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Taipei : Shilin Night Market「士林夜市」

Shilin Night Market 士林夜市

Night markets are essential to any trip to Taipei as well as to Taiwanese culture. 
Today we take a stroll around Shilin Night Market

I discovered the concept while shopping high-fashion at wholesale price in Seoul but after visiting Hong Kong and Taipei, it is kind of obvious that they are something extremely Asian, probably originated in China. So they were popular already in 900, despite the attempts of Tang Dynasty to shut them down through sanctions. But then, economy expanded and so did the then-called Ghost Markets, which were the heart of Chinese nightlife. Some were open at night, some where open 24 hours - along with brothels and restaurants, that usually mushroom around the business districts. As my friend, currently based in Taipei, put it:

"I don't come here for shopping, I just come for the food."

Shilin Night Market 士林夜市
Food this way.

Let's sample a taste of Shilin & Taiwanese Cuisine:

Shilin Night Market 士林夜市
Little sausage into big sausage「大腸包小腸」is like a hot-dog where bread is a rice-filled-sausage.

The market streets are narrow, packed 8as Takeshita Dori in Tokyo) and surrounded by grills, teppanyaki and soup makers. It is smelly. But that's part of the experience.

Shilin Night Market 士林夜市
Shilin Night Market 士林夜市
Deep-fried everything.

Shilin Night Market 士林夜市
Japanese style chiken skewers aka yakitori 「焼き鳥」

Shilin Night Market 士林夜市
The star of the crown - stinky tofu「臭豆腐」which is so stinky that made us feel slightly nauseous.

Shilin Night Market 士林夜市
Beef noodle「牛肉麵」

Shilin Night Market 士林夜市
Oyster omelette 「蚵仔煎」- my friend's favourite

Shilin Night Market 士林夜市
Finally,  tones of tropical fresh fruit!

The market does not end up there, as there're plenty of knick-knacks for sale as well as a Taoist Temple where one can pray, after all these dietary sins.

Shilin Night Market 士林夜市
Shilin Night Market 士林夜市
Shilin Night Market 士林夜市
Shilin Night Market 士林夜市
Shilin Night Market 士林夜市
Shilin Night Market 士林夜市

I hope you get a feeling of the sensory overload of smoke, gold, plates, decorations, red - slightly overwhelming if you ask me, but just like a Barroque Church to foreigners, I suppose...

Shilin Night Market 士林夜市
Shilin Night Market 士林夜市
Shilin Night Market 士林夜市
While there are games and various souvenir stands, still food seems to be the best thing to focus on.

Eat, pray, love - everything is possible around Shilin night market, at the heart of Taipei.

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