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Thursday, March 03, 2011

Shida Night Market, Taipei

One of the most popular spots in Taipei for young people


Taiwan Night Market List
Shida Night Market 師大路夜市 (actually Shida Road Night Market) is a popular night market in the southern part of Taipei proper, located between two biggest universities in Taiwan, namely Shida 師大 (short for National Taiwan Normal University) and Taida 台大 (short for National Taiwan University). Because of the proximity to these famous universities, this night market is full of young people, among which are many foreigners, who come to Taiwan to learn Mandarin at the NTNU. Shida is together with Shilin Night Market one of the most crowded night markets in Taipei, especially on weekends.

MY IMPRESSION: The Shida night market experience is overwhelming! I strongly advice you to pay a visit, when you're already an experienced night market visitor. What I want to say is: You need to be totally fine with huge crowds. There will be people pushing from left to right, from back to front and you can't do anything. You can only walk at minimum speed and hope for the best (check my video below). Aside from the crowds on weekends, this night market is not really what I understand under that name. It doesn't have a main entrance with a big gate and a name on it, hence it's not considered a traditional night market. Most parts are occupied by shops selling all kinds of stuff, but mostly clothes and accessories. Only a small part looks like a typical Taiwanese night market and that area is so crowded, that it's very hard to find a place to eat. If you order a snack from a stall, you have to eat while walking, because people move and push you forward, but that's not really comfortable. I have to say: I would not return to Shida Night Market to eat food from the hawkers. If you want to visit this night market, it's best you focus on the wider area and check the numerous restaurants there. Don't go into the crowded area, you'll only lose your mind and waste time. But if you must, well... your choice. You've been warned, though. Other than that, I have to add that the whole area is very clean and fragrant, something which is not very common at traditional night markets.

WHAT KIND OF FOOD IS COMMON: This night market is really loaded with food, but less so with hawkers. Sure, you have some stalls selling the regular night market food such as takoyaki, chicken cutlet, buns, crepes and all kinds of noodles. But those are only few. Shida is more like a modern evolved version of a night market. It reminds me of Ximending, only the lanes are narrower and more crowded. The best food is found in the various restaurants in the area, of which are many preparing delicious foreign food. From American to Italian restaurants, from Indian, Japanese, Korean to Tibetan and Malaysian food, you can find cuisine from almost any country in the world. There's a restaurant selling egg tarts from Macau, the owner is real Macanese. You can also find a restaurant with only vegetarian food and judging by the big number of visitors, it must be pretty good. As for the most crowded area, almost every stall is famous and popular. I remember there are huge queues for a Taiwanese crepe. It's just hard to mention everything here, best is you explore it for yourself. I'm sure you'll find lots of good stuff.

MUST-TRY FOOD AT SHIDA NIGHT MARKET: I would recommend you the crepe, but the stall is massively besieged. I guess you need to come early and during the week, not weekend, if you don't want to stand in the middle of huge crowds. I heard a stall selling tteokbokki is very famous, you could try this popular Korean snack. And there are many Indian restaurants in the area, my girlfriend told me they're pretty good. When we tried to go to one, it was full. So we decided to go and look for something else. We visited a restaurant with Tibetan food and I have to say I highly recommend it to you. Read more below.

Here are some photos of the Shida Road Night Market (Feb 2011):

Young people flocking to the Shida Night Market.

Small lanes everywhere with shops and restaurants. This one was not so crowded.

And the bigger the crowds get, the closer are we to the central part.

This area is full of shops, not many hawkers here. You need to walk further.

Up to date fashion is everywhere here.

Hip restaurants like this one can be found everywhere here.

And then we've reached the central part and the masses were becoming huge.

I made this video while walking there. This will show you what's awaiting you.

Can you take it? I can, but it's not something I would like to experience every weekend.

That was exactly my thought, while walking through the crowd.

Another hip shop.

Back inside mingling with other visitors.

Where to go? Where to go? I felt a little lost.

And then we reached the area with some hawkers and stalls.

Many cute girls work here. Shida is definitely a place to see beautiful people.

At this part, we only ordered a soft bun with meat. It wasn't bad.

And then we left the crowded part and went to the main Shida road, we crossed it.

SAMDON TIBETAN RESTAURANT, SHIDA:

As we crossed the Shida road, we saw a small park. Opposite of there you can find small lanes with restaurants. One of them is full of various foreign restaurants, I saw Indian, Korean, Japanese and Tibetan. We planned to try some Indian food, but I felt why not try something new? And so we ended up in the Samdon Tibetan Restaurant. And we were pleasantly surprised.

The exterior and interior part of the restaurant: A big Tibet flag takes the central spot.

Not sure, if Tibetan flags are allowed in China, but in Taiwan this is no issue. I think for the average Taiwanese person Tibet is like a foreign country they have heard of, but know very little about. I have to say the same applies to an average Slovenian like me. I knew Tibet from history class, but when it comes to the Tibetan cuisine, I had no idea how it looked like. "How bad could it be?", I thought, before I entered the restaurant. Luckily, we chose the right food and had a very good experience.

I had Tibetan milk tea, which was very good, but the taste was totally unique. It tasted like tea, but looked like milk. My girlfriend had a yogurt. And she ordered Tibetan fried noodles. It was very tasty.

I ordered Tibetan steamed dumplings. The sauce was spicy, but very tasty. I liked the dish very much, but that's because I'm a big fan of dumplings. We paid something over 400NTD (10 eur). I highly recommend this place, but I can't guarantee that other food is as yummy as these two dishes.

The Taipower Building MRT Station was very crowded, when we were returning.

HOW TO FIND SHIDA NIGHT MARKET? SEE MY MAP:

Longshan Taipei Map
Take the Green Line train and exit at Taipower Building MRT Station, go out at Exit 3 and walk for 3 minutes and you are there. (Map by Google, click on it for a Google Map).

IN CONCLUSION: This night market is vibrant and crowded, full of young fashionable people, most are students. You'll also see a lot of foreigners here, mostly sitting in various restaurants and wacky bars observing the hustle and bustle of the market. Don't go here, if you hate the crowds or if you want to get a lot of food for small money. The prices here are higher, because there are not so many hawkers. If you take all these things into account, you can have a lot of fun here. Best is you come with a group of friends and visit some of the interesting restaurants in the area. I'm sure you'll have a good meal and a pleasant experience.

25 COMMENTS:

您真的很愛臺灣喔..幫我們介紹臺灣給外國人..真的謝謝您..也希望您的中文越來越好..將來去更多臺灣的美麗地方..如蘭嶼.綠島.澎湖..加油!!

Hahaha. So I was reading and when you said, "Young people flocking to the Shida Night Market", I read flocking as "f##cking." LOL

Anyway, I would love to see that night market. It sounds interesting. I would go to Taiwan but I'm broke. :p

Tapei night fever! staying alive staying alive... ah ah ah ah staying aliveeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
:-)

@Hans: Yes, I do love Taiwan and I love to explore night markets and other parts of the country. I will 加油 and hopefully visit those beautiful islands :)

@Gnetch: Oh my.. naughty girl :P

@Daisy: hahaha...

Ahh, I don't think I could handle the crowds. The food at the other markets you highlighted looked tastier too, though the Tibetan restaurant sounds interesting.

@Becks: I agree. This won't be my favorite night market, that's for sure. But if I had a date and would want to bring my girl to a special place, I'd choose one of the numerous restaurants in the area. Some are very interesting.

Ooo yes!! Shida night market, one of our favouites. I lived (but in 1994 have left Taiwan for good) in the old-back-door from MTC we often walked around that area, glade to see your photos, but barely to recon any of stalls

@Alice: I guess a lot has changed thru time :) Thanks for your comment.

WOW... UR SITE REALLY INTERESTING... BEEN TO TAIWAN SO MANY TIMES BUT NOT ABLE TO FIND SO MANY THINGS... M USING URS AS A GUIDE FOR MY NXT TRIP TO CONQUER ALL THE NITE MKT

@LJLL: Thank you. That's my point of blogging, to help other people and have fun like I do :)

Hey MLK. Would the market be crowded on a Thursday night? My family and I are arriving on the morning of Thursday, September 1, and I was thinking that might be the best time to visit a night market because it is not a weekend night.

@Tommy: It will still be crowded, but a little less, I guess. Worst is Fri/Sat/Sun, especially after 7pm. If you come after 5, should be fine. The area is just full of young people, students, many of which are foreigner, so it has a certain international atmosphere. But when it comes to crowdedness, it's very like other Taiwanese night markets :)

Thanks! I've been searching for Shida reviews all day!

I love Shida Night Market !! ;) a lot of beautiful memories coming to me ,when I saw those pictures.

Renata

@Renata: Thanks for your comment.

Is Shida Night Market more recommanded then Raohe Night Market? Both I never went before, but am only chosing one to go as my itinenary is already very pack :"p

Ms Frances

@Ms Frances: The answer is very simple. If you like to be among young people, like to go shopping for clothes and don't mind spending more money for a fancier restaurant, then Shida is better choice for you. If you like traditional street food, which is cheap andaplenty, then Raohe is a better choice for you.

Is this the same as Gongguan Nightmarket? I read from elsewhere that this is at Gongguan MRT station (公馆站) - exit 3.

Randy

@Anonymous: No, it's not the same, but they are close. Gongguan Night Market is not an official night market, it's a small street with stalls, much close to the MRT station. Shida is huge compared to that and you have to walk a bit further.

Hello! Can we get kids shoes or toys at this market? And also adult t shirts during december period as I am going next week...

Or any other night market is worth going? I have been to shilin and raohe night market, only mainly food available...

@MS Lim: Well, hard to say, because I haven't been there for a while. It's more suitable for teenagers, street fashion, accessories and stuff. You can go to Tonghua Night Market, it's close to Taipei 101. Lots of stuff for shopping there. A good one for eating and my favorite is Ningxia Night Market.

I just visited Shida night market. I didn't expect to find so many wonderful street food there. The 盐酥鸡,卤味,crepe, just to name a few, are the best of their kind I've tasted in taipei.

Wow, thanks for this, I happened to be browsing randomly and came across your post about Shida and it really took me back. I lived on one of the night market's alleys for about year when I was foreign English teacher and this really brought back memories of that time of my life! I have some great memories of my time there.

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