Taiwan's Shilin Market
Everything that Asia is typically known for can be found at the Taipei Shilin night market. Knock off clothing and accessories, strange carnival games and souvenirs and so many people that it can be hard to walk at times. Oh, and the food. My god, the food. American's don't often associate Taiwan with great food. You typically do not see Taiwanese restaurants popping up around cities. Sooner or later, we will come to our senses and have an influx of Taiwanese food available for our eating pleasure.
Juice stands pop up all over the market, their fresh produce glistening like a rainbow of deliciousness. You can pick from a classic, such as the ABC (Apple, Beet, Carrot) or go wild and create your own mix. The honeydew melons were the best I've ever had in my life. If you've ever had a Korean Melona bar--which, if you haven't, you should--they tasted just like those.
Taiwan is the home of bubble tea, a drink filled with chewy and slightly sweet tapioca balls. There's an original milk tea flavor, plus hundreds of other options now. If you have a bit of a sweet tooth, try out the Taro milk tea. Everyone drinks it there, including the lady at the juice stall (check out the bubble tea in the bottom of the juice bar picture).
Skewers grilling vegetables and meats scent the market. Giant, delicious Taiwanese sausages roast. The charred meat lures you in and all of a sudden you've got your hands full of skewers for cheap, cheap prices. Or, if you're looking for something that feels more American, you can go for the sausage stuffed inside of a sticky rice bun.
The longest line you'll probably see is at the gigantic fried chicken breast stand. The chicken is pounded out incredibly thin, then seasoned and fried until it achieves maximum crunchy levels. There's a reason for that line.
Hidden away basement food courts fill to their max with people and food stalls. Grab yourself a Taiwanese oyster omelet, pour on some of the goopy sauce and go to town.
If you're really adventurous, you can try the stinky tofu. The name does not lie. To my American nose, it smelled terrible. I wanted to try it, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. If you're able to get it down, I hear it's worth it.
VICE did a 3-part special on Taiwan, and this video shows what the night market is like. Probably not safe for work, but if you're interested in what the market is like, check it out.