Taipei 2012 - Shilin Night Market Part I
Shilin Night Market is Taipei's most famous tourist attraction. It is on the itinerary of every tour to Taipei - and is also surely on the list of every visiting foodie. This place is huge - and the choice of food is endless. And the crowd is unbelievable. It is literally cheek by jowl, and you do need to push your way through once in a while.
In some sections the crowd is so thick you will need to push your way through.
The famous and ultra-popular Hot Star Chicken Chop Shop right at the entance to Shilin. The queue is so long it could be up to an hour before you get your hands on the coveted chicken chops. I am not really a deepfried chicken chop person so couldn't be bothered to join the queue.
If you see a sausage stall, go ahead and grab some. Taiwanese sausages are really good, crunchy and full of flavours. This stall sells the famous "Small Sausage Wrapped in a Big Sausage". It is actually a normal sausage wrapped in a bigger sausage made of glutinous rice. It is very filling so would suggest that you share one with a few people or it could spoil your appetite for the whole night.
The Wild Boar Sausages are usually very good.
Grilled cuttlefish are another must-try item. They are really fresh and expertly grilled.
One of the best things at the market - Cuttlefish Tempura. These are so fresh, tender and delicious you don't need any sauce to go with it.
There are plenty of fresh fruit stalls around - nice to have a break from all the greasy food. Most of the fruits were really sweet and juicy. Either the Taiwanese are agricultural geniuses, or they have done something to amp up the sweetness. I don't really know for sure.
Shilin Night Market actually has 2 sections. The open section which occupies streets and laneways between buildings, and a new underground section which the government has built to cater to the throngs of visitors. The open air section is definitely more pleasant as you get to breath a bit of fresh air. The underground section should be avoided by the agoraphobic. There is hardly any room to move - and most tables are occupied so you will most likely need to eat your food standing up.