Yanping North Road Night Market (延三夜市 a.k.a. Yansan Night Market), officially Yanping North Road Section 3 Tourist Night Market, is a traditional night market in Taipei, located in the Datong District, one of the oldest parts of the city. This is one of the least known tourist night markets in Taipei and features some unique traditional Taiwanese dishes. It's truly worth a visit, especially if you live here. If you're just on a short trip in the city, skip this one and visit the famous ones first.
MY IMPRESSION: This is a night market located on the sidewalks of a busy road. The main part is reserved for cars and scooters, who whiz by in huge numbers, which kinda affects the whole atmosphere of the night market: It just doesn't feel you're at a real one, it feels more like a sidewalk with stalls (and that's what it actually is). However, it has a lot of history and many traditional food places and stalls, which kinda makes it interesting in its own way.
WHAT KIND OF FOOD IS COMMON: The food is like from from decades long ago. Maybe the 1950s? 1960s? No idea, but it tastes pretty good. It might not be the best night market food I've ever tried, but it's definitely interesting and worth to try. You may not see the usual traditional Taiwanese food such as oyster omelettes, but at least you'll have something different, something unique. This night market is great for those who are tired of the usual food and the atmosphere and want something else.
MUST-TRY FOOD AT THE YANPING NIGHT MARKET: I would recommend you to try the muachi 麻糬 and the meat dumplings 湯圓, those were my favorite snacks here. Another must try would be the popular "chicken roll" 雞捲 and the cut tomatoes 蕃茄切盤. More about them below.
Let me show you some of my photos of Yanping Road Night Market (Apr 2011):
POPULAR STALL: SHI FAMILY FRESH MEAT DUMPLINGS 施家鮮肉湯圓
On the photo you can find the famous meat dumplings or 湯圓 (tang yüen), literally "soup circles". The special thing about this dumpling is the dough, which is made from glutinous rice. It's very delicate and special in taste, definitely the must try dish, if you come to this night market. The price was 45 NTD.
And then we went out on the street again and tried...
POPULAR STALL: CUT TOMATOES 蕃茄切盤
I was so amazed, when I saw this dish, called 蕃茄切盤 (lit. "tomatoes cut") in Chinese. I was like: "They sell cut tomatoes and sell them as a dish? Wow..." It was interesting for me, because cut tomatoes are a very basic and cheap food in Eastern Europe, which people eat at home like a snack. We would never eat this outside, but for Taiwan this is normal. After all, eating out daily here is as normal as not eating out very often back home. The best thing about these cut tomatoes was the sauce, so I definitely recommend to try this dish. The price was 50 NTD (1.2 Eur), a little hight, if you ask me. It's two cut tomatoes after all.
POPULAR STALL: YE FAMILY 5 SPICED CHICKEN ROLL 葉家五香雞捲
In fact, the stall had a huge line and they really work hard to fry as many rolls as possible, because this is the only dish they sell. The name 五香雞捲 "five spice chicken roll" is deceiving, my girlfriend said inside is no chicken, but pork. The name 雞捲 comes from Taiwanese "gê gèn" which means "extra roll", actually meaning "extra dish from left-over food". And because "gê" sounds very similar to the word for "chicken" in Taiwanese, the Chinese character for chicken was chosen to name this dish. The outer part of the roll is made of tofu skin, the inside is filled with onions and pork, but can be also with other kinds of meat. We paid 45 NTD (1 Eur). The taste is ok, maybe not my favorite food, but definitely interesting enough to recommend it to you.
POPULAR STALL: MUACHI 麻糬
Muachi is a Taiwanese word for 餅 mochi, the traditional Japanese snack, eaten a lot during the lunar new year. Muachi is very popular in the southern Chinese kitchen, I've tried it in Malaysia and Singapore as well (see a photo here). But this one here (on photo above) was the best I've ever tried. If you're here, please try this muachi, it's so soft, warm and delicious. Maybe I'm biased, because I love muachi (and peanuts) in general, but the quality is really good. And the stall is very popular.
To go to the night market, take the Red Line train to Minquan West Road MRT station and then transfer to the Orange line in direction to Luzhou and exit at Daqiaotou MRT Station (1 station away). Exit at Exit 1 and wak straight for 1 minute, then turn right and you're there. (Map by Google, click on it for a Google Map).
IN CONCLUSION: This is one of Taipei's most unique night markets. I think most foreign visitors might find it boring, but those of us, who live here, might find it quite interesting. In the end it's up to you and your personal preference. But the muachi is very good and can be the only reason to visit this night market.
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