If you leave Taiwan without visiting one of the night markets, you definitely missing out on a lot. I can not think of any place where I can recommend a friend or family member to experience the raw Taiwan spirit and energy than at a night market. Talking about local cuisine, culture, handicraft, fashion, art or just mingling with the locals, all at one place.

Coming from a different culture I always prepare for some strange experiences and honestly, I was not ready for the wonderful and largely hassle-free atmosphere in any “fast and busy” city. Well I was wrong, Taiwan continues to surprise me.

My first time entering one of the night markets was “wow, where on earth is this?” It was literally like a dream, it brought me back to my childhood days of watching Asian action movies in which they staged their strange scenes in crowded neighborhood with “beautiful foreign writings” on the buildings.

Well the night markets are more than the scenes from my childhood movies as these markets provide the real deal experiences of typical Taiwan City night market, with colorful stalls watched over by friendly Taiwanese.

You can pretty much sense that the vendors are proud locals by the way they neatly showcased their products. A beautiful scheme of colors that do not go unnoticed even to the eyes of the toughest shopper to impress. Oh, wait! the pungent odors of the stinky tofu from the previous stall too can’t go unnoticed.

My best part of going to night market is trying out local Taiwanese foods which I called “mouthwatering exotic foods”. You have the wide range of options from snake dishes to spiced prawns that stared back at you to sweet potato balls to oyster pancake to pig blood cake to ji pai to names I can’t even pronounce or remember. Oh! before I forget, I need to tell you this. I not only love the atmosphere but admire the night market culture in Taiwan, because you can shop at peace unlike other countries where buyers are trying hard to catch your attention and you do not have to worry about theft as well.

I admire the way everybody treats each other at the night market, people socialize and eat outside. I think it is safe to say Taiwanese people are the friendliest people I have come across in the world. As a foreigner, they do not talk to you because of language barrier. They may politely stare or want to feel the texture of your hair out of admiration. Just do not be bothered! Go to one of the night markets, soak up the atmosphere, feast on Taiwanese food, chat with the locals, have a laugh, quench your thirst with sugar cane juice and savor the amazing Taiwanese culture all in a night.