Adventures written by the VAMONDE Team
While not an actual restaurant, an adventure covering food in Taipei would be remiss without a spotlight on one of its many, many night markets. And for Taipei’s night markets, the Shilin Night Market is considered the city’s largest and most famous.
Night markets are typically open-air street markets that operate at night and can run until 2:00 am. They are generally dedicated to casual shopping, strolling, and eating rather than a more business-driven day market. The atmosphere is usually crowded and noisy with vendors shouting and fast-paced music playing over speakers. In Taiwan, food vendors create simplified versions of popular dishes and served xiao chi foods, which are snack/fast food like meat buns and dumplings. They also serve specialty drinks such as milk teas and fresh fruit juice.
Many Taiwanese people, from the working class to high-ranking politicians and academics grew up going to night markets. And if you wander through a night market today, you’ll find people from all walks of life and socioeconomic classes enjoying the evening after a long day.
The Shilin Night Market originates from the daytime Shilin Market, which opened in 1909. The market is located near what was formerly a wharf along the Keelung River. Produce from farms in Shilin District would be sold and shipped to other ports in Taiwan. The night market opened in 1913, and many new businesses and food vendors began to establish themselves in the area. The Shilin Night Market as it’s known today was formed from the market building and street vendors.
Food to grab at the Shilin Night Market include fermented tofu, fried chicken, scallion pancakes, grilled skewers, and beef on hot plates.
Post cover photo is made available on Wikimedia Commons.