Taiwan has a reputation as one of the best places in the world to enjoy seafood, with scores of seafood restaurants in Taipei alone. The island has a strong fishing heritage, and it shows in everything that the locals eat, from street food to fine dining. But with so many options to choose from here in Taipei, where should you go? And what if you want to cook your own?
Yes, shrimping is a thing in Taipei, and it’s actually quite a lot of fun. Ask any taxi driver in the city to take you shrimping, and you’ll likely end up in Shilin, a little way past the National Palace Museum. Out here you’ll find a few shrimping restaurants where you get a bucket of bait, a rod, and a chair by a pool where you need to catch your own dinner. Once you’ve got your bucket of shrimp, you wash it, salt it, and throw it on the barbecue. It’s a great way to spend an evening with a few beers and some friends.
Now it should come as no surprise that if you want seafood, then the best place to find it is fresh off the boat. If you’re feeling adventurous, then you can take a bus or train out to the fishing port of Keelung where local fishermen sell their catch daily at Bisha Fish Market. The trip is an experience in itself, but make sure that you bring a cooler bag to put your fish in for the journey back to Taipei.
If you don’t fancy heading outside the city, then try Addiction Aquatic Development. This place combines a fish market, supermarket, and three seafood restaurants all under one roof. It’s a great place to find fresh seafood but an even better place to enjoy fresh sashimi. In fact, you won’t find anywhere like it in the city.
Now there are too many seafood restaurants to list because they are everywhere in the city. The very best though tend to be located in or near a night market. Every neighborhood has its own, and you can spot them by looking for the tanks of fresh seafood at the front door. At these places, the food is usually cheap and pretty good, and there’s always plenty of beer flowing. Locals tend to head for seafood restaurants instead of bars, so you’ll find most are lively places in the evening, with people relaxing over a few drinks and tons of seafood. Wherever you go, make sure to ask for the oyster omelet, it’s a Taiwanese specialty.
Yes, that’s right—seafood on a stick. It’s no secret that the best food in the city is usually in and around the night market areas, but it is a little surprising to find that the tastiest food often comes on sticks.
Head for any of the night markets, such as Shilin or Raohe, where you are sure to find vendors selling all kinds of tasty seafood treats. Squid balls, barbecue squid, fish ball soup and even oyster omelets are everywhere. You haven’t lived until you’ve finished an entire meal while navigating your way through a crowded night market.