The night markets in Taiwan are an inherent part of the culture and you’ll see them almost everywhere on the island. Between checking out the shopping districts and taking in the amazing sights around the cities, it’s a MUST for every visitor to stop by the local night markets.

Credit: Giphy

While the markets are filled with good food, it can be pretty tricky to locate those that are Muslim-friendly. Fret not, you lucky Muslim travellers as we found 10 drool-worthy snacks you HAVE to try in Taiwan 🤗

Disclaimer: Do note that we’ve tried these snacks at Ningxia Night Market, Shihlin Night Market, Ruifeng Market and Jiufen Old Street and personally checked with the store owners on the ingredients including the oil used for fried foods. As none of the food items is halal-certified, we advise our readers to consume at their own discretion. Additionally, you may also equip yourself with these useful phrases to ease your food hunt: 

  • Is there pork/lard in this? – 请问食品里有猪肉或猪油吗? (qing wen shi pin li you zhu rou huo zhu you m?)
  • I can’t eat pork – 我不能吃猪肉 (wo bu neng chi zhu rou)
  • I can’t consume alcohol – 我不能喝酒 (wo bu neng he jiu)
  • Is this vegetarian-friendly? – 请问这是素食吗 (qing wen zhe shi su shi ma?)

Alternatively, you can also look for the 素食 sign on stalls as it indicates vegetarian options!

1. Peanut Ice Cream Roll

Credit: @princess.gena on Instagram

For any sweet tooth, this is THE ultimate snack! Whether you’re coming during winter or summer, the Peanut Ice Cream Roll is a local favourite. If you’re wondering what it is, it’s actually a thin flour crepe that is filled with peanut candy shavings and 2 scoops of ice cream. The edges are then folded in and rolled like a burrito – yummy! It’s commonly served with tiny coriander leaves too but if you’re not a fan, you can always opt that out.

Where we tried this: Jiufen Old Street.

2. Seafood

An immensely popular night meal, you can see seafood stalls in almost every corner of the market. From the fresh shrimps to oysters and other shellfishes, seafood lovers will definitely stop by for a little feast. Choose your favourite and have the vendor grill it in front of you. Sprinkle a little salt on your dishes and eat away. We personally recommend the oysters and shrimps 😊

Where we tried this: Ningxia Night Market.

3. Deep Fried Stuffed Squid

No, we’re not talking about the cute little squids you usually eat. The deep-fried squids in Taiwan are no joke – they’re pretty humongous! What makes them unique is the squids are stuffed with celery, carrot and cucumber sticks before being deep-fried to perfection. We know what you’re thinking – it’s very filling but the combination is fantastic. You can find these in almost every food district and night market, so don’t worry about missing it, you can’t!

Where we tried this: Ningxia Night Market.

4. Fried baozi with oyster and egg fillings

Credit: @great.nyc on Instagram

Another popular snack that you can find at every night market is the fried baozi with oyster and egg fillings. 100% Taiwanese, the fried baozi is a new take on the traditional steamed buns from northern China. Instead of being steamed, these buns are filled with fresh oysters and eggs and then closed up before being deep fried. This iconic street food is a testament to how innovative Taiwanese are when it comes to food. Besides oyster, you can opt for shrimps too!

Where we tried this: Ningxia Night Market.

5. Fried Mushroom

Chunky, juicy and flavourful – this is what you can expect from the fried mushrooms. If you call yourself a mushroom lover, you can’t possibly walk by vendors frying fresh wild mushrooms without wanting to try one. Available in a variety of seasonings (our favourite is the simple salt!), you’ll find yourself wanting more. It’s definitely a taste you can’t miss!

Where we tried this: Ruifeng Night Market.

6. Sweet Potato Balls

The locals can’t get enough of this popular street snack and neither can we! For light bites, you can count on these sweet potato balls! Made with grated sweet potatoes and tapioca starch, these small puffs are crunchy and sweet. You can tell that they’re perfect for kids too.

Where we tried this: Ruifeng Night Market.

7. Fried Ice Cream

Next up, fried ice cream! Not particularly groundbreaking but it is a common sight at the night markets these days, especially during summer. Each ice-cream is hand-crafted carefully where the chef will ensure the ice cream will be kept intact while flash-frying it, ensuring that the outside is light and crispy without jeopardizing the ice-cream inside. Choose between vanilla, chocolate or strawberry – they’re all quite good!

Where we tried this: Ruifeng Night Market.

8. Mashu/Mochi

Familiar with mochi? Now THIS is the Taiwanese version of it, but with a little twist. Known as mashu, these snacks are made with glutinous sticky rice balls which are then coated with peanut, sesame or other flavours. Lightly sweet and topped with desiccated coconuts, the mochi melts in your mouth like snowflakes while retaining that chewy texture. We loved it so much we ordered another batch! 😜

Where we tried this: Ruifeng Night Market.

9. Stinky Tofu

One of the vegetarian stalls is famous for their stinky tofu, known to be Taiwan’s national snack. At first smell, the fermented tofu might put you off and really, the hardest part is putting it in your mouth for the first time. But once you do, you’d be pleasantly surprised! We personally thought it tasted like fried tofu with plenty of soy sauce and garlic.

Where we tried this: Shihlin Night Market.

10. Taro Balls

Credit: Funtopia Taiwan on Facebook

Just like glutinous rice, taro balls are also popular amongst the locals. These sweet and chewy desserts are perfect for when you’re looking to unwind after walking all day. They’re served either hot or cold and you also have the privilege to mix them with other condiments like red and green beans. The best part is – they’re quite light so you don’t feel completely overwhelmed by the taste. If you’re in Taiwan during summer, best to enjoy them with a bowl of shaved ice. 😉

Where we tried this: Jiufen Old Street.

So, with all these options available, don’t you worry about going hungry in Taiwan! There are lots of Muslim-friendly options available. Just come with an empty stomach and you’re ready to venture out on your street food adventure 😉

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