Taste authentic Taiwanese food and immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of Taipei’s sprawling Shilin Night Market. The market started in the late 19th century, when Japanese immigrants built a day market that operated from a small brick house to sell meat, fish, fruit and vegetables. After World War II, the market grew rapidly today it is one of the most popular in Taipei.
The market is divided into two areas: food and merchandise. Stalls around the traditional Yangming Theatre and the Chi Cheng Temple on Danan Road sell merchandise. Search here for bargains on clothes, hats, shoes, hair products and accessories. Buy kids’ games and discounted electronics or stock up on kitchenware, tools or entertainment. Enjoy a traditional massage or sing karaoke and play arcade games in the indoor game rooms.
Under the roof where the old Shilin Market stood is the famous food court, known for unique Taiwanese dishes exclusive to the market. Treat yourself to an entire evening of tastings from among more than 500 food stalls. Don’t miss the ribs stewed in Chinese herbal medicine, sausage wrapped in glutinous rice, scallion pancakes, Shilin super-sized sausages, stinky tofu, tea jelly or oyster omelettes.
These lively city markets are where Taipei families do their weekly shopping, so expect to mingle with locals and well as sightseers. The busiest period is in the late evening when students and workers pick up dinner on their way home. Be prepared to bargain, shop, eat and people-watch. Wear comfortable shoes as the market covers a large area. Most vendors are gone by midnight, so if you want to sample the local cuisine, be sure to arrive early to avoid disappointment.
Shilin Night Market is located on Dadong Road and is open every evening until midnight with no entrance fee. The market is easily accessible by bus or by taking the MRT train to Jiantan Station.