We have not been to 士林夜市 Shilin Night Market ever since we first visited Taiwan in 2009, so we thought why not revisit it since it was renovated some years back.
士林夜市 Shilin Night Market was set up way back in the early 1900s and remained at the same location for many years until it had to be demolished and rebuilt in 2002 because of sanitation, electricity and safety considerations. It took the government a long 10 years to rebuilt the night market and the new market officially opened on Christmas Day in 2011. It remains the most popular night market for tourists and you can find so many tourists walking towards it the moment you exit from 捷運劍潭站 Jiantan Station. The market has now divided itself into the street level stalls and the basement food stalls (although some food stalls are still found on the street level).
We started rather early, around 5pm, so some of the shops were still setting up, and the crowds were not as crazy yet. It was quite pleasant to just do some window shopping. Of course, no trip to a night market was complete without trying any food stuff, so we still managed to eat a little.
- We tried a 舊漫窯烤蔥油餅 Scallion Pancake (NT30). This is a chain of scallion pancakes all over Taiwan with its main branch in 公館 Gongguan. Because it was baked in a kiln (as opposed to the usual deep fried), it was not oily and the skin retained its crispiness while the spring onion had the usual fragrance and juiciness.
- We visited the 地下美食街 Basement Food Streets, but nothing looked really appealing. The stalls were mostly selling similar zichar stuff and the ambience was really quite different from the street stalls. We wondered what was the deciding factor on whether a stall should open on ground floor or basement and concluded ourselves that the basement must be primarily meant for stalls that needed big cooking equipment, like zichar stalls. The touting also reminded us of Newton Circle Food Centre, which is most definitely a tourist trap. After making two rounds, we decided to get some bitter gourd juice. The stall recommended 鳳梨苦瓜汁 Bitter Gourd with Pineapple juice (NT60). We requested for less ice but the drink turned out to be still very cold anyway 😛 It was very bitter, and we took a loooonnnnngggg time to finish drinking it, haha!
- We were attracted by the sight of the huge cooked turkey sitting at 正宗嘉義火雞肉飯 Jiayi Turkey Rice stall prior to visiting the basement streets, and retraced our steps back for some 火雞肉飯 Turkey Rice (NT40) and 生腸盤 Intestines Plate (NT60). We were very glad that we made the detour, for the turkey rice was one of the most outstanding item we tried in all the night markets during this trip. The shredded turkey, rice, and gravy combination was excellent! The chef was a little grouchy though, and a few potential customers left when they were told that no outside food was allowed.
- We continued to walk the other areas in the night market, and ended off with some vegetables from 阿姨塩水雞 Auntie Mixed Vegetable at the street opposite the night market, where there were seating available just in front of the stall. We had selected about 5 items (Broccoli, 胡须菜, 四季豆, 豆腐, Radish) for NT100, but there were additional peas, chicken leg, okra, capsicum, etc, added in when the vegetables were tossed together. Not bad at all!
With our bellies close to bursting, we slowly made our way back to the subway station and called it a night 🙂
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