If there is a common theme for every night during our trip, it has to be visiting one of the many night markets in Taiwan. We visited a total of 5 night markets, but each one has its unique specialties, so we didn’t feel jaded at all. Originally I wanted to dedicate a post for each night market, starting off from Shilin night market. But I figured it might be better to introduce the rest of them together now, since the previous post was written about half a year ago. :X
Miaokou night market 庙口夜市, Keelung
Miaokou night market was just in the right place for dinner after our day trip to Yehliu and Jiufen, en-route back to Taipei. Located in Keelung Harbour, there’s no surprise that Miaokou is famous for its seafood snacks. Shells, prawns, squids, sea urchins and even starfishes are available in many stores. However, we are not so adventurous with seafood and we stuck to mainstream snacks instead.
The two snacks we had in Miaokou that are worth mentioning are braised pork rice 卤肉饭 and oyster omelette 蚝煎. Unlike those in Singapore, the Taiwanese version of oyster omelette comes with vegetables and sweet sauce.
Miaokou is not a big market, but one aspect I liked about this place was the many rubbish bins available. Weird as it might sound, you’ll understand why when you have to lug around empty food packaging around other night markets…
Shida night market 师大夜市, Taipei
Located beside a university of the same name, Shida night market has a youthful atmosphere unlike that of other night markets. Besides the street stalls and restaurants, there are also many boutique fashion stores in the nearby lanes, clearly appealing to those of the fairer sex. However, we didn’t spend much time here, and we settled our fix of dinner with some yakitori-style snacks and a popular Taiwanese snack, 大肠包小肠 – sausage wrapped in glutinous rice.
Ziqiang night market 自强夜市, Hualien
Tiantian and I will agree that Hualien’s night market is our favourite one in this trip. Not only does it have its fair share of delicious street snacks, it is also the least crowded night market (perhaps we are lucky that night). Moreover, if you’re up for some games while visiting Ziqiang, there are arcade game machines available!
Each food stall we visited at Ziqiang have been previously recommended by others, so let me spread the word here. We started off with a bowl of piping hot porridge at 李记广东粥, followed by meat kebabs at 第一家烤肉串. You even have to get queue numbers for them, especially with the large demand for their food.
Next up, we had a go at another Taiwanese specialty – “coffin bread” 棺材板 at 蒋家棺材板. It is essentially a bread bowl, but unlike the western-style that is bowl-shaped with creamy soup inside, the Taiwanese version is squarish with a deep-fried crust and packed with meat inside. At this stall, every purchase comes with a cup of bubble tea too!
To round our dinner up, we had a cup of freshly squeezed fruit juice at 妙不可言果汁店, which was recommended by our minsu owners in Hualien. With the large menu hanging right below the store signage, it seems like you can mix almost any fruit. (:
Luodong night market 罗东夜市, Yilan
Another of Taiwan’s popular night market, we didn’t really have a good experience at Luodong, due to the never-ending rain that night. Queuing up and eating street snacks while holding an umbrella isn’t a comfortable experience at all. :(
First up, in Luodong, you definitely won’t miss the long queue at 阿灶伯當歸羊肉湯, selling bowls after bowls of herbal mutton soup. Even though I’m not a fan of mutton, I loved the strong herbal flavour in the soup and the mutton smell isn’t overwhelming at all. (Sorry, I don’t have a photo for this!)
If you can’t get enough of large chicken cutlets, there’s this store that sells probably the largest chicken cutlet I’ve seen so far, and squid cutlets as well. To finish off dinner with a dessert, be sure to try a bowl of 包心粉圆, typically consisting of a bowl of cold jelly/ice cream/beancurd and a small bowl of warm black pearls. All you have to do is to eat the pearls with the cold dessert whenever you wish to – the separation of the black pearls from the cold dessert ensures the pearls remain soft and chewy.