I visited Ningxia Road Night Market (寧夏夜市 Níngxià yèshì) on my first evening in Taipei. Since we had just arrived in Taiwan that late afternoon, it’s not wise to be adventurous and flock far away for dinner because everyone was very tired. Ningxia Road Night Market is only 9 mins walk from our hostel (Star Hostel) so it’s the best choice. You can read more about my day 1 Taiwan trip if you’re interested.
You’ll know you have arrived at Ningxia Road Night Market when you see this sign. A more fancier sign is at the other end (which is the main entrance). We arrived at nearly 8pm and the night market were really packed with people. Had to take tiny baby steps one at a time.
Ningxia Road Night Market is purely for foodies. There is only a very tiny section for games/toys. And if you’re thinking of clothes shopping here… don’t.
Situated at Ningxia Road, you’ll be hounded by food stalls on your left and right. Although it’s only a short stretch of road (perhaps 2 blocks?), the varieties of food are aplenty and we were all fulled to the brim even before we reach the end of the night market.
The moment we entered this labyrinth of food stalls, we got pulled deeper and deeper until I finally realized “Hey, why are we staring at the food and not buying and eating it?”. So I made the first move and purchased the grilled chicken thighs @ NT$25 (left) and grilled bacon with enoki @ NT$30 (center). Yummy. Finally doused it with a cup of sugarcane @ NT$30 from Lian Beverages (stall #001) located at the other end.
We hopped to this stall (didn’t take note of the number though) selling Taiwanese mee suah @ NT$40 because it looks good in the pot. We didn’t like it though. It has this weird taste to it. And I thought those additional ingredient in there were oysters until I was told it’s intestines (argghhh!!! I ate a couple already).
We also ordered stinky tofu @ NT$40 from the same stall. It’s my first stinky tofu actually. I had plenty of chances to try them in Beijing a decade ago and also in Hong Kong but couldn’t handle the smell. This stinky tofu smell different from the one I had in my memory. The verdict is… I didn’t like it. Thought I wanna try from another stall later but decided to hold this plan… perhaps next time? 😛
Then we hopped to this stall called Fang Jia 方家 which I initially ignored when my mom pointed it out to me. At first we ordered the braised pork rice 滷肉饭 @ NT$30 (bottom left) and tofu @ NT$30 (top left). It was heaven baby!!! The rice was sort of like glutinous rice, the braised pork and tofu… flavorful. A guy (local I guess) sitting next to us then told us “You should have ordered their chicken rice, it’s their star dish”. What else? We ordered the chicken rice 雞肉飯 @ NT$30 (top right) right away and also the omelette with spring onion @ NT$30 (bottom right). He was right, the chicken rice was SO GOOD!!! and so were the omelette (awesome wok hei). We actually spied the omelette dish from our next table. Also saw seaweed soup but could only order the omelette as we’re nearly full.
Here’s Fang Jia menu if you’re interested. Since we can’t read Chinese, we ordered our dishes by telling them what we want (we know how to call chicken rice and braised pork rice in Mandarin) and also by pointing the dishes from our neighbor’s table. Hehehe Hey at least they spoke Hokkien (different kind) and not all was lost in translation.
Fang Jia! Thinking and writing about this now make me want to drop everything and fly to Taipei for a bowl each of their chicken rice (ji rou fan) and braised pork rice (lu rou fan). I actually wanted to try Formosa Chang, a famous braised pork rice restaurant along Ningxia Road too but yeah too full already. I did try Formosa Chang later at their other outlets (stay tuned for it).
Then we chance upon this stall with very long queue outside Ningxia market main entrance (near Lai Ji oyster omelette shop). What else? We joined the line. Hehe. We didn’t know what the lady was selling so we asked those that were queuing there. Turns out they were tourist (Asian Americans and Koreans) and were as fascinated as us. My sis’ guessed fan tuan 飯糰 and I got the confirmation from the seller. Fan tuan is you tiao (yau char kwai) tightly wrapped with glutinous rice. This savory variety also includes pickled vegetables. I think she also sell the sweet variety. We didn’t tried the fan tuan NT$40 right away. We planned to have it when we got back to the hostel but cancel the plan as the tummy can’t take anymore.
We wanted to try the oyster omelette from the fame Roundabout Oyster Omelette 圓環邊蚵仔煎 (a shop along Ningxia Road) but they were closed that day (it was a Thursday). I think they’re open daily just that it wasn’t our lucky day. Ohh and the famous Liu Yu Zi (fried taro balls) was closed too. Grrr!
Then we saw this stall selling fried taro balls. Not sure the name of the stall since it’s in Chinese. It had very long queue. We figured must be yummy so we joined in. We ordered fried taro balls with salted egg filling @ NT$100 for 5 pieces. The verdict? Below average. Couldn’t taste the taro at all. The molten salted egg inside the taro ball is similar to the custard bun with salted egg filling you’ll usually find in dim sum place.
So yes, not all the food we tried at Ningxia Road Night Market are tasty. Some were good and some were not but despite all that I had a fab time. Fab time trying new things, fab time sharing food, fab time with my family, fab time to be among the crowd in a night market in Taipei. I’m grateful for all that. 🙂
I can also testify that not all food stalls with long queue serve tasty food. Hehehe I can’t wait to go back to Ningxia Road Night Market. I wanna eat the chicken rice and braised pork rice again. I wanna try the taro balls and oyster omelette from the stall+shop that were closed that day. I wanna try the mua chee because we were too full already. And many more I want to try. Sounds like an amazing feast waiting to happen in the future.
Tips: Go with an empty stomach, travel with 2 or more friends/family, share food so you can try more food. Laugh when you eat something yummy and laugh even louder when you can finally take no more of the stinky tofu smell!
Ningxia Road Night Market (寧夏夜市)
Datong District, Taipei City,
Opening hours: 6pm-12am