Feast for the Senses: How to Eat in Taipei

Written by: Carla De Guzman/Wednesday, Dec 28, 2016 03:04 AM

Header Image: iStock.com/AsianDream

Taipei is a fast, fun and modern city, and after a long day working or touring, both locals and tourists flock the streets to the world-famous Taipei night markets. Streets are filled to the brim with food carts and hungry foodies searching for the next best thing to eat. For anyone who has never grappled Taiwanese food before (or don’t read Chinese at all), it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Think of it as Divisoria for food. You need to prep yourself and get ready to experience the goodness that’s behind the smoke and smells of the Taiwan Night Markets. We recommend using your five senses to help you feel your way into it. 

 

See

 

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Photo by Carla de Guzman

Take a quick walk through the area and see what’s out on display. Some stalls have mini tables set up where you can take a peek at what everyone’s ordering and identify what is good. It’s easier to imagine eating something if you can see it. Most stalls also make their food on the spot, so you can check out how they fry that custard or grill those mushrooms. 

 

Smell

 

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Photo by Carla de Guzman

There’s nothing like the stench of stinky tofu in the air to let you know that you’ve stumbled into a night market. Steam and smoke from food is inevitable, and highly abundant at the night market. Take a whiff and see where that takes you. 

 

Listen

 

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Photo by Carla de Guzman

Check out what other tourists are mentioning while they’re walking through the market. Crowding is also a good indicator if there’s a food item nearby that you have to try. Line up if something interests you, and maybe ask a nearby local our tourist if they know what’s going on. One great thing about the locals is that they are very accommodating of foreigners, and will try their best to explain what you’re lining up for. 

 

Taste

 

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iStock.com/r-monochrome

After you’ve tried a few dishes, you get a sense of what Taiwanese food should taste like. Spicy, savory and strong. They love adding a kick of flavor to food that would otherwise be considered tasteless. Let your tastebuds tell you what you want to try out. 

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iStock.com/marilynyee

If all else fails, here are the names of specific foods almost every night market has that you can’t miss: 

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Do you have your own night market favorite eats? Let us know in the comments below!

 

About Carla De Guzman
Carla de Guzman is the author of self-published books Cities, Marry Me Charlotte B! and We Go Together. She loves to travel, coming home to her dog Kimchi and spending her weekends having dinner with her crazy family by day. By night, she’s writer and an artist, spending her midnights at her desk. Follow her on Instagram (@somemidnights) for more!
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