After traveling from Fukushima to Tokyo, Tokyo to the Taoyuan Airport, and the airport to Taipei City, we were both tired, but extremely hungry. After checking into our Airbnb, our next mission was to find food, and for that, we knew we needed to check out Raohe Night Market.
Raohe Night Market:
Raohe Night Market is one of the most well-known and visited night markets in Taipei. It’s easy to see why tourists are attracted to this food hub; as soon as you reach the market entrance, you are bombarded with bright lights, the sounds of carnival games, and the pungent smells of stinky tofu mixed with other night market foods.
Anyone who visits the market is sure to find something they want to eat, whether it’s some type of seafood, flame-torched beef, milk tea, or sweet candied tomatoes.
Our First Impression:
If we were to go back to Taiwan, Raohe Night Market would be one market I would try and visit again because our first impressions were definitely influenced by a mix of exhaustion and sickness. If you want to enjoy a night market, don’t go after a long 24 hours of traveling while also battling a cold. Get a good night’s sleep, and then go the next day.
In our case, we didn’t have time to do that, so we pushed through and went anyway. We were able to find some good food, but weren’t impressed with how cramped the market felt. The stinky tofu aroma was also the strongest here, and it didn’t sit well with our stomachs – sorry to all the stinky tofu lovers out there!
Out of the six night markets that we went to, we ranked this at number four on our Top Five Night Markets list.
Raohe Night Market Food:
After watching a few YouTube videos and checking out Mark Wiens’ Migrationology Blog, we had a list of foods that we wanted to try. Here are the five things we ended up eating at Raohe and what we thought about them!
#1 Fuzhou Pepper Buns (Pork Pepper Buns):
This is the one thing I was most excited to try in Taiwan. Every video and blog post pointed this out as a “must-eat!” A pork and green onion mixture stuffed inside of sweet dough, is smacked up against the side of a tandoor-style oven and baked to crispy perfection. We were so excited about this that we made it our first night market food of the night.
But I gotta admit, these didn’t live up to the hype. Instead, I was taken off guard as I took my first careful bite, and boiling-lava-hot oil sprang out of the bun and all over my arm. The pork was much too fatty, and the bun was overall very heavy. We each got one for ourselves, but definitely could have shared one between the both of us. Overall, we weren’t too impressed & wished we had saved room for other foods we saw later on.
The wait time was about 10 minutes before we got our order, but we’ve heard that sometimes it can be much longer. Because the buns are so popular at the market, the stall has set up an officially roped off line so that you know exactly who’s in line with you. If you want a pork pepper bun, get to the market earlier in the night.
#2 Papaya Milk:
This is exactly what it sounds like – a glass of cold cow’s milk blended together with chunks of fresh papaya. However, much like our friend the pork pepper bun, it didn’t really deliver.
The mixture was frothy, but the flavors were bland and not very sweet. I don’t remember the lady mixing in any extra sugars or sweeteners, so we got pure milk and papaya in our cup. It may not have been the right season for papaya, but it was almost as if the fruit wasn’t ripe enough. We’re glad we tried it, but we probably wouldn’t get it again.
#3 Milk Tea:
Being that Taiwan is the birthplace of milk tea, this is one thing you should definitely not pass up on a trip to Taiwan. The milk tea we got at Raohe, however, was not that great, and we preferred the teas that we found at 7-11 and Family Mart. There were a few stalls that sold milk tea, but the place we chose offered milk tea with boba. We were surprised to find that most places don’t include boba in your tea unless you ask.
This tea was very mild, and didn’t have as much flavor as the other milk teas we were fortunate enough to try. It was delicious and refreshing, but we wished it had been just a little bit sweeter.
#4 Flame-Torched Beef:
This list seems pretty downhearted, but I gotta be honest, right? The flame-torched beef was yet again, another disappointing recommendation.
It was fascinating watching the chef cut up the fresh beef and then use his flame to quickly torch the meat to a crisp right in front of us. It was not fun, however, ordering. I was overwhelmed with the loud market and the fact that this man asking me for my order only spoke in broken English. I was so overwhelmed, in fact, that I accidentally ordered TWO steaks, which came to about 14 USD. Definitely not cheap, considering we paid less than 5 USD for every other thing we ordered. I tried to cancel my order, but it was too late. We asked for two steaks and that’s what we were going to get.
The meat was very fatty, and the flavor was almost non-existent. We ended up throwing away half of the steak because it got cold and greasy.
#5 Candied Tomatoes:
This was a nice surprise after a few night market disappointments. The tomatoes are cooked, and then covered in a sweet, crispy, candy coating. The sweetness of the candy mixed with the slight bitterness of the tomato was a pretty perfect combination.
You first bite into the crunchy candy, and then feel a burst in your mouth as the soft tomato comes rushing through. It was so unique, and is something I’d definitely recommend trying when in Taiwan. We only ate them at Raohe, but the other night markets we visited also sold them.
Want to Visit Raohe?
Hours: 5 – 11 p.m.
I did read somewhere that the market was open until midnight, but I would do a quick Google check before you go to see how much time you’ll have!
How to Get There: The Taipei Metro is one of the best we’ve experienced! Just take the MRT to Shongshan Station, and then follow the signs (and probably other tourists) until you get to Raohe Street.
Have you visited Raohe Night Market? What was your experience like? What foods would you recommend for future travelers?
Let us know in the comments below!