The Shay Rebellion | Christopher Shay

Taipei’s Night Markets

When the Republic of China retreated from the mainland in 1949, they brought to Taiwan the elite culinary tastes from all over the country. Combined with delicious indigenous food, a Japanese occupation and terrific local ingredients and it should be no surprise that Taiwan has some of the world’s best food. In less than two weeks, I ate the best Shanghai dumplings, fried chicken, pulled noodles and Japanese pork I’ve ever had. Even just one of those meals would worth the plane ticket. The food is so consistent even 7-11 sushi is good.

As a Portlander, I’m very proud of my hometown’s food carts. They’re cheap, yummy and drive a lot of the culinary innovation on the West Coast. But Portland’s Cartopia has nothing on Taiwan’s night markets, the food at Taiwan’s carts are better, cheaper and open later. The markets don’t just have Taiwan’s wide-range food—some have hip clothing stores, cheesey fair games and stalls selling baubles. Walking around Shilin Night Market with a camera was terrific fun with all the different types of people enjoying the place. The only problem? It’s hard to photograph when you’re spending the entire time eating the street food.

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