Taipei features amazing street food, colorful people, and vibrant culture. Winding alleys, some of the best Sushi in the world, and dumpling paradise (XLB heaven).
Taipei is easily walkable, and public transit is fast and easy to figure out. It’s one of the world’s greatest cities to just wander around and eat. Also not overrun with tourists and rip-off spots.
Area around Snake Alley Night Market
Slightly seedier than the rest of Taipei (in a good way), but the area doesn’t feel dangerous per-se. Plenty of cuts and little odd stands to check out. Unless you’ve never seen a snake before, you can just breeze the main portion of the market. Nothing really jumped out at me. The surrounding area around the market is pretty grimey and interesting. Travel photo gold mine.
If you really want to get in to some funky shit, you can indeed get down on snake meat and other delicacies. Huaxi Night Market is a two-block long night market in Wanhua District, the oldest district of Taipei, Taiwan. Stands serve a variety local snacks, and restaurants that serve traditional Taiwanese dishes and many delicacies including snake blood and meat, turtle blood and meat and deer penis wine, which are not normally found anywhere else. Many stands sell various snake delicacies and drinks, hence its nickname “Snake Alley”. I didn’t try any of the deer penis wine…
Get lost in the narrow maze of alleyways dotted by clusters of food and drink.
Love the sketchy little bars and neon lights. Interesting characters lurking around and intriguing smells galore.
Longshan Temple – Amazing site to behold. This still functioning temple is right in the mix of modern city life. Most widely known temple in Taiwan, the Mengjia Longshan Temple was built in 1738 by settlers from Fujian as a gathering place for Chinese settlers. Located in the old village part of Taipei, Wanhua District, this temple has stood the test of time and lasted through several natural disasters and wars. Highly recommend checking this out.
Cameras everywhere peep the scene. Not sure what they are watching out for but better not linger around to find out.
Around the Shilin Night Market
Heaps of street food and shopping options. Very lively and interesting. Several hours can be spent here walking around checking out the smells and sights. If there’s a line for something it’s probably good (I know, I know, the sheep, bah bah, but here it’s true). This is the largest and most popular market in Taipei. Like a lot of Taipei it’s a mash-up of old and new. You can see an Adidas outlet store directly next to an organ meat stew stand.
Shilin Night Market is located near the former location of a wharf on the Keelung River. Produce from local farms in Shilin was shipped to other ports. The daytime Shilin Market was formally established in this area in 1909. With new customers, many new businesses and food vendors began to set up shop in the area and the Shilin Night Market was born.
The original location closed down in 2002 due to safety concerns.
Grilled octopus stick. Not for me. I usually like grilled octopus but this was really chewy and kind of fishy.
The King of the Dumpling – The Xiao Long Bao (XLB’s for y’all hipsters). Din Tai Fung is the famous Michelin Star variety, which are amazing, but honestly you can skip the line and just get these everywhere. Even the bad dumplings are that next level spaceship to Flavorland.
My girl right here was getting down strong. Letting amateurs know to go ahead and step to the sidelines.
Local knuckleheads doing knucklehead shit.
Grilled giant BBQ mushrooms.
Grilled meat in any form in Taipei doesn’t disappoint. One may not always know what part of the animal you are biting in to but the flavors here are definitely superb. Hardcore garlic, ginger, and pepper everything.
Narrow streets filled with bars. From what I could tell most looked like hostess bars or strip clubs of some kind. I was able to find a few normal bars that ended up being pretty cool. Dope lighting to snap pics on the streets. You can check out some of our current recommendations for travel photography gear.
Taipei’s Zhongshan District was once home to a small area known as ‘The Combat Zone’, a few streets that were packed with bars. Starting as an entertainment area for locally based foreign soldiers and soon became a nightlife hotspot for visiting tourists. An area like this is rare in traditional Taiwanese neighborhoods that generally prefer to drink in the small restaurant table setting with friends vs sitting a bar next to strangers. The whole “cocktail” thing, aka overpriced fluffy bullshit drinks with small amounts of alcohol, can be found in other parts of the city. Mostly these places can be found around the Taipei 101.
Recommend hitting this area up on a rainy night. Zhongshan District was one of my personal favorite districts for street photography. Perfect combination of lighting, local characters and authenticity.
Wander around and get your pics and then hit up a random bar. All the bars that we tried ended being friendly and reasonably priced.
Binjiang Market is legit. An endless array of any type of food one can image in a energetic, chaotic setting. This city is full of street markets but this was one in particular was one of the bests.
Meat stall in Binjiang Market, Taipei. Lots of chopping going on in this place. Most things don’t need refrigeration because they don’t last long.
Seafood here looks like something straight out of an aquarium at Sea World. My overall experience was Taipei had some of the best and most interesting seafood i’ve had in the world. Highly recommend hitting up a few sushi experiences while visiting. Everything is fresh and delicious with a wide array of local options to choose from.
General rule of thumb: If you can walk in an area, then you can ride a scooter there as well. Try not to get run over and stay to the side. Watch out for splashing puddles.
Various kibbles and bits are abound everywhere.
Area Southeast of the Taipei 101
The area directly around the Taipei 101 is a pretty boring and predictable, westernized “downtown” area. Just southeast of the Taipei 101 there’s a ton of winding narrow streets/ alleys filled with street food and markets with more locals.
Taiwan tends to get a fair share of rain but it makes for some amazing reflections at night.
Da’an District is a popular neighborhood with expats. There is an abundance of food options, some geared towards westerners but still tons of great choices. Densely populated high-rise shopping/ residential, we recommend walking the narrower streets to find the gems. Close to the Taipei 101 and downtown. When walking on the main streets be sure to check the signs as most of the restaurants are not on the ground floor.
Sushi in Taipei is straight up FIRE!!!!
Wild bore lollipop. Money.