Night Markets, also known as street markets, are a Taiwanese tradition and attraction that are enjoyed by not only the people of Taiwan but also the many tourists who come to visit this beautiful country. While there are a few night markets that occupy actually built & designated marketplaces, most night markets can be found filling the streets and sidewalks throughout Taiwan. Not only do these wonderful markets operate daily, they also offer everything from traditional Taiwanese cuisine to handmade Taiwanese crafts, clothing, snacks or small eats called “xiaochi” and specialty drinks. Night markets originated from the Chinese Tang Dynasty and have grown more and more popular throughout the years. In fact the night markets of Taiwan are huge tourist attractions that many come from afar just to see and be part of. With the many vendors, loud fast paced music, and delicious food you will definitely want to check one out should you ever visit Taiwan! We have a list of some of our favorite night markets you don’t want to miss!
Night Markets of Taiwan
Raohe Street Night Market- This market is one of the oldest and most traditional found in Taiwan and stretches more than 600 yards or roughly 2,000 feet throughout the streets of the city. You will find traditional eats, handmade Taiwanese crafts and an amazing atmosphere of people milling around and enjoying the food and everything this market has to offer
Shilin Night Market- Probably the most famous night market you will find in Taiwan, it’s been operating since 1999. This market is considered a big part of Taipeis nightlife and offers more than 500 stores(vendors). You will also find many local specialty dishes here and a huge crowd of people!
Huaxi Night Market- This market is known as probably the biggest tourist attraction of all the night markets that are found in Taiwan. It has been in operation since the 1950’s and is known for its reptilian ways! Think offerings such as snake wine and cooked snake dishes. In fact it is so well known for its snake fair that its nickname has been dubbed Snake Alley Night Market. Built for the tourists of Taiwan it is also the very first market to operate! Another big attraction found here is the Tainan Tantsumien Seafood Restaurant, with seafood so fresh they literally pick it live before it is cooked for their patrons! This is also one of the few markets that operate in an actually designated marketplace
There literally are so many wonderful night markets and delicious street food to be found in them when visiting Taipei. We especially love these three but recommend to you all to explore and decide for yourself which one you think is the best. Each market may be similar but they also offer different things and have their own uniqueness to them. So forget clubbing and the traditional kind of nightlife should you visit Taiwan, and instead enjoy one of the fantastic night markets. We promise you will not be sorry!
Taiwanese are known for their amazing night markets and much sought after street food! Check out this video for an upclose look on different Taiwanese dishes, preperation techniques, and to catch a glimpse of the streets of Taiwan!
Not only did we want to share our love for preparing delicious Taiwanese recipes and expose the Bay Area and it’s visitors to the joys of our food, we also wanted to create an atmosphere that looked out on the entirety of the melting pot of cultures found here in San Francisco. We opened Hot Pot City Milpitas with the dream of spreading our culture and cuisine here in America and having it alongside the others cultures and their exquisite fare. When we first acquired our restaurant space it was a simple space with room for our kitchen, tables, and Taiwanese decorations. We wanted to “open up” our restaurant so that those from the outside could see in and those from the inside could see out. In fact how amazing do you think it is that we are able to blend cultures their beliefs, traditions, food and religions with those of other beginnings? To me I think that is one of the most amazing things for all people.
So we set out about renovating. First we added custom window replacements, taking out an entire length of wall and installing big windows so that those dining in could see the hustle and bustle of the city going on. Not only that it allowed for those passing by to take a look into our fine establishment and get somewhat of an idea of what we were like.
Next we went about adding our cultures decor and the right type of lighting. On tuesdays and thursdays you can walk past our windows and see one of our talented kitchen staff members stretching dough for our handmade noodles that can be found in our “Niu Rou Mian” or beef soup. Why do we believed this new renovation helped to make our restaurant a success?
Different Can Be Scary- in all actuality when you are from one culture and are used to your cuisine, practices, and beliefs it can be somewhat intimidating to branch off into another culture entirely new. Many people take one look at taiwanese meatballs and can’t fathom how they may be good when they have a sticky rice flour shell around them. The unknown is scary. But if you take that leap and try new things you may just find those meatballs are your new favorite dish of all time.
Embracing Everyone- We don’t want to push our taiwanese culture on everyone we want to SHARE it. San Francisco is perhaps one of the finest cities in the world, in the sense that you can find people from all avenues of life here. One of the things I like best about living in this city and owning a business is that it is ok to be different and embrace your difference.
Dining Experience- Whether you are going for sushi, a fine italian meal, southern BBQ etc, all cultures offer a different dining experience. In the french culture they see meal time as something to be savored and enjoyed, thus taking 2 hour lunch breaks and even longer amounts of time over dinners. Dining in Hot Pot City you are immersed in taiwanese culture and cuisine and get to enjoy our idea of sitting down for a meal.
The world today has begun more and more to embrace difference. Although for some it may be harder than others, our world is a place filled with so many wonderful people and things to learn. Branching out and experiencing other cultures opens your mind and spirit up to all the different walks of life out there. If we can share our culture and cuisine with all that would like to try it and learn about it, we are sharing part of ourselves and the things we cherish and love. Just like our big windows that cover one side of our restaurant, we want you to see into and experience the beauty of the Taiwanese culture!
Lin Ho, Hello,once again. Hopefully you fellow readers have read our last post giving you some insight on the Taiwanese culture. If not that’s ok too, however although we are a culture of East Asia and many associate us with Chinese and the like our culture in all reality is all it’s own. Reading a bit of the facts and beliefs of the Taiwanese people may help you to better understand our food and magnificent dishes. Although a lot of people may first be a bit apprehensive in tasting some of our most popular and delicious dishes because of what they see or the ingredients they read, in general we think you will be quite surprised by the flavor and the incredible satisfaction these dishes bring to your taste buds. When we first opened our restaurant Hot Pot City Milpitas here in the bay area we knew that many of the Taiwanese people in the area would appreciate it, but we also hoped to engage those who were not so familiar. Check out a few of our most popular and famous dishes and get ready to experience true flavor at it’s finest.
Favorite Taiwanese Dishes
You Fan- also known as glutinous oil rice is a small dish made up of a mixture of sticky rice, pork slices, dried shrimp, mushrooms, soy-sauce and shallots. It is usually finished with a chili sauce and peanuts. While it may not be for everyone it is one of my very favorite Taiwanese snacks
Cho Dofu- or in other words stinky tofu. But don’t let the name fool you this dish is actually delicious! Many people however, can’t seem to get past the smell but if you are someone that can we know that you will utterly enjoy this dish. Tofu is fermented with milk, veggies and meat. It is served with pickled veggies and soy sauce if you wish. You can’t knock it until you try it.
Taiwanese Beef Rolls-These might be a bit safer to try when just introducing your tastebuds to our cultures food. Think crispy green onion pancakes that act as a wrap for braised beef slices, pickled veggies and cilantro. Next we add a semi sweet bean sauce and the flavors just explode in your mouth!
Ba Wans- also known as Taiwanese meatballs can throw some off by their appearance. Rice flour, starch and water make up the coating of the meatballs and are sticky and translucent in texture. The filling is minced meat, bamboo shoots and shitake mushrooms. Again it may appear a little strange but it just may turn out to be the best meatball dish you have ever had
Niu Rou Mian- “Beef Noodle Soup” comprised of a somewhat spicy broth and noodles. The soup is then topped with pickled greens, beef shanks and different veggies. Americans eat chicken noodle soup when they are in need of comfort or are treating a sickness, the Taiwanese turn to this magnificent soup.
There are so many wonderful dishes when it comes to Taiwanese cuisine. Each cultures food is different and while it can be absolutely delicious and amazing it is safe to say sometimes it takes some getting used to.
Taiwan is a somewhat small island off the mainland of China. The Taiwanese culture is greatly influenced by Japan, Korea and the mainland of China. However, the Taiwanese culture, like any other culture, has its own unique & independant qualities that set it apart from the rest an make it different. We thought we would share a few facts about the culture of Taiwan to give all you readers a general understanding of this special culture!
Taiwaneses Cultural Facts
Believe In Hard Work- The people of Taiwan believe in hard work from all. Children study relentlessly and have the world’s BEST scores in math!
Respect & Honor- It is of great IMPORTANCE in the Taiwanese culture that you are polite, respect, and honor ALL elderly people.
Far Back History- Taiwan history dates all the way back to the first known human existence!
Teach Them Young- The Taiwanese believe in teaching children how to play musical instruments and learn math starting from very young age. Thats where those great math scores stem from!
Religious Beliefs- Most of Taiwanese people are involved i either Buddhist or Taoist religions. We are firm believers in Nature’s Wisdom!
Taiwanese Cuisine- The cuisine in taiwan is centered around rice and somewhat of a branch off from Japanese fare. The most commonly eaten meat is pork and some of the Taiwanese people do not eat beef, as it is against their religious beliefs.
The Flag- The flag of Taiwan is also known as the KMT Party Flag. It consists of the colors red, white, and blue and depicts the image of a sun. The sun has 12 rays and each one stands for one of the 12 months of year and 1 Chinese hour of the clock. The red signifies livelihood & togetherness. The blue symbolizes nationalism & liberty. And the white signifies, democracy & equality!
The Capital- The Capital of Taiwan is Taipei. Here you will find 20 different streets dedicated to all of the different fare that makes up Taiwanese cuisine
Language of Taiwan- Taiwanese generally speak, Mandarin Chinese, Standard Mandarin & taiwanese Mandarin
Personal Space- Taiwanese people like to have and appreciate their space. Which is somewhat contradicting Taiwan is one of the most densely population countries. Maybe that’s why a lot of us have migrated to the bay area. Great seafood and that fresh open ocean air!
Mourn In White- Unlike most of western cultures, the Taiwanese believe that the color white symbolizes mourning & death. At funerals and memorials you will see the color white and never any black
The culture of the Taiwanese is beautiful, unique and inviting in so many ways. We hope you enjoyed our first blog post and will be back to read more about our diverse culture!