Taiwan is notorious for having some of the BEST night markets in the world.
Raohe Night Market
Raohe | The Vibe
Jiufen Old Street
Jiufen | The Vibe
I’ve been reading about Jiufen for ages, most noted for the Old World feel of their cobblestoned streets, the meandering alleys, and thousands of vendors lined up just waiting to hock their goods at passerbys. Spend one hour here and you can easily get lost with every which way to turn. I love that there’s a solid mix of modern boutiques alongside traditional Taiwanese garb, standard noodle restaurants next door to exotic snake tastings, and of course can’t forget why we ever venture anywhere: The food!
Asia also has a very European sensibility where shops start poppin’ off well after midnight. So while we didn’t get the “full” experience of Jiufen since we visited during the day, the town alone left such a lasting impression I’m sure to come back on a future Taipei visit to experience a sky full of lighted red lanterns! A total MUST see!
Shilin Night Market
Shilin | The Vibe
I’m going to start right off by saying, Shilin Night Market was a total disappointment and EPIC FAIL. Where the old world charm of Jiufen had me mesmerized and the yummy eats of Raohe had me completely satiated, the massive size of Shilin along with the rudeness of all accompanying vendors turned me off so much I half wished I went back to Raohe if just for the people.
There’s games, there’s food, there’s shops, there’s merchandise, albeit well organized but in hindsight a total MESS! Come for the gift and apparel shopping, bypass all the ordinary street eats, and you’ll be fine. NOTHING special I felt, and a complete waste of our time.
Bourdain shoulda layed-over at Raohe instead, just sayin’.