Entrance to the covered area of the market
Array of vendors at the middle of the road
If you browse through the internet on what places to visit in Taipei, you would absolutely bump into the famous SHILIN NIGHT MARKET! It is one of the largest night market and shopping area here in Taiwan. There are a lot of great food and cheap buys that you just can’t resist. Plus, it’s really easy to go there as Shilin Night Market is just accessible by MRT.
But what can we really expect there? I listed down the 4 things that most people do at Shilin Night Market:
Obviously, shopping is the top reason why people visit this place. Shilin Night Market offers a lot of things from different varieties. From clothes, shoes, bags, and gadgets which are sold much cheaper than at a regular department store and the quality of most items are genuinely good. You can even buy various things for your pets here as well. At the center of the street, you can see an array of vendors selling stuffs that actually contribute to human traffic. Therefore, just expect a crowd of people even if it falls on a weekday.
There are also some stores that offer discounts if you present your passport as proof that you are a tourist. So, if you want to pay less, be sure to bring your passport with you.
Food is what will welcome you when you enter the night market. There are quite a lot of food that you should definitely try – their meat and vegetable bun, jipai 雞排 (chicken breast), fruit shakes, stinky tofu, and many more! Once you are here, you can actually notice that they mostly sell snack foods and because of the tough competition inside the market, several vendors will really convince you to buy theirs by letting you try snack for free. But that what makes this food trip fun – the FREE taste as before you can even decide on which food to buy, you are already full.
Just make sure that you explore towards the end of the Shilin Night Market because there are more food stalls there. Some piece of advice, try those food stalls with long queues as those are probably delicious and worth trying for. Though you need to line up and wait, you won’t regret it.
3. Carnival Games
The colorful balloons and prizes of these carnival games will surely catch your attention. Taiwanese seem so crazy about these games that you can even see adults play and distress themselves. Children and even those who are young at heart can test their skills and luck to win a lot of cute stuff toys, pillows, and dolls. Games like shoot the balloons, toss a ring, throw balls, catch a goldfish, and claw machines are all pretty much popular here. In our generation today, some children didn’t even know these kind of games. But time seem to have stopped for a few decades here as these games keep the tradition alive inside the market. So if you have kids, don’t forget to let them experience the fun like the old times.
4. Souvenirs / Delicacies
Since Shilin Night Market is a popular tourist destination, it is not surprising that there are quite a lot of souvenirs or delicacies sold here which you can bring to your families and friends back to your home country. There, you can find loads of traditional keychains, trendy shirts, figurines, and magnets. All of them sell for a relatively cheap price and they are very light, easy to pack, and excellent gifts for your love ones. Taiwan is also famous for its pineapple cakes which are typically sold at 100NT$ for each box, and the more boxes you buy, the more you can bargain the price.
There is one store in particular that I highly recommend for you to buy, the Pork Jerky Store. They sell crispy tapa of four flavors – original, pepper, seaweed, and seafood. What makes this tapa unique is that you need to refrigerate it in order to preserve its crispiness.
The vendors are very friendly and convincing, especially Tom (the owner). He can talk a little bit of English. Each box of crispy tapa costs 200NT but when you buy 5 boxes, you can get 1 FREE and if you buy 10 boxes, you can get 3 FREE!
But wait, if you want more FREE boxes, you can actually tell Tom that you’ve read this blog post of Kevin and Ann and show him our pictures below. Instead of having just 1 box free for 5 boxes, he can give you 1 more box for free, that would be a total of 2 boxes for FREE! You can save as much as 400NT!
Disclaimer: We don’t get anything from it, we are just helping him promote the Pork Jerky Store as he is so good to us every time we visit the store and their tapas are too good not to share.
The store is located at the covered area portion of the Shilin Night Market. You can in fact see a lot of souvenir items and Taiwan delicacies in this part of the market. Please see below for the map.
SHILIN NIGHT MARKET OPENING HOURS: 3:00PM – 2:00AM
HOW TO GET THERE:
1. Take Taipei MRT-Danshui Line (red line) to Jiantan Station.
2. Go out to Exit 1. If you are visiting in the evening then a lot of people will be walking from the station to the market so it is already obvious which way to go.