A popular night market near Taipei 101
Tonghua Street Night Market 通化街夜市 (short Tonghua Night Market, sometimes also Linjiang Street Night Market 臨江街夜市), is a popular tourist night market in Taipei, located close to Taipei's landmark building Taipei 101 in the Xinyi commercial district. The two names come from the fact, that the market spans over two different streets. Tonghua is together with Shilin, Huaxi Street and Raohe Street Night Market one of the most famous and popular night markets in Taipei.
MY IMPRESSION: This would probably not be my favorite night market, but I have to say it wasn't that bad. I was a little troubled by the narrow main lane and the huge masses of people, which somehow push you forward in a certain tempo. I didn't like it, when I bought food, that there was no space to stand and eat. I guess most Taiwanese don't mind walking and eating, but I usually look for a small spot on the side to enjoy my snack. Apart from that issue, I have no other complains here. The food is good, but from what I've seen, nothing that I would die for, but overall on a very high level. Another problem may be accessibility. The night market is not really close to any MRT station. We took a bus from near Taipei 101, but that was easy, since my girlfriend is Taiwanese. If you're a foreigner, you could take a cab, I think it would cost very little, because the night market may be 2-3min away from Taipei's most famous building.
WHAT KIND OF FOOD IS COMMON: The food is more or less same as on most night markets in Taipei. You will see the salty chicken and the marinade, the fried stinky tofu, all kinds of fried meats, hot dogs, sausages, steaks, tea shops and fruit stalls. The dish that stood out for me was the sausage in rice wrap 大腸包小腸 (tàcháng pāo shiǎocháng, literally "big sausage wrapping a small sausage"). I also loved the fried stinky tofu 一口金酥臭豆腐 (īkǒu chīnsū chòutòufǔ, literally "one bite golden crispy stinky tofu") and the small wheel cakes 車輪餅 (chēlún pǐng).
MUST-TRY FOOD AT TONGHUA NIGHT MARKET: I would recommend you the sausage in rice wrap, the stinky tofu and the wheel cakes. All of these were decent snacks and I think the taste should be acceptable to Western adventurous taste buds, especially when it comes to wheel cakes.
Let me show you some of my photos and videos of Raohe Street Night Market (Feb 2011):
POPULAR SNACK: SALTY CHICKEN 鹽水雞
POPULAR SNACK: FRIED STINKY TOFU 一口金酥臭豆腐
POPULAR SNACK: SAUSAGE IN RICE WRAP 大腸包小腸
Slowly approaching the end. The market is not really big.
Fried squid. Very common food in Taiwan's night markets.
Shaved ice dessert. But these things can also be in a sweet soup.
These hot dogs are popular. They look yummy, but we haven't tried them.
POPULAR SNACK: WHEEL CAKE 車輪餅
This one here is filled with ground peanuts. Very yummy.
This stall makes yummy small cakes shaped like wheels with different fillings. The whole procedure takes some time, but it's worth the wait. These are some of the flavors you can choose from.
HOW TO FIND TONGHUA NIGHT MARKET? SEE MY MAP:
Best way to go to Tonghua Night Market is by cab, but it's also possible to walk from Taipei 101, but it may take 20-30 minutes. Click on map for Google map, the original source.
IN CONCLUSION: Usually labeled as one of the must-see night markets in Taipei, I think you would not miss a lot, if you skip this one. Especially, if you only have few days in Taipei, I would advise you to visit the one in Shilin and some others, which are easier to access with the MRT. If you have more time in the city, come here and see the hustle and bustle of local and foreign visitors strolling down the main lane. The food won't disappoint you, but if you're adventurous and want to eat something extraordinary, go to Raohe Street or near the Longshan temple, you'll find some of the more exotic food there. For a decent solid food experience, Tonghua should be a good place to be for you.