Taiwan‘s night markets (夜市, yeshi, pronounced “yeah she”) are popular with locals and tourists alike, and you should definitely try to visit at least one while you’re there. Every night market is a good place to sample lots of different Taiwanese dishes and street snacks, many of them also have clothes stalls, souvenirs, handicrafts and so on, and they also usually offer up some good photo opportunities.
This is a list of every Taipei night market I visited, in roughly the order in which I’d recommend them as part of your visit to the city; it’s by no means an exhaustive list of every single Taipei night market (including New Taipei, there are a lot!), but I’ve covered all the most famous ones plus a few more obscure local ones (as well as one more in Kaohsiung, at the bottom of the page).
(For recommendations according to your specific interests, see the bottom of the post)
Shilin Night Market (士林夜市, Shilin Yeshi)
Shilin is the granddaddy of them all; a sprawling warren of alleyways, jam-packed with stalls and people, the place is huge and it sells pretty much everything you might want to buy, and it has plenty of massage shops and traditional Chinese remedies (such as ear candling, which looks a complete con to me). There are also lots of fairground-type games you can play to win prizes – we had a bit of fun chucking darts at balloons and won a few pieces of tat. The food I’ve had at Shilin probably isn’t the best among these markets, and a touch pricier, but for the sheer size of the place it’s the one you should visit if you only have time for a single Taipei night market. If you don’t like crowds however, avoid Shilin (and Raohe) and try Shuangcheng, Ningxia, or Tonghua instead. Shilin night market is located in northern Taipei between Jiantan (劍潭) and Shilin stations on MRT line 2 (the red line); Jiantan is the more convenient of the two.
Raohe Street Tourist Night Market (饒河街觀光夜市, Raohejie Guanguang Yeshi)
This is another large and crowded market, but unlike Shilin it’s easy to navigate as the whole thing is arranged along a single, narrow street, with lines of stalls down both sides and another line down the middle, meaning you can walk along it on one side and then double back along the other side so you don’t miss any treats. I actually stayed at an AirBnb near here for a week and ate dinner from the night market most nights – probably not the healthiest way to eat, but it was cheap and delicious!
Of particular fame at Raohe Market is the hujiaobing (胡椒餅, pepper bun) stall just inside the main entrance; the line can be ridiculous, but they’re seriously good and are a must-try. They’re 50 NTD apiece and very addictive – I usually grab three! If you go quite late in the evening you can catch them without much of a line.
Raohe market is near Songshan station which is the first stop on the east coast and Keelung lines after Taipei main station, so it’s a convenient place to get off the train if you’ve been out to Jiufen or Shifen for the day and want to feast on street food when heading back after a day of hiking or sightseeing! Songshan is also an MRT station (on the green line) – the two stations are connected underground, take exit 5 from the MRT part of the station and you’ll see Ciyou Temple nearby; the night market starts just to the left of the temple.
Another cool thing about Raohe is the Rainbow Bridge – if you find your way round the back of the temple, you’ll be next to the Keelung river and you’ll see the Rainbow Bridge just there. It’s a pedestrian bridge, nothing special in its own right, but with views of Taipei 101 it’s a nice place to take a walk and get some photos or sit by the river with a bag full of market snacks. (This market is also very crowded, so not the best idea if you’re impatient with slow-moving crowds)
Shuangcheng Street Night Market (雙城街夜市, Shuangchengjie Yeshi)
This compact market is probably my personal favourite Taipei night market, for several reasons. Foremost among them is that Shuangcheng has (in my opinion) the best food, including a Korean jiggae stand, a Japanese ramen stand, a wicked fried rice stand (their Mexican, Thai, and Korean options are the bomb), plenty of fresh fruit and juices, and all the usual Taiwanese treats. Rather than being a place where tourists stroll and take pics while munching snacks on sticks, this is a market where locals go to get full meals, either in takeout bags or sat at the chairs and tables along the street. The road is fairly wide for the not-so-huge number of stalls, so there’s plenty of breathing space, seating is ample, and you can sit and enjoy your meal without the Chinese tour bus hordes whacking you with their selfie-sticks as they jostle by.
It’s also a good people-watching spot, as people pull up on their scooters for bags of food on the way home from the office, sexily dressed young ladies from the nearby bars and KTV joints stop off for quick meals on their way to work for the evening, and students from Taitung University (around the corner) eat and chatter around the tables.
Shuangcheng market is also just down the road from ‘the Combat Zone’, a formerly notorious area of red light rowdiness frequented by American soldiers cycling in and out from Vietnam, now a fairly gentrified road of Filipina hostess bars and expat watering holes – can’t say I’m a huge fan of any of the establishments but it’s a good call if you’re looking for a place to watch live sports, and a meal at Shuangcheng followed by a warm-up drink in the Zone is a decent way to kick off a night out in Taipei.
One final bonus of Shuangcheng – it keeps longer hours than other markets with the first stalls opening for breakfast and the last ones closing after midnight, so it only really shuts down for the small hours (best time to visit is still early evening though, when you have the full selection of stalls to choose from).
Shuangcheng is a 5-minute walk northwest from Zhongshan Elementary School station on the orange line (take exit 1, cross Linsen North Road (林森北路), go straight for a block, and turn right on Shuangcheng Street and the market’s straight ahead).
Shida Night Market (師大夜市, Shida Yeshi)
Shida night market is located near Shida University, and this is reflected in the young mostly Taiwanese shoppers and the types of merchandise being sold (think more fashion accessories and cellphone stuff, less tourist trinkets). There’s heaps of good food available and it’s a good market for kicking back with a roadside beer for some people watching, being generally quite busy without being absurdly crowded.
The 生煎包 stall in the middle of the pic has great dumplings. The market’s about a 10-minute walk to Shida market from the MRT, head north from Taipower Building Station (on the green line); check Google maps and the subway area maps for directions.
Snake Alley / Huaxi Street Night Market (華西街夜市, Huaxijie Yeshi)
This area was an old red light district and became famous for Snake Alley, a row of snake meat restaurants where men would boost their virility with shots of snake blood. The Snake Alley of old is gone (all it really is these days is a run-down, dirty alleyway lined with massage parlours and with a few snakes in cages), but the area remains gritty and interesting, with Longshan Temple another point of interest and Huaxi market providing some tasty eats – it’s unglamorous and rough & ready even by night market standards, but the food is good. I don’t really recommend going to the effort of visiting Snake Alley in its own right, but the combination of Longshan Temple, Huaxi Market, and Snake Alley makes for an interesting couple of hours in one of Taipei’s oldest and grittiest neighbourhoods.
Huaxi market is located a short distance from Longshan Temple station, to the northwest of the temple (Snake Alley is at the back of the market).
Ningxia Night Market (寧夏夜市, Ningxia Yeshi)
Located somewhat near Zhongshan (中山) station on the green & red lines (a 10-minute walk west, you can check the map in the station and follow signs on the street), this night market is mostly about food. It’s a fairly small one, and the single road it’s located on is quite wide so the market doesn’t feel too crowded – the main row of stalls is pretty narrow, but you can also walk behind them. The food’s good and while Ningxia night market isn’t as lively and colourful as some of the others, it’s a good place for a cheap meal while you’re in central Taipei.
Halfway along the row of stalls (on the east side i.e. the right side in the above photo) there’s a fantastic Thai place selling the best street-style Thai food I’ve had outside Thailand. It’s called Tai Wei Xian, they’re not open every day but look out for the red & white signs reading 泰味鮮 and 泰國小吃:
Great fried rice, curry, and noodles:
Tonghua Night Market (通化夜市, Tonghua Yeshi)
Tonghua night market is actually on Linjiang Street (臨江街, Linjiang Jie), within walking distance of Taipei 101 – it’s a shortish walk south-east of Xinyi Anhe (信義安和) station and south-west of Taipei 101 station (both on line 2, the red line). From Xinyi Anhe station, take exit 3, follow the main road east, then turn south (right) on Tonghua Street and walk until you reach Linjiang Street. It’s a fairly chilled out market, much more laid-back than Shilin and Raohe, but I found the food to be so-so; this is a good market to visit if you’re on your way to party in the bars and clubs near 101, but otherwise I’d suggest the above markets ahead of this one.
Update: since originally writing this post I’ve been back to Tonghua repeatedly and thanks to these recommendations from Tricky Taipei I’ve had some good meals there. The stinky tofu stall is particularly good – although stinky tofu can often smell like a used sock full of ass, this version is much more mild and it’s really like eating fried cheese with cabbage & spicy sauce on top. If you’re curious to try stinky tofu this is the perfect one to start out with.
Lehua Night Market (樂華夜市, Lehua Yeshi)
Very much a local market, Lehua market covers a pretty big area of several interconnected streets and the focus is mainly on food; it’s a place where local residents go, rather than tourists. It’s not as photogenic as markets like Shilin and Raohe, but there’s a good range of food on offer (including a Vietnamese sandwich place I was thrilled to find) and the crowds aren’t too ridiculous. I wouldn’t travel across Taipei to visit this one, but if you’re staying in the Yonghe district it’s well-worth a visit.
It’s located about halfway between Dingxi and Yongan Market stations on the orange line, get off at Dingxi and walk south for 10 minutes. You’ll see the above entrance gate on the west side of the main road.
Sanhe Night Market (三和夜市, Sanhe Yeshi)
Sanhe night market is a very long & narrow local market out in Sanchong with a mix of food stalls and assorted merchandise. Again, not one I’d travel across Taipei to visit, but if you’re staying over on the west side of the Tamsui River it’s a good spot to have a look around and score some street food. It’s on Zhongyang North Road (中央北路, Zhongyang Beilu), just east of Taipei bridge station (on the Huilong branch of the orange line), on the north side of the main road.
The north end of the market is a bit closer to Zhongshan Elementary School Station on the Luzhou branch of the orange line, so instead of backtracking through the market you can just walk northwest up Sanhe Road (so make sure you grab everything you want as you pass through the market!)
Liaoning Street Night Market (三和夜市, Sanhe Yeshi)
This small market is more like a backstreet (open to traffic) lined on both sides with local-style Taiwanese restaurants than a typical night market:
Not really a street food oriented place, and it’s much less photogenic or atmospheric than most night markets so I don’t recommend it if you’re just picking out one or two markets to visit while you’re in Taipei. However, the eating & drinking is good and this is a great place to do so if you’re in the area.
Local station areas, all over Taipei
While not considered to be night markets, certain MRT stations (tending to be those with particularly dense residential populations, or those serving as hubs for bus routes) can be absolute treasure troves of mom & pop food places and snack stands aimed mostly at the business of passing commuters – for example, Shilin station (good for changing between the MRT and the buses for visiting the National Palace Museum or Yangmingshan park) has all sorts of food options along the pedestrian area outside the northern exit.
Another cool food street is Huaxin Street aka Little Burma near Nanshijiao Station at the southern end of the orange line. It’s not a night market as it’s mostly open just in the day, and it’s not a market but rather a street full of restaurants. But it’s full of great Burmese food (the area has a large Burmese-Taiwanese population) which makes it an interesting option (though it’s quite out of the way). For a detailed guide see here
Liuhe Tourist Night Market, Kaohsiung (六合觀光夜市, Liuhe Guanguang Yeshi)
This is the most famous market in Taiwan’s second city of Kaohsiung, it’s on a nice wide road with just one row of stalls down either side, meaning there’s plenty of space to wander and browse without battling any Raohe-style shuffle crowds. It’s right outside Formosa Boulevard station on Kaohsiung’s red line (the station itself is famous for its architecture and ceiling designs). Anyone who knows Kaohsiung well will tell you there are better markets with better food, but anyway Liuhe is easy to find and does the job.
The Best Taipei Night Market for:
The full night market experience: Shilin or Raohe
Food: Shuangcheng or Raohe
Games & random stuff: Shilin
Photography: Shilin or Raohe
People who don’t like crowds: Shuangcheng, Tonghua, or Ningxia (though Ningxia does sometimes get very packed on weekend evenings)
Interesting surroundings: Huaxi (Longshan Temple, Snake Alley) or Raohe (Ciyou Temple, Keelung River, Rainbow Bridge)
Convenient location: Raohe (next to Songshan station)
Convenient hours: Shuangcheng (morning to midnight)
People watching: Shida or Shuangcheng
Drinking: Shida or Shuangcheng/the ‘Combat Zone’
Which is your favourite Taipei night market? Leave a comment below!
If you’d like to have some local knowledge to inform your market visit, consider booking a night market tour here* to have a local tour guide help you navigate the culinary delights.
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