Shilin is by far the largest and most visited night market in Taipei, with over 500 stalls. But where do you start?! Here are 8 things to eat at Shilin Night Market.
1 – DEEP FRIED SQUID
Massive – and I mean massive – chunks of fresh squid deep fried in a light and salty batter. Cooked to perfection – the squid incredibly soft with the perfect amount of firmness, and a great flavour. $3USD.
2 – BLOW TORCHED BEEF
It’s hard to walk past someone blow-torching chunks of beef on a barbecue and not get sucked in. Not cheap by local standards – 300TWD ($10USD) for a box – nor the most high quality meat by any stretch, but still very tasty. And even better when you throw it together with…
3 – BARBECUED MUSHROOMS
Huge Chinese mushrooms cut up, marinated, salt and peppered, and thrown on the grill. Sounds simple. Tastes incredible. Especially when you have a mouthful of mushroom with some of that beef. Yum. $3USD.
4 – DEEP FRIED MILK BALLS
As a cream-fiend I was quite excited about these and they didn’t disappoint. Not entirely sure how they manage to deep fry milk, but it tastes just like that – a super milky and creamy hot melted centre, coated in crispy, oily batter. A decadent snack for sure. $0.50USD.
5 – HUMUNGOUS TAIWANESE SAUSAGE
Taiwanese sausages are roughly the size of a small country. If you haven’t tried one, don’t expect it to taste like a western sausage. Taiwanese sausages are much sweeter – so much so they verge on “dessert” status – but are packed full of flavour. Not to be missed. $4USD.
6 – GRILLED QUAIL EGGS
Possibly my favourite snack in Taiwan, partly because they feel a bit healthier than most, partly because they are a bargain (a stick of 5 will set you back 30twd or $1USD) and partly because they are utterly chuffin delicious. It’s basically 5 grilled quail eggs on a stick. ‘Nuff said.
7 – CHEESY GRILLED OYSTER WITH PASSION FRUIT
Don’t know about you but I’m personally a tad skeptical about oysters in markets like this. Partly a hygiene thing (if you have read Anthony Bourdain’s ‘Kitchen Confidential’ you’ll know what I’m talking about) but also as from experience, they don’t tend to taste that great. I was drawn into these by the promise of passion fruit, a minor addiction of mine, and came out pleasantly surprised. The sweet & sharpness of the passion fruit with the saltiness of the cheese is a great mix, and the oyster surprisingly fresh. A unique treat. $3USD.
8 – FRESH FRUIT
It might sound mundane, but the fruit at Shilin Night Market is some of the best. The pineapple and mango is particularly good but the stand out was without a doubt the custard apple. The freshest and sweetest I’ve ever had. $3 USD for 100g.
BBQ CHICKEN GIZZARD
Not something I would have chosen but Huong really fancied it and it was bloody lovely! Comfortably the largest chicken gizzard I’ve ever eaten, a great texture and a lovely rich taste. $0.50USD.
LIME JELLY DRINK
Super refreshing quite sweet and a hint of sharpness; the perfect antidote to the aggressive saltiness of Taiwanese street food. $2USD.
These are just a fraction of the incredible range of snacks and indeed full meals you can get at Shilin. If you have been and can recommend any better food, or if you have any questions about my post on the best things to eat at Shilin Night Market, please make a comment below!