On my last Taiwan post, I talked all about the Shilin night market which is the largest night market in Taipei. Today I’m going to talk about a hidden one that’s just as good as the biggest one out there.
I’m talking about the Tonghua night market. It’s located close to Liuzhangli MRT station and has everything you’ll find at any night market, just condensed! Plus I lived a 10 mins walk away so you bet I was here way too often.
One of my favorite places to go here is the hot pot restaurant that’s located to the left of the entrance. It’s a pretty small place but it’s one of the best out there and they’ve received many awards for their food.
If you’re into stinky tofu, this is a place for you because instead of having the typical fried version, they offer it boiled in your hot pot. This way you can try it in a different form. They offer both pre-made hot pots and ones where you can cook the food yourself.
If you choose to get the do-it-yourself version, they give you the soup base and you can cook the food yourself. This lets you avoid the off chance of overcooked proteins!
One of the foods that surprised me the most at the night market was Japanese teppanyaki. If you’ve never had this before, it’s basically when a chef cooks your food in front of you on a flat grill top. You can choose whatever food you like and everything is priced reasonably at 50 – 300NT a plate.
I never had teppanyaki like this before so it was a cheap and low-risk way to try some!
When you arrive, you are given a bowl of rice and a soup. Sometimes depending on the place, you may be able to get a free drink as well. Then the fun begins when they place a foil sheet in front of you and put food on it.
Typically they start off with the beansprouts and veggies before adding on the proteins. We decided to go with the shrimp and the beef. Both were heavily seasoned and a gravy-like sauce was put on top.
By the end of the night you end up with a whole row of food in front of you ready for consumption! You have to eat fast though otherwise your food, especially the protein gets overcooked from the hot flat top.
You can eat everything with the rice they serve or some restaurants offer noodle or fried rice options that are cooked on the grill for you as well.
Remember how I mentioned in the Shilin night market post that the Taiwanese love their potatoes? Well in addition to having them deep-fried, they also serve them candied! They’re coated with this almost rock candy like exterior so they’re crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside!
My FAVORITE treat to get at this night market are the crystal dumplings? I’m not really sure what to call them but it’s a clear chewy exterior wrapped around a paste of your choice. They offer taro, strawberry, honey dew, matcha, plum, and much more
The dough on the outside is made out of tapioca starch and sweet potato starch which makes them really chewy. I couldn’t get enough of them and I wish I could re-create them!
Skewers, skewers and more skewers. This is a must get at any night market. I swear night markets are where portable foods came from! You can choose from a variety of meat, tofu, or veggie offerings in different flavors. The most popular is the stinky tofu.
My favorite out of everything are the fish cakes. They’re so chewy and flavorful once they’ve been on the grill. You’ll never go back to the usual ones you get in udon soup! And at 25NT each? It’s a total steal! You need to be careful though or you’ll end up stacking up your spending!
You can’t go to a Taiwanese night market without going to a shaved ice stand! They’re so cheap for under $2CAD each for 4 toppings!
Another unique find at this night market are the giant egg tarts. They’re at least triple the size of the regular ones in height and they come in a variety of flavors including chocolate, matcha, cheesecake, blueberry and more!
So night markets love their fruit stands but this particular one offers guava slices rolled in salted plum powder. It sounds weird but what results is this mix of crunchy, sweet and sour goodness!
Speaking of weird eats, here’s another one for you. It’s taro ice cream, cilantro, and shaved peanut brittle wrapped inside a thin wrap! It’s cold, sweet and savory and totally messes with you but it’s so good!
Last but not least on the portable food adventure is the rice rolls. It’s basically a tube of sticky rice with a filling in the middle. This can range from something simple like pickled mustard greens to eggs and ham.
I loved getting these for breakfast everyday before work. It was just so portable and easy to eat! Definitely something I miss back in Vancouver!