Taiwanese Xiao Chi culture/Night markets

Hello dear everyone, :bow: :slight_smile:

I am a MA student studying in London college of Communication, now doing a project about eating experience in Taiwanese night market. I am also the writer of <A DESIGNER’S EYE ON FOOD MARKET: CREATIVE PROJECTS AND RECIPE> published in 2010.
I love cooking and of course enjoying finding the interesting topics that relate to food. :lick:

In Taiwan, Night Market seems to be the place that performs Taiwanese local culture in many social sectors. I am curious about what people think of Taiwanese Night markets at the very first time visiting. Is there any difficulty you found in communicating or getting it adopted? Any thing funny or tricky did you think. Which Night Market is your favourite and why? :ponder:

I am doing the research at the moment and plan to design a new service or guiding system which could provide better and more useful information for foreigners visiting or living in Taiwan. It will be so so so nice that you can give me some suggestion or share your experience on the night market topic.
1000 thanks in advance for your great help. :bow:

By the way, I am going back to Taiwan in the end of September for testing my design, I am looking for Volunteers that would like to get involved in my Xiao-Chi Project. Basically just like join an eating tour with me, haha~ If you are interested, please let me know! :discodance:


There are 1000’s of night markets in Taiwan. one night market here is only about 4 vendors :smiley: so many differnet things, yet they all have so much in common.

not knowing any chinese it might be hard to figure some things out, as some things are new to a westerner. in cities, some people at market speak english…i notice more foreigners actually being vendors at markets now, not just food though.

when you come, if you are down south towards Pingdong I can show you some smaller version night markets and also some around aboriginal areas…though they are all pretty much the same as i see it…food/clothes/games/household stuff/pets/end of market.

Can we get a piece of the pie for our input when you sell it?

I love night markets, and I’m always fascinated by the strange foods available there. Not that I’ll eat everything they offer… duck tongues and rooster combs aren’t exactly my cup of tea. But I love trying out some of the tastier-looking items.

I have few problems communicating because I speak Chinese fairly well. My favorite night market in Taipei is Raohe Street, because it still retains much of the old-time character that was ironed out of the other Taipei night markets by Ma Ying-jeou during his mayorship.

Shilin is next it seems. They want to put the market underground which will make it unbearably hot and greasy. Taipei people will bitch about it but still vote another KMT mayor in the next election.

OT, I am an outlier and really don’t like markets much. Mostly this is because they are dirty, grubby and leave me stinking like a night market afterwards.

Shilin is next it seems. They want to put the market underground which will make it unbearably hot and greasy. Taipei people will bitch about it but still vote another KMT mayor in the next election.

OT, I am an outlier and really don’t like markets much. Mostly this is because they are dirty, grubby and leave me stinking like a night market afterwards.[/quote]

Wasn’t the current location only meant to be temporary anyway until the new one got built? Although in true Taiwan fashion temporary lasted 10 years.

I didn’t understand how important food is for Taiwanese until I arrived in Taiwan. I made some Taiwanese friends and they were quite keen to have me taste many of the different local ‘delicacies’. My first night market meal was some kind of custard-like dessert served in a little plastic bowl with a disposable plastic spoon. I ate it sitting on a tiny, er, plastic stool in the gutter of a dirty lane, with a press of people at my back and scooters, too, crawling past filling the air with noise and exhaust fumes. The dessert was sweet but fairly tasteless, just like you’d make from a cheap packet of powdered dessert found in a supermarket. The experience (which I found quite depressing because my friend was highly enthused by this dish) reminded me of a line in Paul Theroux’s Riding the Iron Rooster in which he says something to the effect that the average Chinese man has no idea how miserable his life is. I was impressed with the sense that food in Taiwan has only recently become abundant and that the Taiwanese, with their obsession with food, are still celebrating this fact.

I don’t mind night market food - meaning, I will eat it - but it is certainly not something I’d write home about. Most of the meat is low quality, like the beef in beef noodles; the soups are basically water and globules of oil, with the bare minimum of animal and vegetable matter (lest you confuse your soup with your glass of hot water); and the standards of hygiene are simply not up to scratch - there are rats and cockroaches aplenty and very little hand washing with soap. If I go to a new vendor the chances of diarrhea are quite high.

You just don’t get Taiwanese culture :slight_smile: .

Night markets have an enormous variety of food, some great, some good, some plain bad. You just keep trying until you find something you like.
Yes some of the stalls are filthy but pick and choose is my recommendation. The poster above notes the ‘bland’ taste of the recommended desert, I guess it was ‘dou hua’. The major problem for Westerners to get used to food, or should I say enjoy, is not the taste but the texture. New textures are not something we are used to in adulthood. In my case it took me years to add these new textures to my palate so that I actually enjoyed them.

As for the soups, there are some amazing soup places in or around night markets, the Chinese medicinal soups with pork bone or black chicken. Now that is a real soup, not the ‘cream of mushroom’ crap you get in the West.

Here is one of my favourite night market snacks of ALL time, sausage in a sausage aka the pork sausage in a rice sausage, add in some garlic, chili or other condiments of your choice. I don’t know who thought of it first but he/she is some type of food genius.
cnngo.com/explorations/eat/t … ats-650024

I don’t enjoy most of it, but I do like the deep-fried mushrooms and oyster omelettes.

Yeah I quite like fried rice, pot stickers and fruit juices, for example. Taiwan’s fruit is really good. :thumbsup:

Not so keen on fish ball soup et al.

Agree with you that there is a lot of cheap low quality stuff, it’s just a case of trying everything to see what you like and also personal taste of course.
Fish ball soup could be a hell of a lot better (and there are suppliers with quality fresh fish balls…I have some in my refrigerator :sunglasses: ).

I wish I could get a master’s degree by discussing and doing tours of night markets, hmmm, seems I chose the wrong area.

I have an idea to open an Asian food emporium in my home country, get a big warehouse, rent it all out to quality vendors that I vet myself , I would do the marketing with a few signature restaurants, that way I don’t have to take a risk of opening my one restaurant and see it bomb but let the market decide itself.

There’s a stall with aboriginal food at the Raohe market which is nice, with grilled pigeons and rice in bamboo tubes.

How many of you, when you first heard of, “fish balls” assumed they meant fish testicles? Don’t tell me I’m the only one. :no-no:

I say Shilin’s the worst night market because it’s so crowded.

Fengjia in Taichung is one of the best, massive and a lot of variety and while it can be crowded nothing like Shilin.

Miaokou Night Market in Keelung: :uhhuh:

Not that I have been to too many night markets, this is the best one I have been to so far.

Yeah, I think pretty much any of us who have seen those pescaterian porno phlix starring jimipresley would innocently make that assumption.

I mean, who knew? :idunno:

I am the sole distributor.

I got the rights on chicken butts sewn up, don’t step on my turf Jimmy!

Also at Fengjia, the best stinky tofu i’ve had so far. Shi-Da night market might be the best up and coming.