Shilin Night Market 士林夜市 – What To Eat At Taipei’s Most Popular Night Market
[Taipei] Shilin Night Market 士林夜市 is one of the largest and most popular night markets in Taiwan, especially when it comes to street food.
However, the night market has somehow become more meant for tourists (losing some of its initial charm). But well, It is a customary part of a tourist’s experience of Taipei’s night life.
It is located at the Shilin District, the former place of residence of Kimassou, Ketagalan of Pingpu.
However, DO NOT stop at the Shilin station if you are taking the train, but instead to Jiantan Station – it is about a 5 to 10 minutes’ walk away. (I usually plan a National Palace Museum 國立故宮博物院 visit before this, as they are kind of in the same direction via transport.)
As in any night market, the atmosphere is busy and thriving, with massive crowds buzzing everywhere. People mountain, people sea.
The design is such that it gives shoppers the best possible shopping experience. Lose track of time as you maneuver your way around the labyrinth of alleyways.
A portion of the market is covered with a high ceiling to allow shoppers to shop all they want even when it rains.
That is where it houses the B1 Food Court, a basement to explore for more treats. My qualms is, they sell more or less the same type of food here – Oyster Omelet, Stingy Tofu, Fried Chicken.
Deep fried food of some kind.
Of all the stalls in the basement, I settled for Zhong Cheng Hao Fried Oyster Omelette 忠誠號蚵仔煎 because it is one of the most popular shops (though I cannot ascertain if it is the best).
The Oyster Omelette (NTD60) is perhaps the most popularly recommended. It combines egg and potato starch, then filled with small oysters before frying in pork lard.
A sauce is poured on top, usually a chili sauce with lime juice.
Compared to the Singapore versions, the Taiwanese take is usually sweeter and stickier, which I don’t mind having really (but I know not everyone is used to it).
My take is, enjoy what different cultures and variations present.
While the Braised Pork Rice aka Lu Rou Fan (NTD25) was more or less average for it, I thought that the soft cooked rice noodles (NTD35), first fried then steamed then topped with braised meat, was a worthy try.
Next is the notorious Stinky Tofu (NTD50, SGD2.24). As they say, the smellier, the better. Follow your nose and you’ll track it down somewhere along the food street.
It is a fried-then-halved fermented tofu, served with pickled veggies. Eat with chili sauce to make it more bearable. Or pair it with Lamien Noodles (NTD$50, SGD2.24) topped with sweet peanut sauce, garnished with slim cucumber threads.
A famous stall at Shilin is Zhong Former Shanghai Pan-Fried Bun 鍾家原上海生煎包, serving pan-fried dumplings (NTD12 for one piece) in which the bottom layer would be crispy, bursting with juices within.
They use Korean cabbage which adds a fresh-crunchiness within, but some times you may find dumplings with skin already broken.
For a taste of authentic Taiwanese Mee Sua, head over to Ah Liang Mian Xian 阿亮面線 (which is near the temple).
There is a moderately long line for this stall, it is decent but I won’t say it is the best. The base texture could have been thicker with more flavours.
Another talked-about items are the Taiwan Xiang Gang, and the Small Sausage in Large Sausage (大腸包小腸), a Taiwanese snack invented in the late 20th century.
It is a Taiwanese sausage wrapped in a sticky rice sausage, often served chargrilled.
If you’re into crunchy fried items, they’re everywhere. You can smell them everywhere.
Have some deep-fried skewered fish balls, or Taiwanese fried chicken (the Hot Star brand is Shilin homegrown).
Wash them down with some herbal drink (because everything you eat would be heaty), thirst-quenching lemon aiyu jelly juice, made with a type of fig.
Take the MRT Red Line to Jiantan Station (劍潭), not Shilin Station. Jiantan is one station before Shilin. Exit via Exit 1, then cross the street to enter the night market. No sweat as it’s just a few-minute walk.
If you prefer to take a cab, ask the driver to take you to the original main entrance of the market. This area has “more character” than the renovated portions.
If you have the time, get there early and don’t wait ‘til midnight — most food vendors will have left by that time. Late evening is the best time, but please, not too late!
Shilin Night Market
No. 101, Jihe Road, Shilin District, Taipei City, Taiwan 111 (Nearest Station: Jiantan)
Tel: +886 2 2881 5557
Opening Hours: 5:00pm – 2:00am Daily
Google Maps – Shilin Night Market
December 08, 2018
December 04, 2018