If I had a cooking show, half of the meals I make would include stuff from Tonghua Night Market. Yes, it’s my neighborhood night market and I’m very proud of it.
If you go early, like around 6pm or 6:30pm, you’ll notice locals buying stuff to eat at home for dinner. Because that’s what we hypothetical cooking show hosts like to do. Pick up a few things from here or there, then add it to other dishes to make a nourishing, impressive spread.
The six places below are the ones I go to pretty often. I think it’s entirely possible to have all six in one visit. Just be aware they might take the night off on Mondays or Tuesdays.
Ready to walk and eat?
1) Pork Sausages
大花香腸 is an excellent introduction to the night market. You’ll need to wait for your sausage since they do every order fresh. I typically get the garlic or the coriander/cilantro sausage, but go crazy if you want to try a wacky flavor like wasabi. Sausages are 40NT each.
2) Soy Dessert & Ice
I have a complicated history with this place: 九份芋圓. I used to eat here at least a couple of times a week. My regular order was soy pudding with taro balls and tapioca balls. Then I had to cut back because I was eating it way too much. Like two or three times a week.
The owner is a little bit of a grump though, so know what you want before it’s your turn. A bowl is 50NT if I’m not mistaken. You’ll want to eat this place last, so circle back after hitting the other spots. I typically get it to-go because there are only a few seats.
3) Oyster Omelette
You’ll need to sit down to eat this one. It’s an oyster omelette pan fried with veggies and covered with pink sauce. Every night market has an oyster omelette shop. There’s nothing particularly special about this one except that it serves nostalgia on a plate. Some would say that’s as special as it gets. A omelette goes for 60NT.
4) Deep Fried Stinky Tofu
The stinky tofu at 一口金酥臭豆腐 is super mild and it’s fried to perfection. It’s served with a heap of pickled cabbage that cuts through the fried taste and a light soy paste for seasoning. Add chili if you’re into chili. A small serving is 50NT. Large is 60NT. Tip: use the sticks as chopsticks so you can have some cabbage with each bite of tofu. One last thing: the Google Map location is off. It’s on the intersection.
5) Fried Chicken & Fried Tempura
A young couple runs this simple fried (or “fired”) chicken cart named 格登炸雞. They keep it so clean I wonder if they’re secretly OCD. I’ve been buying from them for years, and have seen them grow their business and raise their prices (as they should). Fried chicken wings are their most popular at 2 for 50NT. The fried tempura is the next most popular at 30NT a serving. Both items are insanely delicious.
6) Sweet Potato & Taro Balls
The wait for sweet potato balls from this specific seller (I honestly don’t know if it has a name) can be as long as an hour. Yes, an hour. It’s because locals are willing to place orders for the next batch then come back an hour later to pick it up. A more sensible option is the taro balls, which are more flavorful in my opinion. They’re usually available with no wait and cost 25NT for 3. The legend who runs this cart lets you pay and collect change yourself because he’s just that cool.
There are other stalls at Tonghua that are super popular:
- Hot tanguyan on ice from 御品元冰火湯圓. Shown above.
- 海味烤生蠔 for freshly grilled Taiwanese seafood like clams and oysters.
- Shaved peanut with ice cream packed burrito-style. Location is closer to where #2 is. Not sure if it has a name!
- Fried bun dumplings from 上海生煎包 on the far end of the market.
Other popular sit-down restaurants to check out in the area:
- 正好鮮肉小籠湯包 for handmade soup dumplings.
- Burger & Co. for burgers and fries.
- MyCroissant for buttery French-style breads and pastries.
- 泰傳統 for homestyle Thai food. I get the pad see ew to go.
- 一兩十錢青草舖 for modern Chinese herb teas.
- 蘇媽媽湯圓通化店 for salty and sweet soup tangyuan.
Here are some more Taipei food guides:
- Where to Drink in Taipei
- Where to Eat in Taipei
- Eat Like You’re in Japan
- Where to Eat Beef Noodle Soup in Taipei
- The Best Vegan & Vegetarian Eats in Taipei
- Where to Eat Western Comfort Foods in Taipei