Night markets are a common feature throughout Taiwan, with Taipei having an impressive selection. Many are extremely popular for their great range of local street food, to the point that they are treated more as a dining option than a shopping one. Some, on the other hand, are renowned for the variety and uniqueness of their wares, being polar opposites of the city’s many shopping malls crammed with big international brands.
While there are plenty to choose from, the locations in this list of the 5 Best Night Markets in Taipei are by far the most popular and distinctive, offering one-of-a-kind experiences. A visit to a Taipei night market is as much about the buzzing community atmosphere, the colourful stalls and interacting with the locals as it is about finding souvenirs or a cheap meal. These five markets have all that and more.
The biggest and most famous of the many night markets (in all of Taiwan, in fact), the sprawling Shilin Night Market, it is always busy with locals and tourists. Much of the central market is covered to protect it from the rain, but the shopping opportunities spread around the surrounding streets, making the whole area a paradise for bargain hunters. Particularly popular wares on offer include souvenirs, clothes and over 500 food stalls. A visit to the brightly-lit and vibrant market is all but considered a must for any visit to Taipei.
- Opening Hours: 17:00 – 24:00
- Location: In the area of Dadong Road, Danan Road, Wenlin Road and Jihe Road, Shilin
- Tel: +886 (0)2 2882 0340
The title of Best Night Market in Taipei is closely contended between Shilin and Raohe Street. Shilin often wins for its sheer size, but Raohe Street is a very close second. The oldest market in Taipei, the Song Shan Fu De Temple marks one end of the 600m street of stalls. The main attraction is the street food and you can often spot TV crews working on cookery programmes among the impressive selection of stands selling local dishes and delicacies like spare ribs stewed in Chinese herbal medicine, oyster vermicelli and spicy stinky tofu.
- Opening Hours: 17:00 – 24:00
- Location: Raohe Street, Songshan
- Tel: +886 (0)2 2763 5733
Found in a trendy part of town, behind to the National Taiwan Normal University, Shida Night Market is famous for its fashion. Many of the stalls and stores in the network of side-streets off Shida Road are run by young entrepreneurs selling their unique designs. You will often also find young musicians practising their trade and a good range of local and traditional food offerings. The market is very popular with the local students and has an almost bohemian, boutique feel to it. If you’re looking for something a bit different, you’ll probably find it here
- Opening Hours: Mon – Fri 18:00 – 23:30, Sat – Sun 14:00 – 23:30
- Location: Shida Road, Neihu
Ningxia Night Market boasts a cool old-Taiwan style and is noted for its distinctiveness. It is best known for its traditional gourmet snacks like fried taro balls, oyster omelette and Imperial Guangdong Porridge, all sold at affordable prices, which makes it as popular with locals as it is with tourists. There are also old-school arcade attractions and quirky stalls. One of Taipei’s older markets, the 300-metre market is also a popular place for buying Chinese New Year goodies.
- Opening Hours: 18:00 – 24:00
- Location: Ningxia Road, Datong
More commonly known as Snake Alley, the entrance to Huaxi Street Night Market is marked with a traditional Chinese gate. This leads to a bizarre collection of stalls and stores which are extremely popular with tourists. Food highlights famously include deer penis, turtle testicles and the snake meat and blood which gave the market its nickname. Dishes containing Chinese herbs and medicine are also very popular. Huaxi Street Night Market is very close to the smaller Guangzhou and Wuzhou night markets and Longshan Temple, making it a good place to start for a tour of this ancient part of the city.
- Opening Hours: 16:00 – 24:00
- Location: Huaxi Street, Wanhua
- Tel: +886 (0)2 2388 1818