Shilin Night Market – Part 1

3 Jan

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What more can be said of the Shilin Night Market in Taipei? Like every self-respecting fooddouche, I make a beeline for the night market almost as soon as I touch down at Taoyuan Airport. In December 2011, they moved the food court to a permanent location in the basement of a new building (pictured above). I didn’t realize the site I had grown to love was a 10 year “temporary” site.

Pictures of the new food area after the jump.

If you can find the new building (which is about 200 meters from the old food court), once inside you’ll see a bunch of lighted signs directing you to escalators and stairs to the B1 level. Considering the old site felt like a bunch of stalls in the ruins of an aluminum siding factory, this level of infrastructure was unexpected.

[* Sorry for the blurry photos again. *]

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The old familiar crowds are still here. For those unused to shoulder to shoulder throngs, get used to it. There are signs directing you that the traffic flows in one direction (counter-clockwise). Surprisingly (and in a sign that Taiwan is not China), people generally follow the rule.
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Here are some pictures of the food (we didn’t get any of this stuff. The stuff we got will be in the next post). Crabs and tofu awaiting a quick fry:
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Here is one of Taiwan’s most famous street food dishes, oyster omelettes: (I don’t really care for these)
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And a picture of one of the fruit stands. You may be tempted to stick to gut-busting fried foods all night (and who can blame you). But it’s easy to forget that Taiwan is a tropical island at a similar latitude as Hawaii. Taiwan is full of delicious versions of fruit you know, and some amazing fruit you may never had (cheremoya!).
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A couple other notes:

– Beware the stinky tofu. It’s hard to overstate how strong the smell is. You should do your due diligence and try it if you never have. On my first trip, I tried it on three separate occasions, so I feel justified in saying it is one of the worst crimes visited upon humanity. But if you say that without trying it, then Das Racist. In any case, unfortunately your walk through the night market is going to be spoiled every couple minutes by deep, intense whiffs of UltraFarts® (that’s the smell of stinky tofu).

– I come for the food, but there is a lot of junk shopping at the night market. You can skip all this junk, but if you want the full experience you can brave the throngs to walk past endlessly repeating shops of low-rent textiles.

Here are a few links to info about the night market:
Wikipedia
My Kafkaesque Life
A Hungry Girl’s Guide to Taipei

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