Tonghua Night Market
February 7, 2013 9:06 PM   Subscribe

台北,臺灣 (Táiběi, Táiwān, aka Taipei) is home to many night markets. (What is a night market, you ask? It's a street, lined with stalls and vendors selling all sorts of food, clothes, gadgets, geegaws and entertainments. At night, it's full of activity and opportunities for people-watching. Night markets are sometimes located near temples.) The most famous include 士林夜市 Shìlín Yèshì (lots to see there) and 華西街 Huáxījiē, also called Snake Alley, but here are some links about one fairly typical mid-sized night market located in southeast Taibei City.

From the street, during the day, 通化夜市 Tōnghuà Yèshì, also called 臨江夜市 Línjiāng Yèshì doesn't look like much. But as evening approaches, it starts to come alive with lots of stalls and shops. It's pretty much one long strip where you can take a nice leisurely walk. Some nice folks might show you around. There's a variety of foods to try: sausage on a stick, stinky doufu, pig's blood cake, almond doufu and tea, among others. And definitely don't miss the 鐵板燒 tīebǎnshāo teppanyaki. Check out some bling bling, or play at the basketball machine. You might find it amazing; it's certainly popular -- foreigners like it, too.

Or, if night markets are too 熱鬧 rènào 'hustle-bustle, full of activity' for you, perhaps you prefer something more restful.
posted by jiawen (15 comments total) 38 users marked this as a favorite
I've been missing Taiwan a lot recently. When you're in the mood for a night market, a mall will not suffice.
posted by jiawen at 9:08 PM on February 7, 2013

I love a good night market. All the food and the smell of food!
posted by arcticseal at 9:09 PM on February 7, 2013

A co-worker who travels to see family in Taiwan would always talk about the night markets and would in particular tell us about stinky tofu. Then we happened top go to a place in the International District that served it.

I was not man enough for stinky tofu. Well, I managed to get it down, but it basically tasted like feet and I did not try another bite.
posted by Artw at 9:12 PM on February 7, 2013

Ah, these look absolutely heavenly! I'm at work and these videos are making me hungry.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:22 PM on February 7, 2013

I picked up some pretty decent fountain pen ink in a cool looking bottle for pennies (and I'm sure I over paid by local standards) at a night market in kuala lumpur a few years back. AAA+++++ seller would buy again.
posted by Perfectibilist at 9:32 PM on February 7, 2013

I miss Taiwan a lot too. Though sacrilegiously, I miss the malls more than the night markets, with their amazing food courts, bookstores and gourmet basement supermarkets.

One of the most interesting things I've eaten in a Taiwanese market (Jioufen to be exact) was this strange confection--ground peanuts, cilantro and cheapie elastic Asian vanilla ice cream in a wrap. It was not unpleasant.
posted by peripathetic at 9:38 PM on February 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

Eating out is so cheap in Taiwan. Miss it dearly.
posted by fatehunter at 9:55 PM on February 7, 2013

I was seriously considering booking a short trip to Taipei just yesterday....mainly for the fantastic food.
posted by Alnedra at 11:37 PM on February 7, 2013

What I found quite amazing is that even the "conventional" shops (such as franchise boutiques) around the night market areas also opened very late. For instance, I walked past a Baleno (IIRC, it's a pretty popular Asian brand of casual clothing) at around 11ish at night once and they were still pretty packed.
posted by Alnedra at 11:39 PM on February 7, 2013

I have always wanted to try one of these crepes.
looks like it would be fun to make too.
posted by quazichimp at 12:00 AM on February 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

I concur with the other comments on Taiwan- I miss it. The last time I was there was for Love Boat and really miss the night market food (stinky tofu, oyster pancake). Going to KTV (Is that still popular?), going to the really high-end Chinese buffets, buying corn on the cob at 7-11, and drinking some weird rot-gut liquor with some cops.

However, I do not miss the heat and humidity. I have never sweat so much in my life.

Ah, I miss Love Boat and Taiwan.
posted by JiffyQ at 3:02 AM on February 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

My wife received a grant to study in Taiwan. When she was apartment searching in her first few days she found a great apartment for super cheap. She visited it one morning and found it charming, quiet, and peaceful and took it right away before anyone else snapped it up! Of course, her first night there she discovered that it was above a night market. Needless to say, she has mixed feelings about night markets.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 5:25 AM on February 8, 2013

I should also add that when we lived in Beijing a few years ago we were walking around in a hutong and my wife caught the scent of stinky tofu. She launched into a lengthy reminiscence about the smell and flavor of the stuff as we meandered trying to find the source so I could give it a taste. Turning a corner we found the source of the scent, a particularly warm day and a soft breeze blowing over the hutong's toilet house.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 5:29 AM on February 8, 2013

Hi, is this the I Miss Taiwan thread? I actually lived for a few happy months directly across the street from the Rao He Jie night market - the perfect situation for someone as hungry and strapped for cash as I was. Oh those hu jiao bing!
posted by villanelles at dawn at 5:30 AM on February 8, 2013

Visiting Taiwan and going to a Taipei night market was a great experience. I too couldn't get beyond one bite of stinky tofu, but I loved a lot of the other street food I tried. Good times.
posted by medusa at 5:36 AM on February 9, 2013

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