No better way to wrap up my posts about Taiwan than one of the most ubiquitous aspects of Taiwanese culture: night markets.
They’re everywhere, they’re diverse and they’re every bit as amazing their reputations.
I was in Taipei for five weeks and had quite a bit of time to explore markets around the city.
Despite its popularity, Shilin Night Market was my market of choice.
If night markets were as prevalent in Seoul as they are in Taipei, it would be fair game to get all sorts of soju wasted prior to attending, during and after. It would be assumed that you would stumble out of the market in a drunken soju stupor. Nowhere is the difference in the drinking cultures more prevalent than in the the apparent sobriety of Taiwanese night markets. If in Seoul, all of the makeshift restaurants near the food stalls would be populated with boisterous one-shots of soju and throw-backs of makgeolli. In Taipei, no alcoholic beverages are even offered at the restaurants in the market. It’s only the rare foreigner who is seen chugging a bottle of beer mid-market.
Magalie and I had not a clue what 90% of the food we ate was and most of the time it was knock-your-socks-off awesome. Hands-down, stinky tofu was my favorite thing to consume in Taipei (and, no, I’m not joking!). People complain about the smell, the taste, and the wretched stench it leaves on your breath, but none of those things deterred me from falling in love. As far as I was concerned, the stinkier, the better.
Below are photos taken at various markets around the city. I have to go with the guidebooks on this one… Shilin is King.