Taiwan is well-known for its night markets and iconic street food. After spending 12 full days on the island, I can totally understand why foodies would go crazy here. I told myself I wouldn't eat a lot - that was a massive lie.
Here are all of the night markets I visited in Taiwan and what I ate:
1. Qidu Night Market
This night market is just a small road with about 20 stalls. It's located in Qidu District, around Keelung area in Taipei. If you're planning on visiting Jiufen, Keelung and surrounding areas, Qidu is a good central spot to stay in.
It's about a 5-minute walk away from the Qidu Train Station. Since nightfall is around 5:30pm during the later months of the year, the night market stalls are open by 6pm.
It's a simple night market - food only - great to sample local food. One of the dishes suggested by my hostel owner was their local curry noodles. According to my hostel owner, the curry paste is made daily by the stall owner and the first round is sold out by noon.
It doesn't look fancy, it's just hawker food. But there's a really unique taste to the curry. It isn't the usual type of curry we get in Malaysia with coconut milk and curry powder and other spices. This curry paste is made out of fruits and herbs and then blended with spices. Verdict: It has a little bit of a minty feel to it and you'll feel the warmth rise up from your stomach. It isn't too spicy but it does have that warm feeling after consumption. A bowl like this only cost us $45.
The other dish we were asked to try was the meatball. 肉圆 for those who read Mandarin. Now, this was a little weird for us. We had never seen a meatball like this before. We were used to those cute little ones with minced meat. But this was shredded pork cooked in some red sauce, paired with pickled vegetables, wrapped up in some gelatin-like coating and then fried. One "ball" cut up into small pieces like this cost us $25. Verdict: a little weird, very oriental taste.