The Best Markets in Taipei for Food and Souvenirs

At Jianguo Jade Market, you can find not only jewellery, but an array of teapots, combs and other curios as well
At Jianguo Jade Market, you can find not only jewellery, but an array of teapots, combs and other curios as well | © Phillip Bond / Alamy Stock Photo
Taipei’s markets are the lifeblood of the city, and a microcosm of Taiwanese culture. Here are 10 great markets where you can explore all the snacks, souvenirs and second dinners this city has to offer, whether you’re an early bird or night owl.

While city regulations have cut down on vendors in the past decade, these street markets remain an important part of Taipei and show no signs of disappearing from the city completely.

What to know about Taipei’s markets

Opening times: Generally, night market vendors throw open their figurative doors at around 6pm. But if you want to experience the quintessential Taipei market experience in all its boisterous glory, head down after 7pm. Closing time is typically at around 11pm, or even later in the summer months.

Bringing outside food: It’s generally OK to bring a non-alcoholic drink or outside food into a night market restaurant, but try not to make a conspicuous mess.

How to barter: A bit of gentle bartering is expected, especially with vendors who have no storefront. The way to do it is to smile and ask the vendor if they can handle a “discount” or if there’s any way you can save a little money (可以優惠一點點嗎?Kěyǐ yōuhuì yī diǎn diǎn ma?). If you play it right, you can generally cut the price down 20-30%. At flea markets, you can probably get the price down even more.

Night markets

Tonghua Night Market for the best pork belly bao of your life

Market, Asian, $$$
Entrance to Linjiang Street (Tonghua) Night Market
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While Raohe Street Night Market may be the more popular of the two, Tonghua Night Market actually has the same number of Michelin Bib Gourmand mentions. Also known as Linjiang Street Night Market (臨江街夜市), this market shape-shifts between day and night. Selling fresh produce in the morning hours and street food in the evening, foodies will find an endless array of delicious things to discover throughout the day – most notably, the pork belly bao from Shijia Guabao (石家割包). These fluffy steamed buns are stuffed with pork meat that has been stewed in a fragrant broth and seasoned with star anise, cinnamon and other spices. This pillowy parcel comes with a generous helping of piquant pickled mustard greens and a dusting of peanut powder, resulting in a perfect nexus of savoury, sweet and briny flavours. For dessert, grab a couple of mochi filled with freshly ground black sesame paste from Yupin Yuan Binghua Tangyuan (御品元冰火湯圓). These gelatinous, gooey balls of goodness are warmed up and served on a bed of shaved ice and drenched in a fragrant osmanthus blossom syrup (桂花芝麻湯圓冰).
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Shida Night Market (師大夜市) for budget bits and bobs

Market, Taiwanese
Shoppers in Shida Night Market
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This smaller, rowdy market is all about snacks, fashion and a collegiate atmosphere. Located at the axis of several universities (including the famous National Taiwan University and National Taiwan Normal University), you’ll find rows of well-priced clothing, book and art supply stores, plus a stationery emporium stuffed full of the cutest postcards, magnets and notebooks. Head down to Beef Boss (牛老大) to check out their retro noodle-slicing robot and tuck into bowl of saucy beef noodles (牛肉乾拌麵) or red braised beef tendon soup noodles (紅燒牛筋面). Make sure to also pay a visit to Haohao Wei Hong Kong Snack (好好味港式小吃) to try their freshly made Hong Kong-style pineapple buns, served warm with a pat of butter tucked inside (招牌冰火波羅油). Compared with some of the other markets on this list, Shida is a little less manic and even has a few small areas where diners can sit down, rest and eat.

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Raohe Street Night Market for Michelin-approved snacks

Market, Taiwanese
Taipei Raohe Street Night Market
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Raohe Street Night Market gets a lot of attention as one of the oldest and most lauded night markets in Taipei. Clustered around the Ciyou Temple and spanning roughly 600m (2,000ft) in length, the area still gives off an old-school traditional vibe that some of the other night markets have lost in the past few years due to strict new regulations. Raohe has also gotten a lot of mentions from Michelin, sealing its reputation as a foodie favorite. For a taste of the Bib Gourmand (especially if the weather outside is damp), head to Chen Dong Medicinal Pork Rib Soup (陳董藥燉排骨攤位). The nourishing, rich elixir is stewed with Chinese herbs until the meat falls from the bones; it’s a calming balm on the stomach, especially if you’ve been eating too much fried food. Not acknowledged by Michelin but also delicious are the oyster pancakes at Li Ji (李記蚵仔煎), a culinary institution since the 1980s.

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Nanjichang Night Market (南機場夜市), a lesser-known market with history

Market, Taiwanese

Originally a military airport when Taiwan was still under Japanese colonial rule, Nanjichang is another night market that’s not on the docket for most tourists. During your wanders, be sure to pick up a wrap from Wowang Rice Wraps (吾旺再季 潤餅捲專賣), a thin rice-flour crepe filled with a satisfying, moreish mix of veggies, shredded pork, pickled mustard greens and peanut powder.

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Ningxia Night Market (寧夏夜市) for a mouth-watering chicken and rice dish

Market, Taiwanese
Ningxia night market, well known for its wide variety of street food
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Ningxia Night Market has a traditional atmosphere, interesting architecture (like the Chen Dexing Ancestral Hall [陳德星堂]) and lots of delicious finds; this is another market that has retained its neighbourhood vibe. Head to Fang Jia Shredded Chicken over Rice (方家雞肉飯), a restaurant that serves a deceptively simple dish comprising (you guessed it) slow-poached chicken served over rice and topped with caramelised red onion. The market is also home to some of the city’s greatest fried taro balls, which you’ll find at Liu Yu Zi (劉芋仔). Try the traditional flavour, filled with a salty egg yolk (蛋黃芋餅), and revel in the contrast of its crisp exterior and soft, fragrant centre.

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Huaxi Street Night Market for adventurous eaters

Market, Taiwanese
Huaxi Street night market
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The Huaxi Street Night Market, informally known as Snake Alley, is located in an area neighbouring many tourist sites, including several other night markets and Mengjia Longshan Temple. Spanning two blocks, the market’s entrance is marked by a traditional Chinese gate fitted with red lanterns. Though the market features a variety of Taiwanese street food, such as oyster omelets and squid soup, it is most famous for selling a variety of snake delicacies, including snake blood and snake wine. After filling up on snacks, visitors can get a relaxing foot massage or browse in one of the jewellery shops.
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Shilin (士林夜市) for Taipei's most famous night market

Market, Bubble Tea Shop, Street Food
Crowds flock to the famous Shilin Night Market
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Originally a day market in 1909, Shilin quickly ballooned into Taipei’s biggest and most famous market, a raucous warren of food, games and trinkets. Fuel your shopping with a quick stop at the famous Hot Star XXL Fried Chicken (士林豪大大雞排) – this is the original branch of the chain, famed for their massive, crispy cutlets that are big enough to share. Then weave your way around to the opposite side of the market to pick up a few black pepper pork baked buns, fresh from the tandoor-style oven. Finally, complete your glutton’s tour of Shilin with a few pan-fried buns from Zhong Former Shanghai Sheng Jian Bao (鍾家原上海生煎包). When you’ve reached maximum capacity, rest your weary feet at Craft Young or The Star Dart’s Bar.
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Weekend day markets

Taipei Expo Farmers Market for regional specialities

Market, Taiwanese

Located right by the metro and close to the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, this weekend-only market hosts more than 120 vendors under the expo dome, selling specialties from around Taiwan. It’s the perfect place to explore the island’s burgeoning organic, artisanal food movement, as many of the vendors specialize in just one product, or in organic vegetables and fruits. Sip on pink guava juice (紅心芭樂汁) while perusing stalls that sell things like small-batch chilli sauces, organic Pingtung peanut butter, dried fruits, pure mountain honey and special maqaw (馬告) peppercorns that taste of lemongrass. Arrive before 2pm to ensure you don’t miss out on any of the wares on offer.

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Jianguo Jade, Flower and Artists Market for jewellery and other treasures

Market
Jianguo Holiday Jade Market
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Head to this sprawling weekend market located under the Jianguo Overpass and get ready to haggle. Start at the jade market, where in addition to precious stone jewellery, you’ll also find an array of teapots, combs and other curios. Then head south and take a breather in Taipei’s largest flower market, where nearly 200 vendors make the concrete space lush and fragrant. Cross one more intersection farther south (under the same underpass), and you’ll reach the artists’ section, where painters and craftsmen show off canvases and wares. Take in some peace and quiet afterward in the nearby fields of Da’an Park.
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Fuhe Bridge Flea Market for unique trinkets and antiques

Market, Taiwanese

Set beneath Fuhe Bridge on the Yonghe side of the river, this open-air market is full of surprises for the dedicated antique and bargain hunter. There are around 250 official vendors, but lots of hawkers sell wares on the outskirts. Trinkets include old records, cool pottery, porcelain figurines, pieces of ornate tiling and more. This flea market is also located between a traditional market and another flower market, so the shopping just goes on and on and on. Make sure to get here in the morning before 12pm, as most vendors tend to wander off for a long lunch and often don’t return.

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These recommendations were updated on March 9, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.