If you don't mind big crowds, then a visit to Roahe St. Night Market is a must when you visit Taipei.
Night Markets are what make Taipei, Taipei so if you want to get an authentic taste of the city and its culture, suck it up and visit at least one of many scattered around the place.
We don't like crowds, we try to avoid it as much as possible but me and Dennis are also big foodies so we decided to give it a try.
Coming off the train station, you won't see it right away but just follow your nose, take the nearest corner and you'll be greeted by many food stalls as you get closer to Raohe St.
And more food like this breaded, deep-fried, crispy crab:
A tip: If you spot something delicious on the way to Raohe, grab it. The lines outside are shorter and less crowded :)
You know you've reached Raohe St when the crowd starts to thicken and you see this sign:
Raohe is just one long street of food stalls and boutiques. Similar to what you might find in Manila/Divisoria.
They have EVERYTHING here!
There's cheap clothes and shoes (these mandals were being sold for only 200 NTD / 286 Php) from China and Korea...much like the stuff you'll find in Greenhills.
Souvenirs, traditional Chinese shops selling Buddha statues, big brands like Nike and Birkenstock and of course, LOTS OF FOOD.
Way, way more than you'll be able to manage no matter how big of an eater you are.
The food at Raohe is delicious and super cheap. The portions are also quite generous considering the meager price.
Before my trip, I heard so much about this Cheesy Baked Potato so the moment I saw the stall, I had to order one. It's huge and super cheesy. Delicious. A steal for less than Php100! It was almost as big as my face :P
I paired my Baked Potato with Cube Steak that is grilled and fired from above and then seasoned with a choice of Himalayan Sea Salt, Black Pepper, Lemon Pepper Salt, Paprika, Cumin, Wasabi Pepper Salt or Curry Powder.
A small order costs only 60NTD/85Php for a generous serving of USDA grilled steak!
Large is 100NTD/143Php.
We both ordered small to make room for more food but it was already way more than I could finish:
We also tried this Chicken Stall that's like an indie version of Hot Star.
We only paid 50NTD/71Php for an entire brown bag of Chicken Fingers!
Just like the steak, you could also choose your own seasoning. These guys couldn't speak a single word of English so we just made them put their most popular seasoning. Not sure exactly what it was but I think it was cumin,salt and pepper. SUPER YUMMY!
Giant squid version of Hot Star Chicken!!!
There's also candied fruits, strawberries and tomatoes. For some reason, the Tomatoes in Taiwan are really delicious and sweet. It's common practice to serve them as dessert in traditional Chinese restaurants here.
There are also these pancake sandwiches with different fillings. I love the red bean filling. Super good, similar to hopia but better.
You can get a similar packaged version in 7/11 that's also good but not fresh.
Aside from food, there's also a few attractions like this fishing booth and several dart/shooting booths similar to what you might find in the local town fairs (perya) here.
And of course, no night market in Taiwan will be complete without these Penis Treats. :P
(Chocolate coated waffles in Penis shapes)
We spent way less than 500NTD/700Php during our visit to Raohe but even Dennis was stuffed (it takes A LOT to get him full)!
The food was really cheap but the lines were really long and it was super crowded so I wasn't able to try as many dishes as I wanted but that's okay since most stalls also have branches in Ximending with more manageable lines.
Still, despite the hassle, I still think that Roahe is worth a visit.
When in Taipei, eat, eat, eat. Eat as much as you can cause the food here is unprecedented!
Another tip: Enter the restaurants from the back road outside of Raohe. Some have an entrance there as well and it is easier to get in from outside of Raohe.
Read more about my trip to Taipei, Taiwan here: