|You can’t do Taiwanese street eats without heading to a night market, and City543’s comprehensive night market guide will ensure you hit up all the right sights and stands while visiting the island’s many night markets.|
Home to the prestigious Taichung First Senior High School and several major cram schools, Yizhong Street’s claim to fame is now more than just academics. With a young and hip night market scene that is bustling well before the sun’s down and school’s out, the area is the main hangout for middle and high school students, who flood into the colorful, flashy area for a quick break before their cram school classes. Here are some students’ favorite spots to grab a bite after the bell rings.
A testament of its popularity, Hao Da is open from 11 a.m., and the main fryer sizzles non-stop well into the night. Considered the trademark fried chicken of Yizhong, Hao Da’s fillets are tender, not too oily and literally larger than your face. Although incredibly popular, the wait isn’t too long, as the shop is also known for its efficient service with the owner taking orders from a microphone.
image via night77
A cross between an egg pancake and a meat-filled bing, the half moon pancake gets the best of both worlds. The slightly chewy outer layer is fried on the spot, then folded in half and stuffed with your choice of filling (chicken, pork, corn, take your pick), a fried egg and abundantly seasoned with basil and spring onions.
image via Taichung government
Rumor has it passersby bestowed the shop its name “Feng Ren”, a homonym for “crazy people” in Mandarin, when they called the hordes of customers lining up for shaved ice in the winter “crazy people”. The name stuck, and the shop has been serving its signature shaved ice for 60 plus years now. Two scoops of milk-flavored ice cream and sweetened runner beans (蜜花豆) are dolloped over pickled plum-flavored shaved ice (酸梅冰), creating a perfect blend of sweet and sour with a slightly salty aftertaste.
image via Yizhong Fengren Shaved Ice
Wang Yin is not kidding when it says its noodles are spicy. Guaranteed to numb your tongue, have you sweating all over and somehow begging for more, the trademark spicy dry noodles are not for the faint of heart. We recommend you downgrade your usual spicy level by at least one notch before you order, but if hot and spicy’s how you like it, you’ll find hot sauce at each table for an added kick.
image via iPeen
Topping many Taichung residents’ favorite stinky tofu shops, 21 Stinky Tofu is so renowned that customers line up before the shop even opens, and its stinky tofu is sold out well before closing time. Fried to a crisp while retaining a moist interior, the delicacy is best enjoyed with the accompanying pao cai and hot sauce for a burst of flavor. Be sure to grab a number card before taking a seat; you can only order when your number is called.
image via iPeen
Known for its plum blossom-shaped imagawayaki, Gu Du’s flagship shop offers a variety of different flavors, from original, cream, chocolate, red bean, taro, matcha, peanut and sesame, blueberry, coffee, and for those who prefer things savory, corn and tuna, as well as cheese. The fluffy imagawayaki is brimming with the filling and comes in a pack of eight with four flavors.
image via 55688
An insider spot and student favorite, Fatty’s is Taiwanese fried chicken done right. Its chicken sports a crispy exterior yet is moist and tender inside. The most popular dishes to order here include the chicken fillet, the chicken triquetrum (三角骨), which will have you eating piece after piece.
image via Fun Taiwan B&B
Fancy a drink that offers more than your average coke or milk tea? Mr. Sam mixes coke or sprite with milk tea, a curious pairing that somehow just works. The soda’s fizz blends surprisingly well with the aroma of the milk tea, making for a complementary beverage that some have described as akin to the experience falling madly in love. If all this sounds too bizarre for you, the chocolate milk is also very good here.
image via Chungyo
Whereas your average Taiwanese rice ball is judged by its filling, Tao Zhuan’s rice balls will make you reconsider. Its glutinous rice is soaked up with the house special sauce, adding an rich, extra layer of flavor to the filling, which include dried tofu (豆干), youtiao (油條), suan cai (酸菜), braised egg and your choice of yakiniku-flavored meat. What’s better is that customers can add extra rice. For free.
image via Tang Chiu
This tiny stand is practically always engulfed by crowds of customers. Selling fried tempura kebabs, Golden Banana offers a lot of choice for efficient service and affordable pricing, with the price of each item falling around NT$25. Besides its trademark fried banana, the fried chicken kebab is also a must-try, and other options include fried shrimp, cheese balls, green pepper and many more, which all come steaming hot.
image via tranews
Honorable mentions: E-man Bread (一中麵包彈) for creativity; Fuzhou Bao (福州包) for a bargain (three for NT$10).
feature image via Javier