Tuesday, March 22, 2011

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Jingmei Night Market, Taipei

3/22/2011 Taiwan Explorer
A small and interesting night market in south of Taipei


Taiwan Night Market List
Jingmei Night Market 景美夜市 (or Jingmei Tourist Business Area 景美觀光商圈) is a small night market in the south of Taipei proper, located very close to the Jingmei MRT Station, which makes it one of the most conveniently accessed night markets. Even those visitors, who are in Taipei for the first time will find it very easy. While that is a big plus, I have to say that I wasn't that impressed with the food and the whole atmosphere, but I think my expectations were to high. It's still a decent night market, but I would rather visit several others, before I head down to Jingmei again.

MY IMPRESSION AND REVIEW OF THE JINGMEI NIGHT MARKET: The night market is stretched along the narrow, yet quite long Jingmei Street with several side streets also full with hawkers. The bigger Jingwen Road nearby is also full of restaurants, so the area is definitely loaded with food and I'm sure it's good, because a lot of people visit this part of Jingmei. What was a little disappointing to me was the hawker food. The variety was not big and the snacks, that seemed popular with the locals, weren't so appealing to me. Sure, there was still a lot of good food available and I even tried some, but it wasn't that good, that I would regularly return to Jingmei. There are also many shops in the area selling clothes and other things, especially in the southern part of the market. The central area is located near the small Jiying Temple (集應廟), which is definitely worth to see.

WHAT KIND OF FOOD IS COMMON: There was a lot of the common Taiwanese night market food like salty chicken and marinaded dry tofu, but I missed stinky tofu and oyster omelette shops. There may be some, but they weren't easy to find. I've seen a lot of dishes with sausages and meat by-products in the southern part of the night market, which is the busiest part and reminded me a little of the roofed part of the Shilin Night Market. There is a popular stall called Shanghai pan-fried baozi 上海生煎包 (Shànghǎi shēng jiēn bāo) and a restaurant named Goose mama 鵝媽媽 selling goose meat and noodles 鵝肉切仔麵 (é ròu qiē zǎi miàn). On the other side of the market, there is a popular stall selling double-barreled small intestine 雙管小腸 (shuāng guǎn xiǎo cháng) and a double barreled four elements soup 雙管四神湯. I think that stall had the longest line. Before leaving the market, we had bawan 肉圓 (roù yüén) and pig blood cake 豬血糕 (zhū xüè gāo). I've also seen sushi and takoyaki balls, so if you're a fan of Japanese street food, Jingmei will be the place for you.

MUST-TRY FOOD AT JINGMEI NIGHT MARKET: I would recommend you to try the baozi and the goose meat. And if you're already there, try the popular stall that sells the small intestine. Aside from that, you have a whole variety of small eats available, I'm sure you'll like them.

Let me show you a video and photos of the Jingmei Night Market (March 2011):

This is a short video of the entrance and the central part of the night market.

1. The central part

POPULAR SNACK: SHANGHAI PAN-FRIED BAOZI 上海生煎包

Right to the main entrance people are queueing for a famous baozi. We had to try.

One was veggie, one was meat, both delicious. I recommend. 10 NTD a piece (0.25 eur).

This is the central part of the Jingmei Night Market. Right is south, left is north.

POPULAR SNACK: GOOSE MAMA 鵝媽媽

Near the temple is a popular restaurant that sells goose meat. We went in.

We had a soup and was very yummy. I recommend.

And this is the goose meat, also quite yummy, but I'd say it's normal. Price 180 NTD (4.5 eur), but the soup with noodles as well as the meat were enough for two people to get full. Maybe it's a bit expensive compared to other small eats, but still ok.

Then we checked the small Jiying temple nearby.

This is the goose restaurant from outside. Sometimes people need to wait to get a seat.

2. The southern part

The southern part of the market starts opposite Goose Mama's restaurant.

This is another side lane full of shops and stores.

Walking further under a roofed area, the sell mostly clothes and other things.

This is a Taiwanese desert restaurant.

POPULAR SNACK: SMALL INTESTINE, FOUR ELEMENTS SOUP 雙管小腸, 雙管四神湯

This stall had the longest line. I guess their food must be good.

This part of the night market is the busiest.

And that's the very southern part of Jingmei Street. Not many stalls here.

The crowded area from outside.

3. The northern part

The northern part is less crowded, it's easier to walk. But there are less shops.

I had bubble tea here and it was pretty good.

We decided to try the delicacy famous for Hsinchu: Bawan.

It was a decent bawan, I have nothing to criticize or praise. You can give it a try.

Just when we were about to leave, my girlfriend wanted to try the peanut coated pigs blood cake (at the entrance of the market on the right side). I didn't like it, but my girlfriend did. I don't recommend it to Westerners, I think our taste buds are not suitable for this dish, but Singaporeans and Malaysians would probably like it.

HOW TO FIND JINGMEI NIGHT MARKET? SEE MY MAP:

Jingmei Taipei map
The Jingmei night market is very easy to find. Just exit at the Jingmei MRT Station, Exit 1 and walk 2 minutes, the market is right there. From Taipei Main Station, you might need around 20 min to get there (7 stations). Click on the map for the Google Maps version.

JINGMEI NIGHT MARKET IN CONCLUSION: This is a lovely small night market, not as famous as some others in Taipei, but still decent. It would not be my favorite night market, but it's also not the worst. It's somewhere in the solid middle and although I don't highly recommend it, I think it's still nothing wrong, if you head down to Jingmei and try some snacks around there, just don't expect too much, that's all.