How to Dine Like a Local at Nanjichang Night Market in Taipei

A woman food vendor scooping some food in a steaming stall in Nanjichang Night Market

Nanjichang is a true gem among Taipei night markets. Despite its central location not far from famous attractions like Longshan Temple, CKS Memorial Hall, and Ximending, few tourists ever make it to Nanjichang.

As a result, Nanjichang is often described as the most “local” of Taipei’s major night markets. You can expect lower prices but also less English spoken here – that’s why a guide like this will be especially important if you want to find the best foods there.

This night market is overflowing with scrumptious eats, a handful of which have obtained Michelin status. It is especially known for its stinky tofu and wide selection of traditional Taiwanese dishes. It’s also one of the best night markets in Taipei for vegetarians, not to mention many stalls are also open for lunch.

I’ll cover it all below, based on multiple visits over the years. Once you’ve done all the touristy night markets like Shilin, Raohe, Tonghua, and Ningxia, it’s time to get more local at Nanjichang!

Nanjichang Night Market Introduction

Neon red letters of the Nanjichang Night Market in English and Mandarin on an arch over the night market
Nanjichang Night Market main entrance

The name Nanjichang (南機場 or “South Airport”) harks back to the Japanese period, when there was a military airport in the area. This was Taipei’s southern airport, while Songshan Airport (still operating today) is in the north of the city.

Most (but not all) stalls are numbered (89 in total + 17 daytime-only stalls). This will make it much easier for you to find the stalls I’m going to recommend below. The night market even has an official website with a description of every numbered food stall (Mandarin only).

For very serious foodies, you could go through the website and translate all of them, but if you don’t have that kind of time, don’t worry – I’ll be recommending the best ones below!

For noteworthy stalls that aren’t numbered, I’ll mention how to find them below, plus I’ll include links to every stall’s location on GoogleMaps. You can also find a map of the night market at some stalls, but of course also in Mandarin only.

A sea of people in a narrow road with night market stalls along the right side
Typical crowds at Nanjichang Night Market

In the last few years, many of then numbered stalls now have English menus above, which will help you to decide – but that doesn’t mean the vendors will be able to speak or understand it. Some pointing or using a translation app may still be necessary.

Note that some stalls take a break on certain days of the week, especially Monday, so you might want to avoid that day.

Some vendors are open for lunch and all afternoon, too. Finally, some of the most popular vendors only open until their supplies run out, which sometimes happens early. Visiting around 5 to 7 PM is ideal.

See other non-touristy places in my guide to getting off the beaten track in Taipei.

Getting There

A map of Nanjichang Night Market showing the best walking route
Map of Nanjichang Night Market (the arrows show the direction we’ll be walking)

The night market is a 20-minute walk from Longshan Temple MRT or 15-minute walk from Xiaonanmen Market via Taipei Botanical Garden.

There are also many bus options – use GoogleMaps directions to find the best route from wherever you are – or simply hop in a taxi or Uber.

Zhonghua Road section 2 lane 315 alley 5 (中華路二段315巷5弄) is the night market’s main street, with five alleys branching out to either side of it (Alleys 307, 309, 311, 313, and 315).

For the below tour, we’ll be walking south down the market’s main street, and turning left or right down each of those alleys whenever the best foods entice us.

Only the stalls on the main road are numbered. The stalls found down the alleys are not numbered or listed on the Nanjichang Night Market website, even though they include some of the best and most famous ones.

What to Eat at Nanjichang Night Market

Assuming that you’re arriving from Longshan Temple or Xiaonanmen, we’ll start this night market tour here, at the main (northern) entrance to Nanjichang.

Thus, you’ll be walking in a southeastern direction into the market, and I’ll describe vendors in the order you’d encounter them.

Alley 305 (Outside the Night Market)

One alley before you even reach the night market entrance, there are two vegetarian spots worth mentioning. Coming from the north, you’ll hang a right down alley 305 to find them.

Vegetarian Meesua & Buffet

You can get vegan vermicelli soup (麵線 mianxian or “meesua” in the Taiwanese language) at Azong Vegetarian Meesua (阿宗素食麵線).

The stall has the same Mandarin name as the very famous mianxian vendor in Ximending, Ay-Chung Flour Rice Noodle, except with the characters for “vegetarian food” added to it. I seriously love the vegetarian version of this dish, which comes with crispy mock meat chunks on top (the usual version has intestines and/or oysters).

The price is also very low, at only TWD 45 for a large bowl. The owner is a devout Buddhist. Note that it’s open 7 AM to 7 PM – get it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner!

Right next door to it, Jingning Fragrant Vegetarian Food (淨寧香素食) is a typical vegetarian buffet, where you help yourself, pay by weight, and get a bowl of rice at the till. Learn more about this kind of restaurant in my Taiwan vegetarian guide.

Alley 307 – Night Market Entrance

Nanjichang Night Market’s main entrance is here on Lane 307. You can’t miss the sign over the street. As soon as you enter the night market, you’ll be overwhelmed with options.

We’ll be sticking to the main road here (you won’t be going left or right down alley 307).

Xiaodi Tube Rice Pudding

Close up of a small metal bowl with tube-shaped mound of rice topped with meat, spicy sauce, and doused in red sweet and sour sauce
Tube rice pudding

The popular Xiaodi Tube Rice Pudding (曉迪筒仔米糕, stall #2) is on the left corner just as you enter the night market, with a small seating area.

The signature traditional Taiwanese dish here is tube rice pudding (筒仔米糕), which consists of a tube-shaped block of flavored rice topped with pork, mushroom, shallots, egg, dried shrimps, and doused in sweet and savoury sauce.

The large menu includes other classic dishes like braised pork rice (滷肉飯 or luroufan), pork rib soup with wintermelon or taro, stewed bamboo, braised egg, and braised tofu. The menu board has English.

The vendor is open for lunch and all afternoon, but closed on Saturdays.

Shan Nay Chicken

A black tray on a table that's holding 7 bowls of food – two clear soups, two chicken dishes, two bowls of rice, and a bowl of vegetables
Chicken galore (“山內雞肉” by Funstyle is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Opposite the above, Shan Nay Chicken (山內雞肉, stall #3) is another popular stall just a few steps into the night market.

Locals can’t seem to get enough of this stall, which does all things chicken. The menu includes chicken rice (with a whole piece of chicken not the usual shredded chicken) angelica chicken soup, chicken curry, and various side dishes. It also has a small seating area.

The vendor has won Michelin Plate status several years in a row. Popular items sometimes run out early.

Just like the last entry, this one’s also open from lunch till 9 PM but takes a break on Saturdays.

Badong Glutinous Rice Ball Soup

Close up of a white bowl of chilled jelly with a metal spoon holding up a chunk of longan
Traditional dessert soup with longan and snow fungus

For very traditional dessert soups, try Badong Glutinous Rice Ball Soup (八棟圓仔湯, stall #14). This 40+ year-old vendor is on the left side of the main road, between Lane 307 and 309.

This vendor serves a wide variety of sweet soups, hot or iced. Most come with their signature glutinous rice balls (湯圓 or tangyuan), which are filled with sweet black sesame sauce.

Popular options include the very common red bean one soup (紅豆湯圓) or more unique rice wine egg drop soup (酒醋湯圓).

I decided to try something new for me: snow fungus and smoked longan soup (銀耳桂圓湯). I had it iced and it was very refreshing, light, and not too sweet.

There is seating inside and the owners are very friendly.

Alley 309

Keelung Black Wheel Fish Cakes

Close up of a couple plates of fish cakes on a metal counter, with giant vats full of other ingredients steaming in broth behind them
Taiwanese oden and fish cakes

Keelung Black Wheel Fish Cakes (基隆黑輪綜合甜不辣, stall #13, right side corner of Alley 309) specializes at oden (a Japanese dish of various items cooked in a dashi and soy sauce broth) and Keelung-style fish cakes (甜不辣 or tianbula).

Take your pick from the various oden items soaking in the soup. They’ll douse your choices in delicious sauce and serve them on a small metal plate if you stay. You’ll get a small bowl of salty soup of the side, which perfectly washes down the sweet sauce.

I don’t understand how this stall could only have 2.9 stars on GoogleMaps – local reviewers tend to be hyper critical when it comes to street food and how they think it should be. I thought the food here was excellent! It also has around 40 years of history.

The cover image of this article is also a shot of this food stall.

Smelly Boss Location 2

Close up of a bowl of soup with two big hunks of stinky tofu with basil and vegetable slices on top
A rare vegetarian version of stewed stinky tofu

One of Nanjichang’s most famous food stalls has two locations in the night market, and it’s 100% vegan! The name Smelly Boss (or Stinky Boss) refers to the signature item, stinky tofu.

Smelly Boss Location #2 (臭老闆現蒸臭豆腐-二店, turn left and walk halfway down Alley 309, on the right side) is the second location. Smelly Boss has even picked up Michelin Bib Gourmand status is past years.

Stinky boss does the spicy, stewed version of stinky tofu (麻辣臭豆腐), as opposed to the crispy deep fried kind. It is honestly some of the best stinky tofu I’ve ever had.

A hunk of tofu comes in a bowl of broth garnished with a few ginger slices, mushrooms, and Asian basil. If you’re wondering why I mention that it’s vegetarian, that’s because many stinky tofu vendors in Taiwan actually use some meat in the soup or sauce.

On the paper ordering menu, you can select the option of 5 levels of spiciness: super spicy (超辣), very spicy (大辣), medium spicy (中辣), little spicy (小辣), slightly spicy (微辣), or not spicy (不辣).

There are several other vegetarian items on the menu, including dumplings and veggie meat rice. They are open from lunch till 9:30 PM and take a break on Thursdays – on that day, try their other location in the night market (see below).

Lai Lai Dumpling Shop

Close up of a white plate with a couple dozen boiled Taiwanese dumplings on it
Best dumplings in Nanjichang

For the best dumplings in Nanjichang Night Market, go to Lailai Dumpling (來來水餃店, turn right down alley 309 and walk halfway down to #9 on the right side).

This dumpling shop is always full but does quick turn-around. The minimum is five dumplings per person and they are TWD 8 a piece.

The dumplings come in two types: pork and cabbage or leak, pork, and glass noodles. They also have a few side dishes and large bowls of hot and sour soup.

Haoji Knife Cut Noodles

Close up of a bowl of noodle soup with black chopsticks holding up one of the thick, wide noodles, and meat chunks and green veggies in the soup
Knife cut noodle soup

At Haoji Knife Cut Noodles (好記刀削麵, end of lane 309) you can enjoy knife cut noodles (刀削麵 or daoxiaomian), which are thick noodles hacked off from a large block.

The perfectly chewy noodles are served in a variety of soups, broths, or vegetarian sesame sauce (素麻醬麵). The long menu includes other Chinese items like and green onion cakes wrapped around meat and scallions, green grass jelly with spicy Sichuan sauce (麻辣涼粉), and a whole section of vegetarian dishes.

This is a sit-down place. Come here for a full meal rather than a small snack. The menu is all in Mandarin, so use a translation app if needed.

Savoury Oyster Fritters

A large, battered, deep fried ball of oyster and green onions on top of another deep food in a take-away container with brown-red sauce
Huge deep fried oyster balls

Returning to the main road of the night market, my next recommendation is Savoury Oyster Fritters (好佳蚵嗲, stall #28 on the main road between Lane 309 and 311).

The oyster fritters (蚵嗲 or hedie), or as I’ve always called them, deep fried oyster balls, are massive deep fried balls of batter, whole oysters, green onions served with Taiwanese sweet and sour sauce.

The oyster balls are a specialty of Chiayi, which is known for its huge oysters. The balls are sliced open and doused in sauce. There’s also a cuttlefish version (花枝嗲) and a bacon one (培根嗲).

There are a few other enticing deep-fried options on offer, including battered bunches of cilantro, chives, or celery, deep fried mushrooms, deep fried radish cakes, and deep fried tofu.

Alley 311

A-Nan Sesame Oil Chicken

A food vendor's menu displayed in blue Mandarin charatcers on a white lit up sign above the stall, with the stall name 阿男 in red
Famous sesame oil chicken stall

Turn left and walk halfway down lane 311 to find this humble, Michelin rated stall, A-Nan Sesame Oil Chicken (阿男麻油雞, on the right side).

The stall is famous for the incredibly rich flavor of its bowls of sesame oil chicken (麻油雞). Some say this is the best sesame oil chicken in all of Taipei, but this would be a hotly disputed claim.

This is not the prettiest of dishes, but it’s all about the flavor of the broth. There are options with chicken leg, pork slices, pork heart, kidney, and liver.

The stall takes a break on Mondays.

Roll Roll Village Tiramisu Cilantro Ice Cream Wraps

A wrap covered in peanut brittle shavings with a block of tiramisu ice cream in the middle topped with cilantro
Tiramisu ice cream wrap with crazy amount of peanut brittle

Roll Roll Village (捲捲村, stall #60, right side of main road between Alley 311 and 313) does a unique take on this dish which tourists tend to love.

Peanut ice cream wraps (花生捲冰) usually consist of a few scoops of traditional Taiwanese ice cream with peanut brittle shavings and cilantro – the combination is unusual but somehow it works!

At this stall, they replace the usual Taiwanese ice cream with a large hunk of tiramisu-flavored ice cream (with real booze in it). To top it off, they put more peanut brittle shavings than I’ve ever seen – it’s borderline too much!

This treat is seriously worth the extra money (TWD 100, consider sharing with a friend), but you can get a normal (non-tiramisu) one for TWD 60 or just try a scoop of their homemade ice cream on its own.

Linji Nanjichang Stinky Tofu

A middle aged taiwanese vendor wearing face mask while deep frying some cubes of tofu
Deep fried stinky tofu

If you want to try to regular deep fried stinky tofu, as opposed to the spicy/stewed kind, get it at Linji Nanjichang Stinky Tofu (林記南機場臭豆腐 , stall #65, main road opposite the last entry).

This stall does this one kind of stinky tofu and that’s it. As always, it comes with pickled cabbage. Just follow the stink!

Alley 313

Vegan Crispy Mushroom Tempura

Close up inside a white paper bag of some deep fried mushrooms
Deep fried mixed mushrooms

Vegans and vegetarians rejoice: Vegan Crispy Mushroom Tempura (卍鮮菇道鹽酥天婦羅 stall #66, left-side corner of Alley 313) is a Buddhist vegetarian version of those fried food stalls you see all over Taiwan (note the Buddhist swastika on the sign and in the name).

Besides their signature king oyster mushrooms (杏鮑菇), oyster mushrooms (秀珍菇), or the most recommended combination of the two mushrooms (綜合野菇), they have at least 3 dozen other items, all to be deep fried.

It’s not the easiest stall to order from though. There’s English on the menu board but not on the paper menu that you need to order from – use a translation help if needed.

What’s more, it can be busier than meets the eye. When I ordered, there was no line, but I quickly realized that many people had ordered before me. I waited a staggering 45 minutes for my food. Avoid this stall at peak times (around 7 to 9 PM), unless you don’t mind a super long wait.   

Wu Wang Tsai Chi Popiah Spring Rolls

For Michelin-recommended popiah rolls, seek out Wu Wang Tsai Chi (吾旺再季潤餅捲專賣, turn left on Lane 313 and walk halfway down to address #29).

As for the “Taiwanese burritos”, popiah (潤餅 or runbing) here, I’m honestly a little surprised that a dish that is essentially a cold wrap could clinch a Michelin Bib Gourmand award, but here’s why:

The popiah are packed with 10 super fresh ingredients, including crispy pork, bean sprouts, pickled vegetables, cilantro, and a generous amount of peanut powder.

Each bite is a medley of textures and, this being Taiwan, an undeniable sweetness. The combination of flavors may seem odd, depending on what kind of wraps you’re used to, or you might just love it.

The stall is popular, despite being tucked away down the lane. Supplies often run out before the end of the day. It’s open from 3:30, so go here first. It’s closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Hejia Steamed Stinky Tofu & Smelly Boss Location 1

Hejia Steamed Stinky Tofu (禾甲蒸臭豆腐, turn right at Lane 313, a few steps in on the left) is another vegetarian stinky tofu shop. To me, it seems like a carbon copy of Smelly Boss (I don’t know which one came first, though). They even garnish their stinky tofu in exactly the same way, which I haven’t seen anywhere outside of Nanjichang.

In fact, some visitors end up at this one, thinking they’re at Stinky Boss, which is further down the same alley (maybe this was intentional?) Inevitably the two shops are compared, with some locals preferring this one to Smelly Boss.

Further down the alley and also on the left, Smelly Boss Now Steamed Tofu (臭老闆現蒸臭豆腐-本店) is the original location of Smelly Boss. Just like location 2, it’s all vegan and the same menu. This one is open from lunch till 10:30 PM and closes on Wednesdays.

Nanjichang Taro King

Close up of mounds of taro, sweet potato balls, and tapioca peals
Taro and all the other goodies on ice

Almost directly across from Smelly Boss, Nanjichang Taro King (南機場芋頭大王) is a popular traditional shaved ice shop.

Besides the namesake taro ingredient, they’ve got all the traditional toppings to choose from – red bean, boiled peanuts, various jellies, pearls, tangyuan, douhua (tofu pudding), and more.

As usual, it will come doused in brown sugar syrup – ask for half sweet (半糖 or ban tang) if you don’t want so much.

Nanjichang Changhua Bawan

A metal vat full of oil and Taiwanese meatballs, with drying rack on top
Bawan or “Taiwanese meatballs”

Returning to the main road, Nanjichang Changhua Bawan (南機場彰化肉圓) is between Lane 313 and 315, on the left side. This is a popular and long-running Taiwanese meatball (肉圓 or bawan in Taiwanese) stall run by an elderly couple.

The bawan are made of pork and bamboo coated in a sticky rice layer which becomes gelatinous when cooked, then served with Taiwanese sweet and sour sauce. You have the option to add spicy sauce and cilantro. They also serve mushroom fish ball soup.

Unfortunately, this stall is only open in the afternoon. It is numbered 日17 (daytime 17).

Unnamed Clay Oven Roll

Close up of a box of roasted pastries
Fresh pastries straight off the grill

Unnamed Clay Oven Roll (無名推車燒餅, stall #72, left side between Alley 313 and 315) is quite possibly the single most popular stall in Nanjichang Night Market, complete with Michelin status.

The stall has been attracting a long queue every evening for many years. It’s not that the stall doesn’t have a name – just 無名 (no name) is literally its name.

The stall’s specialty flaky pastries come in four varieties: scallion (長燒餅), salty pork 鹽酥餅, red bean 紅豆餅), and sugar 甜酥餅. They are cooked on the spot on a round griddle, and thanks to the quick turnover rate, you’ll almost always get them hot right off the grill.

Once they sell out, sometimes as early as 7 PM, the stall closes. They take a break on Wednesdays.

Alley 315

Once you hit the dead end at Alley 315 at the southern end of the market, that’s pretty much the end of it. Hope you’re full!

Here are some of my other favorite night markets across Taiwan.

Leave a Comment