cross a small road, you’ll find HOT-STAR Chicken. For more details about Taiwanese Fried Chicken, please read our complete blog post here.
Overall, Shilin Night Market is one of the attractions that must be visited when in Taipei, especially for the street food and local food at the underground. The sites, scents, and bargains are enough to plan a second visit that you can never get enough!
How to getting there
By MRT: Take the Red Line 2 to Jiantan Station (劍潭), not Shilin Station. After leaving Exit 1, diagonally across the street to the left to enter the night market.
Taiwan Travel Series:
- [TAIWAN] ALISHAN NATIONAL SCENIC AREA – Travel Guide
- [TAIWAN] XI MEN DING – Taipei
- [TAIWAN] SHILIN NIGHT MARKET – Taipei
- [TAIWAN] SUN MOON LAKE – Travel Guide
- [TAIWAN] WENG YAO JI (Taiwanese Brickkiln Chicken) – Chiayi
- [TAIWAN] FAMOUS TAIWANESE CRISPY FRIED CHICKEN
- [TAIWAN] CHUN SHUI TANG CULTURAL TEA HOUSE – 春水堂
- [TAIWAN] CHIANG KAI-SHEK MEMORIAL HALL – Taipei
Shilin Night Market
Lane 101, Wenlin Rd, Shilin District, Taipei City, Taiwan 111
By Taipei MRT:
Jiantan Station, take exit 1
Everyday (4.30 PM – 12.00 PM)
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