A small bustling night market near a beautiful temple
Luzhou Night Market 蘆洲夜市 (also Lujhou Night Market) is a small night market in the north western part of Greater Taipei. Luzhou used to be a city on its own, but it's now a district of New Taipei. Since November 2010 Luzhou is accessible by the MRT orange line and that's why the night market is not so hard to find, even if you visit that area for the first time like me. It's a nice little night market with some decent food, but a little bit too noisy, for my taste. It may not be my favorite night market, but it's not the worst either. I think they're not used to foreign visitors, I was looked at a lot, especially because I was taking a lot of photos. Maybe they thought I was a foreign reporter.
MY IMPRESSION: The night market is stretched over two long crossing streets and if you look on a map below, you will see that it looks like a cross. The central area is the busiest and there's also the famous Buddhist temple named Yonglien temple 湧蓮寺, which is definitely one of the most beautiful temples in the Greater Taipei area. The area is pretty clean, but the scooters are making a lot of noise and they're whizzing by nonstop, which makes it a little uncomfortable to walk. The market is also full of cheap stuff, from clothes to household necessities. I think, if you walk slowly, you see most of the market in 15 minutes.
WHAT KIND OF FOOD IS COMMON: The first thing you notice is the abundance of stalls selling roasted chicken meat (usually meat by-products) and dry tofu. I think same as steaks are popular in Zhonghe, the roasted chicken is popular in Luzhou. This type of roasted food is called tankao 碳烤 (tàn kǎo). Other than that, there's a whole variety of food available on this market. I've seen a lot of fruit sold, there were also many stalls selling noodles, but some other shops were a little different. There's one stall that sells meat wrapped in a cabbage, similar to what we call sarma in Slovenian. But the Taiwanese dish tastes very different. This type of food is generally called black wheel 黑輪 (hēi lǘn). As for deserts, we tried the so called triangle pancake with sesame filling and fried yam balls 地瓜球 (dì guā qioú), both very delicious.
MUST-TRY FOOD AT LUZHOU NIGHT MARKET: I would recommend you to try the roasted chicken parts, which are so common here, the meat wrapped in cabbage leafs and the fried yam balls, they're very yummy. The pancake is not bad either, but quite fulling.
Let me show you a video and photos of the Luzhou Night Market (March 2011):
Turn down your volume, the market is quite noisy.
We bought the roasted chicken near the temple. But because it takes some time, we walked around and came back later. We went to the Western part of the market, which is the smallest.
This part has few restaurants and stalls with more expensive food.
POPULAR STALL: ROASTED CHICKEN AND TOFU 蘆洲碳烤老店
I love chicken meat and this one was perfectly roasted and spiced. Totally recommending.
We walked further to the southern part of the market, which is the longest.
POPULAR SNACK: TRIANGLE PANCAKE
This triangle pancake was very yummy, especially the sesame filling. Recommending.
POPULAR STALL: MEAT WRAPPED IN CABBAGE 川野黑輪
I have to say, to my surprise, the dish is very yummy. I totally recommend it to you. It's something you won't eat every day, but it's really worth a try.
At last, we went to the eastern part, this is what we saw.
POPULAR SNACK: FRIED YAM BALLS 地瓜球
Just before leaving the market, we saw this shop, that's making home made noodles right in front of you. We bought 3 noodles for 100 NTD (2.5 euros) and we also got the home made sauce with them.
There's a whole variety of noodles available and unlike the ones in supermarkets, which are hard like concrete, these are fresh and soft. My girlfriend made them for us and they were really soooo yummy. Reminded me of the ones in Ilan City. I think I would return to this night market only for the noodles and if you live around the Luzhou area or even in other parts of Taipei, this is definitely a cheap and tasty replacement of the instant noodles you buy in supermarkets.
Visiting this night market is not so hard. From Taipei Main MRT Station: Take the Red Line north (or in direction to Danshui) for 3 stations and then switch the train at the Minquan West Road Station to the Orange Line in direction to Luzhou for 5 stations. Alight at the Sanmin Senior High School Station and go out at Exit 1 and then walk right to the Fuxing Road and at the first intersection turn left. You should reach the night market in about 5 min from the MRT station (Map by Google, click on it to see the Google Maps version).
IN CONCLUSION: This is a small and noisy night market that caters to the local population. It's not really famous like some others in Taipei proper, but it's still a decent one, that is now easier to find and has a solid variety of Taiwanese delicacies to offer. I've been to many night markets and I'd place this one somewhere in the middle, especially when compared to other night markets in the greater Taipei area. I recommend you to visit, if you're ok with scooters rushing by and a lot of noise. I think the roasted chicken is really yummy and the temple is magnificent and these are two good reasons for you to visit Luzhou. Go and visit, the locals will surely appreciate more foreigners enjoying their food.