The night market is an essential experience in Taiwan’s food culture. It is famous for varieties of specialty street food especially for the local area such as snacks, fast food, and drinks. The markets usually open around sunset and last until midnight. All the hawkers and vendors are regulated by the Taiwan government and they are taxed and operate with licenses, The night market is a street food paradise to enjoy Taiwan’s local quality foods at affordable prices. It is an amazing experience to bring friends or family to get a variety of food.
Braised Pork Rice (滷肉飯)
Braised pork rice is a classic traditional dish of Taiwan cuisine. A simple delicious pork dish recommended in Taiwan Michelin Bib and known as one of the best Taiwanese foods. This dish is prepared with minced pork marinated with soy sauces and seasonings, then cooked with oil and mixed with mushroom. The specialty of braised pork rice is in the tenderness of the juicy pork. This dish is served in a bowl with halved egg, and is ideal to enjoy with a bite of pork and rice together. It is a satisfying dish with the right amount of fat from the pork and has been a classic simple dish among people’s favorites.
Popcorn Chicken (鹹酥雞)
Popcorn chicken is a golden snack to try, usually with a long line in the night market, and is frequently ordered. Popcorn chicken is prepared by cutting the chicken into bite-size pieces, deep-fried in oil, and added seasoning. It has golden crispy breaded skin with soft tender chicken as the center. This snack can be served with a variety of flavors, most commonly served with fried garlic, chopped basil, sprinkle with pepper and salt. Freshly made popcorn chicken is a quick snack great for enjoying when walking around at a night market and appetizing. In certain places, you can get creative to add extra seasoning and spices as specials.
Stinky Tofu (臭豆腐)
Stinky Tofu might be a food that you hesitate to try especially with its distinct smell. Stinky tofu is known for its unforgettable distinctive aroma where you can spot it miles away. The reason for its name is because the tofu is fermented in water-soaked amaranth. It looks similar to any deep-fried tofu and is commonly served hot with a sour sauce or kimchi. A recommended way to enjoy stinky tofu is to pair it with spicy duck blood. However, I definitely recommend you try regardless of its name.
Oyster Omelet (蚵仔煎)
Oyster omelets are well known in all Taiwan night markets. It is soft, crispy and a great resource of protein. It is cooked with a small oyster on the grill pan, layer with water premixed with flour, and egg mixture. It is pan-seared to get golden brown and crispy. The taste of the oyster omelet is light, fresh, and umami. This is a must-try seafood snack and pairs well with soy sauce, scallions, and seasonings. There are some vendors that serve shrimp omelets that are also a great try if you love seafood and just as amazing as an oyster omelet.
Pepper Bun Cake (胡椒餅)
Pepper bun cake is a pan-seared snack usually freshly cooked by order. Pepper bun is a baked bun that became popular in Taiwan. It is a baked bun made with flour and added ground pork or beef as a filling. The fillings are typically marinated with garlic, sugar, soy sauce, five-spice powder, sesame oil, salt, and pepper. The use of both black and white pepper is common for making pepper buns. The bun is formed with a light piece of dough flattened out, wrapped with a portion of filling, topped with sesame seeds, and baked to perfection. The flavor of pepper bun is strong with a layer of spiciness, and very aromatic.
Potside Sticky Soup (鼎邊趖)
Podside sticky soup is another famous street food in Keelung Night Market, in front of the temple entrance. It is a soup known for its great quality with reasonable pricing. The soup is cooked with meat, shrimp, dried fish, cabbage, mushrooms, celery, and garlic. This soup is so loaded with ingredients it ends up as a soup with more than 10 ingredients. It is a nutrient street food that is cooked in a pot and simmered to result in a sticky texture. The best way to describe it is the soup has a rice milk texture, which comes from the way it is cooked. The soup tastes sweet and refreshing. It is a must-try food in Keelung Taiwan.
Custard pancake is known as car wheel cake in Chinese as it looks similar to the shape of car tires. This has been street food in Taiwan for over 50 years. Custard pancake is made with flour, egg, and sugar to form the outer layer and fill the center with sweet or savory fillings. This street snack is famous because of its soft, smooth and creamy texture with a light sweet taste when it’s freshly cooked. The custard pancake is best served hot, golden yellow with warm fillings and is such a stress relief snack to lots of people. Common fillings for custard pancakes are red beans, butter, chocolate, green tea, peanut, sweet potato, cheese, and taro.
Gua Bao (刈包)
Gua Bao is known as a Taiwanese-style burger. It originated from Fujian China, but is well known as Taiwan street food with different fillings. Gua Bao uses lotus leaf bread, which is different from regular white steam buns. It looks like a bun folded in half like an opened envelope and placed with delicious fillings in the center to serve. The traditional fillings consist of marinated pork belly or stewed meat, sour vegetables, peanut powder, and coriander. This bun can be custom ordered with different fillings. Each vendor in the street market has its own specials for Gua Bao.
Pig Blood Cake (豬血糕)
Pig blood cake is referred to as black cake, a pudding-like texture cake as a snack. It is made with steamed pig’s blood mixed with sticky rice and seasoned with salt. It is prepared with sticky rice so it is easier to form its shape and can result in a soft and chewy texture. The specialty of this snack is to be served with sauce, sprinkle with peanut powder, and coriander. The simple way to enjoy this snack is to add chili sauce or soy sauce with sliced ginger. There is duck blood cake, and it is just as popular in Taiwan as street food.
Taiwanese style hotdog (大腸包小腸)
The Taiwanese-style hot dog is a snack sausage sandwich with layers of sausages. It is made with Taiwanese pork sausage, which is wrapped with sticky rice as form the second sausage. It is cooked on a charcoal grill. The outer layer is crispy with a light meshy texture from the sticky rice. The pork sausage is juicy and delicious. This Taiwanese-style hot dog is special and different from the usual hot dog or sausage with a hot dog bun. This can be served with fried garlic, soy sauce, garlic, parsley, basil, peanut powder, honey, or black pepper sauce. Each vendor has its own version of sausages wraps and specialty sauce to serve with.
Taiwan Street Food Unique Experience
Taiwan’s night market is famous for its food, and it attracts lots of people locally and tourists all the time. It usually opens on a daily basis at nighttime. If you are in Taiwan and want to experience local street food, stop by a Taiwanese night market close by to experience the atmosphere. It is a must-go place to find the best food at an affordable price.