Taiwan Comes to Shanghai

Savannah Billman reviews the Shilin Night Market, a Taiwanese food paradise in Shanghai.

In the shadow of Jinjiang Amusement Park’s rollercoasters and ferris wheels sits Taiwan’s Shilin Night Market, back in Shanghai to show all of us what incredible street food we’re missing. The night market (士林夜市 in Chinese) is one of Taiwan’s largest and most popular markets, boasting local merchandise and foodie treats. Now Shanghai can experience these treats as well–all the stands in Shanghai’s Shilin Night Market were invited from various Taiwanese cities and run by Taiwanese.

As a lifelong fan of Chinese street food, I was eager to see what Taiwan had to offer. Could Taiwan’s legendary street food treats compete with my comfort food of street fried noodles and 羊肉串儿 (lamb kabobs)? The simple answer is yes, they can. After one bowl of mango-flavored shaved ice cream, I was ready to book the next ticket to the island and eat my problems away.

Even though prices were a bit on the expensive side, ranging from fifteen to thirty RMB for a single item, it was well worth it. Among the food items offered were some generic street food items like bubble tea (served in lightbulb-shaped cups!) and fried chicken cutlets. However, Taiwan’s own unique street food tastes were there too–there was plenty of seafood like fried octopus balls, oyster omelettes, fried squid, as well as shaved ice cream (I’m mentioning it again, since it was the highlight), Durian pizza, cotton candy, and more. Since the vendors were all Taiwanese, there was a guarantee it was all authentic. Everything I ate was delicious and the only stall that sold out was the one selling ice cream waffles. Maybe I’ll go back and try them another day, or maybe I’ll go to the real Shilin Night Market. Was this whole set-up a clever marketing idea for Taiwanese tourism?

If you’re looking to visit the night market, be sure to go before it closes on Oct. 31. Daily hours are from 15:00 to 22:00 Monday to Friday, and 11:00 to 22:00 on Saturday and Sunday. Technically, the vendors only accept WeChat Pay or AliPay, but since I have neither, the vendors were more than accommodating in accepting my cash and scanning their own accounts.

The market is located outside Jinjiang Amusement Park, 201 Hongmei Road, right across from a subway stop of the same name (锦江乐园) at the end of Line 1. Happy eating foodies!

This article was written by Savannah Billman. Please send an email to managing@oncenturyavenue.com to get in touch.
Photo Credit: Andre Lucas

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