Shilin Market (Chinese: 士林夜市; pinyin: Shìlín Yèshì) is Taipei’s largest and most famous night market and it’s just opposite the red line Jiantan MRT stop. The market has gone through many locations in the past years. Back in the day, it was a long windy street full of vendors. As the area grew, the market consolidated into an open aired covered area with a grid design. The main Shilin market is currently on B1 in the market building.
The main Shilin Market area is actually below street level in the newer building just off Jihe Rd. On the way to the market you'll see tons of shops, street vendors that sell various snacks and treats, as well as typical Taiwan night market kids arcade style games. On your way to the front of the market you'll see one of the most famous Chinese fried chicken shops, and lots of fresh fruits. Vendors sell fruit to eat or as fresh fruit drinks.
Entering the market in the basement you'll find a very large selection of Taiwan street-food favorites, including dumplings, noodles, stinky tofu, beef noodles, meat pockets, oyster omelets, and sizzling steak plates.
Shilin has Oyster omelets of course, which are done up most certainly Taiwan-style, with eggs, veggies, and good handful of oysters, trucked in from the Western shores of southern Taiwan. You'll find these at almost every night market in Taiwan but each place has their own variation on sauce to top off the omelet, as well as hot sauces to accompany the dish.
If you haven't tried Stinky Tofu, you're in luck at Shilin Market. There are of course plenty of vendors that sell both the crispy fried variety and the stewed spicy style. I prefer the deep fried crispy style myself. Try the soft, stewed variety if you like it spicy and want to try some really 'stinky' dofu!
If pastries and dumplings are your style, try the Shilin Market variety of pastries, dumplings, and cakes, both sweet and savory. These are one of my favorite - flaky pastry pockets filled with meat and onions. These come in pork, beef, or vegetarian.
As is with any food spot, Shilin Market also offers Taiwan Beer and Kaoliang Rice Wine to accompany any snack or meal.
If stinky tofu and dumplings aren't your thing, or you're up for some serious clothes shopping, you've come to the right place. Shilin Market is surrounded by hundreds of clothing and accessories shops, from shoes to dresses to jackets to jewelry. When you leave the market, head down the small lane that leads back toward the direction of the MRT red line and follow the winding street (more like a small lane) around and enjoy the typical bargains and hot fashion items of Shilin Market. You'll also find lots of food along the way to pleasure your palette.