Thursday, March 24, 2011

Night markets (Travel in Taiwan)

No visitor to Taiwan should leave without wandering around at least one of the island's 300-odd night markets. Every bit as colorful and bustling as Middle Eastern bazaars, these after-dark attractions are places to eat, shop and slowly wander around while soaking up iconic Taiwan sounds and smells.

This might surprise you, but night markets (which typically run from dusk until nearly midnight) are very different to morning markets. At the latter – which early-birds will find well worth visiting – housewives stock up on vegetables, fruit, meat and fish. Night markets sell very little in the way of fresh cooking ingredients. Instead, they're renowned for offering tasty snacks like squid-on-a-stick, oyster omelets, steamed sweetcorn, and something that resembles a donor kebab – but with pork rather than lamb, and a conventional bun instead of pita.

Here's another surprising fact: Even if the food doesn't tempt you at all, spending an hour or two exploring a night market still brings many a reward. Photographers will lap up the visual possibilities: Piles of gewgaws, racks of clothes, games to play, and people of all shapes and sizes...

This article appears in the March/April issue of Travel in Taiwan magazine. All of the links above go to photos on the flickr website.

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