The night market encompasses two distinct sections sharing a symbiotic relationship: a section formerly housed in the old Shilin Market building, containing mostly food vendors and small restaurants; and the surrounding businesses and shops selling other nonfood items. The food court holds 539 stalls, and the second floor serves as a parking lot for 400 cars.
In addition to the food court, side streets and alleys are lined with storefronts and roadside stands. Cinemas, video arcades, and karaoke bars are also prevalent in the area. Like most night markets in Taiwan, the local businesses and vendors begin opening around 16:00. As students begin returning home from school, crowds reach their peak between 20:00 and 23:00. Businesses continue operating well past midnight and close around 01:00 or 02:00.
Tourist traffic has increased in recent years due to the opening of the Taipei Metro system. The night market is closest to Jiantan Station on the Tamsui Line (Red Line) as it’s known by locals. From the platform of Jiantan Station, riders can see the enclosed food court located across the street from the MRT station.
Historical development The night market is located near the former location of a wharf on the Keelung River (Traditional Chinese: 基隆; Hànyǔ Pīnyīn: Jīlóng). Agricultural produce from farms in Shilin being shipped to other ports such as Banka and Dadaocheng would typically be sold in this area. The daytime Shilin Market was formally established in this area in 1909, and the market was inaugurated in 1913. With the influx of customers, many new businesses and food vendors began to establish themselves in the area and the Shilin Night Market was born.
Shilin Night Market has since become the largest and most well-known night market in Taiwan, especially with regards to food, and is a favorite focal point for Taipei’s night life among residents and visitors alike.
Due to safety, sanitation and fire hazard concerns, the old Shilin Market structure was demolished in October 2002 by the Taipei City Government; the food vendors formerly based within the old structure were relocated to a newer temporary structure a few hundred meters away, next to the metro Jiantan Station. Plans for the renovated site began in 1999 work began in 2006 after the relocation of the vendors to the temporary site. The renovated site is expected to re-open on 25 December 2011..
Getting to Shilin Night Market There are several ways to get to Shilin Night Market. You can take the Taipei Rapid Transit System Danshui line (AKA the “Red Line”) to Jiantan Station, or take bus routes 216, 217, 218, 203, 224, 266, 269, 277, 280, 308, or 310 to the Jiantan MRT Station, Min Chuan University, or Xiao Bei (Hsiao Pei) Street.
Fried chicken steak (炸雞排)
Literal translation: “Small bun wrapped in large bun” (大餅包小餅)
Fried buns (生煎包)
Peanut candy (花生糖)
Oyster omelet (蚵仔煎)
Lemon aiyu jelly (檸檬愛玉)
Pearl milk tea (珍珠奶茶)
Stinky tofu (臭豆腐)
Oyster vermicelli (蚵仔麵線)