Shilin Night Market – 士林夜市

by Danny Lee

Shilin Night Market by See-ming Lee via

Photo by See-ming Lee

There is a saying which I overheard from a fellow tourist and it goes like this…
“You ain’t been to Taipei if you have not been to the Shilin night market!”

As this is a night market, the best time to arrive there is after 8pm when the stalls are ready for business. You will be amazed by the number and variety of Taiwanese snacks and food available here.

How to get to Shilin Night Market

The fastest and easiest way is to take the cab. From Ximending(西門町), it will cost about NT$250-NT$300. The more affordable and convenient way will be to take the Metro Taipei or MRT(捷運) to Jiantan station(劍潭站) which is on Danshui Line (淡水 the Red Line).

Note: There is a station called Shilin along this line. This station is Not near the Shilin Night Market.

Once you alight at Jiantan station, cross the road and you will see a huge single storey complex in front of you – much like Singapore’s very own hawker centre.

I find the place stuffy and reeked of stale oil, so we did not stay long to check out all the stalls. Instead, we followed the crowd and cross the road to the other side where the “actual” action is.

An Amazing Assortment of Taiwanese Snacks

After acrossing the road, you can find rows and rows of stalls selling an amazing assortment of Taiwanese snacks. Most of the stuff are deep fried with dough batter, so they can be very filling. If you intend to try all the snacks, you may want to skip your day meal.

Shilin Night Market Hao Da Chicken (豪大大雞排) by Angus Lau

Photo by Angus Lau

The famous extra large chicken chop(豪大大雞排) can be found here. You simply cannot miss it because of the long queue and it’s light blue signboard. The chicken chop is very crispy, not as oily as your typical KFC fried chicken. The batter has a lot of five spice powder (五香粉) and the outside is dusted with red pepper powder so you don’t need to flavor it with chilli sauce.

I would really like to try out all the oily, fried stuff but looking at my waistline, I did not.

Besides the snacks stalls, they are also many stalls selling the latest fashion from Japan and Taiwan. There are also a lot of stalls selling what I call frivolous stuff like cutesy little ornaments, teddy bears, fashion accessories, etc.

The atmosphere is very carnival like and you can definitely feel the excitement and happiness of the crowd – locals and tourists. Perhaps it is this kind of heightened senses that caused me to be more willing to open my wallet on the frivolous stuff!

Up next… Nanya Night Market – 南雅夜市