One quintessential experience in Taiwan is visiting a night market, and most people head straight for the famous Shilin or Raohe night markets in Taipei. These night markets are awesome for a reason, but if you are looking for alternative night markets that are less crowded and not filled with other tourists, here’s my list of underrated Taipei night markets for that local food experience, as well as my research and recommendations on what to eat at these Taipei night markets.
Honestly, I get overwhelmed by the crowds and options available so I thought it would be helpful to list some of the famous stalls and specialities in each night market that you should check out, but I recommend wandering around and picking out your own favourites, and let me know in the comments below if you have any recs for me.
In general, most night markets in Taipei operate from about 6pm to 12 midnight, so head down for dinner or supper. Not all stalls are open every day – do a little bit of research before you go.
Here’s a helpful Google Map of the Taipei Night Markets for you, and I’ve also included addresses and Google Map links to help you track down the stalls more easily.
Nanjichang Night Market 南機場夜市
Nanjichang or South Airport night market is located around the Zhongzheng and Wanhua district in Taipei City. It is named for an old military airport that was once built in this area – since Songshan Airport was in the north of Taipei City, this airport was naturally referred to as the South Airport. Nanjichang Night Market is not very big, made up of a mix of tiny restaurants and street food stalls along two small roads that meet at a cross junction.
What to eat
Many of my Nanjichang Night Market food recommendations come from a local guy called AJ who was also my motorbike tour guide when I was exploring Taipei. He lived around the area in his childhood and loves that many of the food stalls he knew in his youth are still around today.
Lai Lai Dumplings 來來水餃店 [No. 9, Lane 309, Zhonghua Road Section 2]: A dumpling shop that has been around for over 30 years. It’s probably best to visit in a group as the minimum order is 10 handmade pork dumplings for 70 NTD (S$3) – I was flying solo so I basically had myself an entire plate for dinner. If you are eating at the store, grab a seat before ordering what you want from the very busy staff.
Hao Chi Fried Chicken 好吃炸雞 [No. 41, Lane 315, Zhonghua Road Section 2]: This food stall along the main Zhonghua Road serves up large crispy fried chicken cutlets. I had a standard one but they have different seasonings. Eat it while it’s hot – I packed mine back to eat and the bites I snuck along the way were definitely tastier then when I was back in the room.
Nameless Pushcart Shao Bing 無名推車燒餅 [Lane 311, Zhonghua Road Section 2]: No signboards or names are needed for this pushcart stall (a Michelin Bib Gourmand recipient!) located close to the Nanhai Road side of the market. Just look out for the long queues waiting patiently for their Shaobing, or fried biscuit-y snacks. These fried wonders range from just 10-15 NTD (S$0.40-$0.60) per piece. There were 4 flavours to choose from, I had a salty and a sweet one and they were lovely crispy treats.
Mei Lan Auntie Fruit Juice 美蘭阿姨果汁 [Lane 309, Zhonghua Road Section 2]: This lady has been around for ages and is a well-loved fixture in Nanjichang Night Market. Her claim to fame is that no additional sugar is added to the fruit juice she makes. I had an apple milk drink because I was a bit curious about the combination (ok but not my favourite), but popular menu items here include the papaya milk and the 8-treasures mixed fruit juice.
Other popular food stalls that I didn’t get around to trying:
- Shan Nei Chicken 山內雞肉 [No. 20-3, Lane 307, Zhonghua Road Section 2]: : located next to the market signage and always super crowded. The chicken is their speciality, as is the onion stir fried beef rice.
- Xiao Di Tong Zi Glutinous Rice Cake 曉迪筒仔米糕 [Lane 307, Zhonghua Road Section 2]: located opposite Shannei with equally long queues. Their signature glutinous rice cakes may look like a small cylinder, but they are packed with ingredients and can be quite filling.
- Ah Nan Sesame Oil Chicken 阿男麻油雞 [No. 34, Lane 311, Zhonghua Road Section 2]: This Michelin Bib Gourmand recipient is famous for chicken cooked in a sesame oil broth and often eaten with mianxian (thin vermicelli noodles) soaked in the same broth. See some pix here.
- Stinky Tofu Boss 臭老闆現蒸臭豆腐 [No. 6, Lane 313, Zhonghua Road Section 2]: If you like stinky tofu, this version is fully vegetarian, steamed (not fried) and served without MSG. Also popular here is the Red Vinegar noodles. A Michelin Bib Gourmand recipient.
- Song Qing Popiah 松青潤餅 [No. 4, Lane 311, Zhonghua Road Section 2]: Popiah is basically a thin roll filled with all sorts of vegetables and some fried pork, and theirs garnered a Michelin Bib Gourmand commendation.
How to get there
Address: Lane 307, Zhonghua Road Section 2, Zhongzheng District 台北市中正區中華路二段307巷 [Google Maps]
Closest MRT stations:
- Longshan Temple (blue Bannan line)
- Xiaonanmen (green Xindian-Songshan line)
From the MRT stations, you need about 15-20mins of walking to reach the night market. Alternatively, take a bus to the Nanjichang Apartment stop.
Around the area:
- The National Museum of History is nearby, but it’s likely to be closed until 2021 at least
- Explore the old Wanhua District – Bopiliao Historical Block and Longshan Temple are not too far away.
- If you are looking for a day market, check out Xinfu Market or Dongshanshui Market, which is right next to a revitalised space called U-Mkt
I first wrote about Nanjichang Night Market in this article about local experiences to have in Taipei
Yansan Night Market 延三夜市
Yansan Night Market is a place I found out about when I stayed at MudanHouse [booking.com affiliate link], located north of Dadaocheng and Dihua Street. The market is located right around the corner from the hostel and where they usually recommend guests to go grab a bite, and they gave me some recs on what to eat.
What to eat
Shi Jia Meat Soup Dumpling 施家鮮肉湯圓 [58 Yanping North Road Section 3]: this isn’t your average soup dumpling stuffed with meat – the outer skin of their dumplings is more like mochi which is mushier than your typical dumpling skin. Very interesting mouthfeel, and it makes for a surprisingly filling meal. The store was started way back in 1964, and was awarded the Michelin Bib Gourmand in 2018.
Bao Ji Xiaolongbao 保記小籠包 [3 Yanping North Road Section 3]: You can order any number of soup dumplings as you want in this store, but if you are used to the Ding Tai Fung style of soup dumplings, note that these xiaolongbao are different with thicker skin, and are not as soft and soupy. Still yummy of course.
Recommended food that I didn’t get around to eating:
- Da Qiao Tou Cabbage Rice and Pork Rib Soup 高麗菜飯 原汁排骨湯 [No. 2, Lane 17, Yanping North Road Section 3][No. 2, Lane 17, Yanping North Road Section 3]: A deceptively simple looking meal with normal ingredients, this is another Bib Gourmand recipient and apparently sells out by 7pm so go early if you want to try this. Read more about it here.
- Da Qiao Tou Glutinous Rice Cake 大橋頭老牌筒仔米糕 [41 Yanping North Road Section 3]: The translation of ‘tube rice pudding’ is a bit strange but basically describes how the rice is normally served as a mini cylinder. This is basically sticky glutinous rice and best eaten with your choice of fatty or lean pork and some soup. A Michelin Bib Gourmand recipient with over 50 years of history.
- Xiang Ji Pure Sugar Mochi 祥記純糖燒麻糬 [12 Yanping North Road Section 3]: If the savoury mochi-like Shijia dumplings aren’t for you, here’s a more traditional dessert of freshly boiled mochi rolled in ground peanut eaten with a pile of shaved ice – perfect for a hot day. See some pix here.
If you prefer to have a guided experience, Taipei Eats has a Yansan Night Market food tour available but you need to book their Xinyi or Dadaocheng tours first.
How to get there
Address: Section 3, Yanping North Road, Datong District 103台北市大同區延平北路三段 [Google Maps]
Closest MRT Station: Daqiaotou MRT station (Orange Zhonghe-Xinlu Line) Exit 1
Around the area: Yansan is the perfect place to cap off a busy day in the Datong district – it’s just north of Dihua Street. Read more about it in my Taipei Weekend Warrior Guide.
I first wrote about Yansan Night Market in this post about things to do in Taipei in summer.
Linjiang Street Night Market 臨江街夜市
Linjiang Street Night Market is also known as Tonghua Night Market 通化夜市 located in the Da’an district, not very far from Taipei 101 so you can pop over after catching the sunset at Taipei 101 or Elephant Mountain. One interesting thing about the area around this night market is that there are a ton of cheap massage parlours everywhere so it might be worth getting a foot massage after exploring the market. Also, there are a lot of pet shops in the area for some reason.
What to eat
I’ll be quite honest – I breezed through this market because I had already eaten dinner nearby (craft beer and sandwiches at Liquid Bread Company – more below), but I did some research for this article and here’s what people recommend to eat at Linjiang Street Night Market:
- Shanghai Pan-fried Buns上海生煎包 [106 Linjiang Street]: These steamed and pan-fried buns that originated in Shanghai are one of the most popular things to eat here. They also serve pot-stickers 鍋貼
- Jin Ri Sushi 今日壽司店 [106-2 Linjiang Street]: Sushi might be a strange choice of food at a night market, but this place is apparently a local favourite
There are also several Michelin Bib Gourmand recipients in this night market worth checking out:
- Liang Ji Lu Wei 梁記滷味 [No. 33, Lane 39, Alley 50, Tonghua Street]: Dating back to 1965, for those who love braised food and duck parts – the intestines, wings and tongue are popular options
- Luo Ji Xiao Chao 駱記小炒 [No. 27, Lane 39, Alley 50, Tonghua Street]: The menu is surprisingly small – pick between stir-fried beef or lamb, or be adventurous and go for the stir-friend conch meat 炒螺肉
- Ya Kou Tien Hsiang Stinky Tofu 雅口天香臭豆腐 [19-1 Linjiang Street]: Stinky tofu is the quintessential Taiwanese dish, go for the tongue-numbing Mala if you dare
- Yu Pin Yuan Ice-Fire Dumpling 御品元冰火湯圓 [No. 31, Lane 39, Alley 50, Tonghua Street]: The signature dish to eat here is the Fire-Ice Tangyuan or 冰火湯圓, which is hot tangyuan (sweet round balls of glutinous rice dumplings filled with sesame or peanut) on shaved ice topped with Osmanthus honey
Things that I did eat around the area beyond the night market that you might want to consider:
Ming Yue Tangbao 明月湯包餐館 [162-4 Keelung Road Section 2]: I was looking for alternatives to Din Tai Fung’s famous soup dumplings and ended up in this local-favourite restaurant where I had a basket of Xiao Long Bao all to myself for dinner. The skin is a little thicker than the Din Tai Fung one, but it’s still pretty yummy stuff.
Liquid Bread Company [270 Yanji Street]: This hipster restaurant serves up craft beer in draft and bottles alongside fancy sandwiches. I was intrigued by the bright interior and also wanted somewhere to sit down and chill out with a cold beer after a long day of walking. Portions were a little small in my opinion, but they did have some pretty interesting options.
How to get there
Address: Linjiang Street, Da’an District 106台北市大安區臨江街 [Google Maps]
Closest MRT station: Xinyi Anhe Station Exit 3 (red Tamsui-Xinyi line)
Around the area: After a busy day in Xinyi seeing landmarks like Taipei 101, Elephant Mountain or the cute Four-Four South Village, Linjiang Street Night Market is a nice place to wind down.
I first wrote about Linjiang Street Night Market in this article about a weekend itinerary for repeat Taipei visitors.
Gongguan Night Market 公館夜市
Gongguan Night Market is located in the Da’an District somewhere between Nanjichang and Jingmei Night markets. This area seems to be a shopping district of sorts with the Shuiyuan Market nearby – the night market stalls are located along three smaller lanes perpendicular to the main Roosevelt Road amidst taller buildings. Prices are cheap here and it’s a favourite with students from the National Taiwan University across the road.
It also feels like there must be more foreigners in this area as there were a notable number of Southeast Asian food stalls here. Also, Gongguan was famous for the longstanding Chensanding 陳三鼎 Black Sugar Frog Pearl Milk Tea 黑糖青蛙撞奶, but as of December 2019 it seems like they suddenly closed down (rumours say there were hygiene issues), no news on whether they have moved elsewhere.
What to eat
The problem with travelling solo is that it’s hard to eat when you’re just one person. The Singaporean way of knowing what’s good to eat is to join the longest queue – I had a walkthrough and these were the popular stalls attracting queues:
Ri Chuan Takoyaki 日船章鱼小丸子 [No. 251, Section 3, Tingzhou Road]: Located in front of Family Mart, these octopus balls attracted long queues throughout the night.
Xiong Ji Scallion Pancake 雄記蔥抓餅 [No. 2, Lane 108, Section 4 Luosifu Road]: These scallion pancakes paired with honey mustard and basil are another Michelin Bib Gourmand recepient in 2019.
Lan Chia Gua Bao 藍家割包 [No. 3, Alley 8, Lane 316, Section 3 Luosifu Road]: Another long-standing institution in Gongguan, the Lan Family braised pork buns are very famous and were awarded the Michelin Bin Gourmand in 2019.
Vegetarian Sweet Potato Balls 素食地瓜球 [No. 8, Lane 108, Section 4 Luosifu Road]: These handmade vegetarian sweet potato balls are apparently very Q and chewy, and so many people were queuing for them. Also very affordable.
How to get there
Address: Lane 90, Section 4, Luosifu Road, Da’an District, Taipei City 台北市大安區羅斯福路四段90巷 [Google Maps]
Nearest MRT Station: Gongguan (Green Xindian-Songshan Line) Exit 1
Around the area:
- Treasure Hill Arts Village was military housing turned indie arts space on the hillside by the river. Lots of interesting little corners here in this compound, an odd mix of graffiti walls, random art installations and a large Guanyin temple
- Another nearby night market is Shida Night Market at the Taipower Building Station one stop away on the north side of National Taiwan University which is also quite popular with students and more off the tourist radar.
Jingmei Night Market 景美夜市
Jingmei Night Market is both a day and night market in the Wenshan district in south Taipei and even on a weekday night, it was packed with people. It’s about as untouristy and local as you can get – there is a university nearby, and the student crowd and locals are what keeps the prices low.
There isn’t much to shop for in terms of fashion and novelties that you tend to see at the tourist night markets – most of the stuff here are sundries and practical household items, but the cheap local food is what most people are here for. Not a lot of English around here either because it doesn’t cater for tourists.
What to eat
I walked through the market but was pretty overwhelmed by the crowds so I ended up eating Japanese curry rice at a hipster spot called FleeingByNight Curry 夜奔咖哩 because it wasn’t crowded and had air-conditioning. But if you are looking for more local recs, here’s what I found people online saying are must-eats at Jingmei Night Market.
- Jingmei Shanghai Pan-Fried Buns 景美上海生煎包 [55 Jingwen Street]: this popular stall apparently sees long queues from as early as 5pm so they must be pretty good.
- Hao Chi Salt Chicken 好吃塩水雞 [113 Jingwen Street]: Besides its famous salt chicken, you can also pick out other small side dishes from the stall front and they’ll mix it altogether for you. More pix here.
- Gao Jia Four Spirits Soup 高-雙管四神湯 [139 Jingmei Street]: Another longtime mainstay of Jingmei night market, it has a surprisingly hip looking signage. Sishentang or Four Spirits Soup is a milder sort of herbal soup consisting of four main ingredients. Those who love innards will love that they come in a double layer here.
- Xiang Zi Nei Rice Noodle Soup 巷仔內米粉湯 [119 Jingmei Street]: as its name (Xiang Zi Nei = Inside the alley) implies, the space is pretty tight with outside seats squished along an alleyway, but you’ll see it full of people anyway. Get your bowl of thick beehoon soup for just 25NTD and order some side dishes to supplement. See pix here.
- Jingmei Tofu Pudding 景美豆花 [86 Jingmei Street]: Opened in 1978, this shop sells traditional Touhua or tofu pudding as well as other icy desserts
This Taipei Night Market Tour on Klook [affiliate link] starts from Jingmei MRT Station, and might be a good way for you to sample more food.
How to get there
Address: Jingmei Road, Wenshan District, Taipei City 台北市文山區景美街 [Google Maps]
Nearest MRT Station: Jingmei (Green Xindian-Songshan Line) Exit 2 or 3
Around the area:
- This spot in Xindian is a nice stopover after exploring Bitan at the end of the Xindian line before heading back to downtown Taipei. If you are up to it, cycle north along the river from Xindian instead of taking the MRT
- I took a direct bus over from the Taipei Zoo Station after going up the Maokong Gondola
I first wrote about Jingmei Night Market in this article about local experiences to have in Taipei
What are your favourite night markets to visit in Taipei? Tell me where I should check out next in the comments.