A holiday at Taiwan is never completed without a visit to one of the island’s numerous night markets. Similar to Singaporeans obsession with shopping malls, Taiwanese love their night markets so much that they patronize them 7 days a week! Tainan alone offers more than 5 different night markets namely Xiaobei Night Market (小北成功夜市), Tainan Flower Night Market (花園夜市), Wusheng Night Market (武聖夜市), Dadong Night Market (大東夜市) and Fu-Hwa Night Market, Yongkang (復華夜市). These 5 night markets have an agreement on their operating dates so that they do not cannibalize each other’s business. We only had a Wednesday night in Tainan City hence Wusheng Night Market was our only option. Although it’s not the biggest night market in Tainan, it is enough to give us a glimpse of the city food & games carnival culture.
Wusheng Night Market had around 250 stalls in its rather open concept premise. Depending on where you enter the squarish night market area, you get to start your evening with different product genres. I do have to manage the expectation of fashionistas, the items for sales here may not be as hip and trendy as those you see at Shilin Night Market (士林夜市) in Taipei. But occasionally, you may be surprised with one or two rare finds.
Particularly with cute girly accessories, Taiwanese really know how to pair things up to create different looks!
Shoe galore for the ladies! The retail scene does remind me a little of the night markets in Bangkok.
This is a unique toy auction that is found only in Taiwan! The auctioneer skilfully promotes his toys and influence shoppers to sometimes pay unbelievable price for a toy. Regrets probably sink in after they got home.
Anytime you feel thirsty from all that shopping, beverage stalls are strategically placed right round the corner. Our familiar Teh Tarik was marketed as an exotic Indian ‘pulled’ tea in Tainan. Looking at the skills of the Taiwanese ah boy, I believe the Teh Tarik we have in Singapore are definitely more authentic.
The popular sky high soft served ice cream we saw in Tamsui (Danshui) Taipei can be found here too!
Cut fruits are also available for healthy munching.
But do not spend too much time on shopping because the real highlights are the game stalls! Taiwanese seem crazy about these game machines. Apparently, they are awarded ‘stamps’ by gaining points in the game. At the end of the day, they can just exchange these accumulated stamps for prizes.
Manual pinballs at this age? Time seem to have stopped for a few decades in Tainan.
There’s also Mahjong Bingo where players try to form a line with mahjong tiles.
A fan of throwing hoops games? They have it in a much bigger scale here.
I loved the shooting game! It reminded me of my national service days and the aiming technique is pretty much the same! You have to align the front sight with the rear sight. It’s best to close one eye and aim by looking through your dominant eye. Fire the first shot and make compensations for the later shots. I got 8 out of 10 balloons! Not too shabby right.
Woah, our hot Taiwanese Big Sister 大姐大 cannot be bothered with small time pistols. She goes for the big guns!
Have a go with traditional bow and arrows and imagine you are Robin Hood!
There’s lots of games for young children too! They have the retro dunking machine for kids.
Is getting a high score for cascading marble game more of skill or luck?
I used to play this fishing game at our neighbourhood Pasar Malam!
Other than games, there are also interesting rides for children. Parents can just sit at the side to take a break.
Else parents can also take it easy and leave their children at these huge inflatable play structures while they go shop!
At the end of the night, remember to go redeem your prize! Most of the prizes are toys so I decided to pass my winnings to one of kid, it means a lot more to them than me.
Next, we turned our attention to food! Korean chicken cakes were the first to caught our eyes! It looks yummy but is basically just an egg over traditional sponge cakes. Taste pretty normal, recommend that you just buy a small portion to try and move on.
Prawns all cooked and ready? The colours look good but I am not convinced of the taste. It looked like it has been left for a while.
Pan fried tapioca cakes freshly produced by auntie. Tempting!
This is like our familiar octopus balls but filled with all sorts of goodies!
The five flavours goose eggs sounds a little too exotic for me. Will you dare try one?
There’s also the usual deep fried salted chicken and
Seasoned meat that’s skewered and grilled to perfection.
There’s also my favourite smelly tofu!
There are two versions of smelly tofu in Taiwan night markets. The original deep fried stinky tofu and the rich-flavoured spicy stinky tofu marinated with hot pot sauce base. Both are served together with the local sweet and sour pickled vegetable to relieve greasiness.
Like Bangkok people, Taiwanese are happy to grab their favourite street food and hangout together. Pity that Pasar Malam in Singapore is a vanishing sight….
We got drawn to the crowd huddling at a small corner. They were fishing live prawns and grilling their catch immediately. It cannot get fresher than that!
The night market scene in Tainan differs significantly from that of Taipei, you get to experience the rustic night life in Taiwan’s oldest city. One thing to note about Tainan’s night markets is that they are not open every night of the week. Each night market has their own nights so make sure check the schedule below before heading out. The largest night markets are the Hua Yuan Night Market in the northwest of the city, and the Da Dong Night Market in the southeast. Generally, all night markets open from 6pm to 11:30 pm.
Hua Yuan Night Market (花園夜市)
Address: Haian Road, Section 3, between Lixian Rd. and Hewei Rd., North District.
Operating Days: Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays;
This is the largest night market in Tainan, and the largest fully-outdoor night market in Taiwan. Ample parking is provided here.
Da Dong Night Market (大東夜市)
Address: Linsen Road, Section 1, near Chongde Rd, East District.
Operating Days: Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays
This is the second largest night market in the city. It is very popular on Friday nights, especially with the local university students.
Wusheng Night Market (武聖夜市)
Address: No. 42, Lane 69, Wǔshèng Rd, Zhongxi District, North District.
Operating Days: Wednesdays and Saturdays
Recommend that you take a cab over as it is not easy to find but it’s one of the longest running night market in the city.
Yonghua Night Market (永華夜市)
Address: Yonghua Road, Section 2, at Yonghua 4th St, Anping District.
Operating Days: Thursdays and Sundays
This is probably the newest night market. It is just a few blocks past the Anping Carrefour.
Kaiyuan Night Market (開元夜市)
Address: Kaiyaun Road at Linsen Road, Section 3, North District.
Operating Days: Wednesdays and Saturdays
Xiao Bei Night Market (小北夜市)
Address:Ximen Road, Section 4, at the intersection of He Wei Rd, North District.
Operating Days: Tuesdays and Fridays
You may also like to check out my posts on other exciting travel destinations here.