There are many night markets in Taiwan but since I live in the Taipei city area I was only able to visit the 5 major ones. First night market I visited when I came back was Shida Night Market (師大路夜市). It is located near the GongGuan so I am combining the two. This is a very populated night market by local and international students since it is by National Taiwan Normal University. From elegant restaurants, boutiques, or street side vendors, this market has it all! Even though it is not as large as the Shilin Night Market it has a different variety of foods.
It’s a great place to shop if you’ve recently moved to the area and need small, basic appliances, dishes, writing and postal supplies, and other practical things for your new apartment. Also since it’s located near the university, there is several bookstores and stores to buy school supplies.
Shida Night Market is like a maze. There’s so many streets that led to alleys that branch off to little alleys. And it’s always bustling with people. Generally students since the National Taiwan Normal University (NTU) is in walking distance. On my third trip here I went with Jeff Fang to visit NTU because it was the university that my Dad went to. I chose to do my internship this summer at a private medical university (Taipei Medical University) instead of NTU and let’s just say he wasn’t the happiest.
If you’re standing in line and your street vendor suddenly packs up and pushes her cart into a back alley, it’s nothing personal. She just got word that the police are coming. Some vendors operate illegally, and an informal, yet effective, network of runners warns them of surprise police inspections. This is a bewildering treat for a clueless foreigner. In your ensuing footrace with all the other customers, remember to keep sight of the cart as well as trying to keep your place in line.
Shida Night Market 師大路夜市.
Pick and choose what you want and they’ll bag it up for you.
There is everything from different meats, tofu, fish, and vegetables.
Fresh made bread.
Look how long that line is!
Freshly squeezed lemonade.
In every night market you can at least two or three of these lemonade stands. It’s freshly squeezed and iced. They even hand out samples if you don’t believe it.
For some reason, only cute girls sell from these stands. Interesting marketing strategy eh?
Easily mistake taken for Tempura but this is boiled, not fried. Tampura is fish meat paste mixed with starch. It comes in long shapes, round shapes and flat shapes. They stick them on skewers and you can pick and choose which ones you want. Usually served with a thick peanut sauce.
A type of Japanese confection that consists of two small pancake-like patties made from castella with a sweet red bean paste filling. Castella is a type of sponge cake. In Taiwan they pipe the castella in round iron cast pans and then pipe in the red bean filling.
You can also get the dorayaki with cream.
Doremon would have approved!
Mantou is a steamed bun that is made with milled wheat flour, water and leavening agents. There is a popular bake shop called Hei Tang Mantou along one of the streets at ShiDa night market.
Mantou flavors include the original, wheat, brown sugar, and onion. My favorite is the brown sugar which is impossible to find in the States. Or at least in Texas.
Fresh BBQ meat.
生煎包 Shengjian Bao.
Hand made right in front of you, pan fried right in front of you, can it get any better than that? This place is super popular. So come right up, take a number and get in line.
Chinese egg noodles that are made from wheat flour. The texture is slightly chewy and soggy which is created by the use of soda water when making the dough. When it’s consumed on birthday, it’s refered to as Longevity noodles.
A hip, and modern frozen yogurt shop serving up a frozen treat. White low back chairs line up against the bar style tables with club inspired lights and flooring. We got the Toyko Reverie, which is frozen green tea yogurt, mochi, and aloe. I wasn’t a fan of the aloe but Jeff didn’t seem to mind it. Costing only $65NT, other frozen yogurt flavors include Mango, Chocolate, Berry, Lychee and the new Acai Berry.
Comes in a paper cup and a plastic green spork. I hear it resembles the spoons from Yogurtland.
The best bubble tea.
The one place Jeff said that I must try. Bubble tea shops are scattered throughout Taiwan but the quality of each one varies and this bubble tea place is the best. The bubbles are made with the traditional tapioca flour but cooked with brown sugar. Traditional pearls are slightly sweet but these pearls are bursting with sweetness. And instead of the traditional bubble tea drink that comes with milk tea or green tea, this place serves it up with milk.
Don’t let the first sip of milk juke you out. Once you bite into a pearl, you will experience a brown-sugary-sweet-goodness.
Location: MRT Station Taipower Building, Exit 4 or 5