Ziqiang Night Market 自强夜市 (also Ziqiang Road Night Market) is one of the two famous night markets in Hualien City. It's a fairly small night market by size, but one of the most crowded I've ever seen in the lands of the beautiful island. Judging by the quality of food, I would rank it in the top 10 of all Taiwan's night markets.
MY IMPRESSION: So far, I've only seen two night markets as crowded as this one: Fengjia and Luodong. The only difference is, that Ziqiang is very small and it resembles Kaohsiung's Rueifong Night Market, because the vendors are cramped together on a square, which is covered with tents. And since the food is really tasty and Hualien only offers another night market, Ziqiang is so crowded during the weekends, that you can hardly walk.It's like the whole city and country want to go to this place. And there is one popular stall, where you may need to wait even 2 hours to get the dish. It's just crazy!
WHAT KIND OF FOOD IS COMMON: Since the night market is fairly small, there are individual stalls, that stand out from the crowd. But generally you will find a lot of barbecued and fried food on skewers, steaks on a hot plate and fresh juices. It's a great combination and I'm sure you'll enjoy eating it.
MUST-TRY FOOD AT THE ZIQIANG NIGHT MARKET: The must-try snack would surely be found at the famous stall called First barbecue stall 第一家烤肉串, which serves barbecued meat on skewers. The stall is so famous, that when you order, you get a number and need to wait, sometimes even up to two hours. We had to wait 70min to get ours done, so we were forced to walk around and check other stalls. Another famous stall is Chiang family's coffin sandwich 蔣家官財板, where usually tons of people wait for their sandwich. We skipped this one, though. Next to it is the "Too wonderful for words" fruit juice shop or "妙不可言"果汁店. Their juice is so famous, that people don't mind standing in line for very long as well. The last one I'd like to list here is the Jiang Shun Ji Beefsteak 江順記. I've had the best beef steak in Taiwan here.
Let me show you some of my photos from Ziqiang Night Market in Aug 2011:
POPULAR STALL: FIRST BARBECUE STALL 第一家烤肉串
POPULAR STALL: CHIANG FAMILY'S COFFIN SANDWICH 蔣家官財板
POPULAR STALL: "TOO WONDERFUL FOR WORDS" JUICE SHOP "妙不可言" 果汁店
POPULAR STALL: JIANG SHUN JI BEEFSTEAK 江順記
IN CONCLUSION: This is definitely one of the best night markets in Eastern Taiwan. Although it's small and crowded, it's worth the hassle just because the food is so tasty. I have hardly found a night market, where so many stalls are so exceptional. Here it's like you can't make a mistake by going to a vendor, that will disappoint you, because almost everybody's quality of food is above average. This surely is one of my favorite night markets in all of Taiwan.
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