Things to do in Taipei, Taiwan: Morning Markets

Taiwan's morning markets are ignored by most travel guide books, magazines and websites. But, if you really want to understand local culture, a walk through a morning market can teach you far more than a day at some sterile, packaged tourist attraction far away from real people's lives.

In the West, many people shop for food in giant supermarkets just once a week. But in Taiwan, most families shop for fresh food in the morning markets two, three or even four times a week, that's how they get the freshest ingredients. Taiwanese people really care about fresh ingredients, for health and taste reasons, and because small homes don't have storage space – they want vegetables the day they are picked, noodles the day they are made, fish the day they are caught, and so on.

In Taiwan, most supermarkets are much smaller than in the West, their fresh produce is not very fresh, and they are rarely busy before noon, because everyone goes to the morning market. (There are a handful of more Western-style places, like the expensive supermarkets around central Taipei and some giant stores, like Costco, in the suburbs).

The street department store

Actually, local people visit morning markets for many reasons, not simply for food. The market is like a department store on the street.

As well as fresh vegetables, fruit, meat, or seafood, you can see many other products. There's freshly prepared home-made food to eat or take away: noodles, sushi, snacks, desserts, buffeterias, dumplings , or pastries. Every stand in every market has its own original style and flavor, not like the boring standard flavors you get in fast food chains and shopping mall food courts.

Many housewives love to shop here, as there's a plentiful supply of housewares, women's fashions, kids' clothes, sports wear, women's underwear, shoes, cosmetics, or even jewelery, everything is affordable.

The free street theater

Sometimes I came back from the morning market without much shopping at all, but with a very lively spirit. I see all the stallholders are trying hard to sell their goods. They're constantly smiling, laughing, shouting, yelling, or even screaming to get customers – they enjoy performing on this stage. These people's passion for life moves me.

Feeling free is another thing that attracts me to shop in the morning. No suits, office clothes, high heels or hand bag. I am in my sandals, shorts, T-shirt, with a big shopping bag. I love the people behind the stands, their skin is dark, muscles are strong, they don't follow the latest fashions or styles, they talk loud and don't care, but they're friendly and very alive. The morning market might be not the coolest, cleanest place to shop. But I love it, love the way it's so earthy.

When to go

If you like to experience the morning market, weekend would be the best time to see everything. As shopping in the morning markets has became one of the most common family activities. Morning markets are flooded with people, the best supplies are waiting for the shoppers. You will find the most lively side of local people.

Of course, if you enjoy a quieter visit to the morning market when it's less crowded, then weekdays are good, but most of the morning markets are closed on Monday.

Markets don't have fixed opening hours, and individual stands will open at different times, and even close early if they're sold out. Normal morning street markets will be most active between 7am and 11.30am – the stands will usually be completely closed by midday.

Here's a list of morning markets in Taipei. The list includes addresses in English and Chinese, and the published opening time.

Comments

i am looking for something to

i am looking for something to do in the morning when i go to taipei.
i want to go to the markets but all of them are open 4pm onwards.
it's impossible that taipei does not have markets that are open in the morning, right?
so where are these best to visit taipei morning markets located?
are there shilin-type of morning market?

There are many morning

There are many morning markets in Taipei (a lot more than the number of night markets). So if you ask people, you should be able to find one in the area you're staying.
 
In fact, if you go to the Shi Lin market in the morning, it's actually an open day market. It starts very early in the morning, ends after mid day, and then the same area is used as a night market later.

Hi, Jodie, I'm researching

Hi, Jodie, I'm researching for my trip to Taiwan n a week, and your blog is amazing.
It's been extremely helpful.
By the way, do you happen to know how to book train tickets to Taroko Gorge from Taipei in advance?
I know most people buy their tickets at MRT Taipei Main Station, but I just wanted to get my tickets
in advance so I'd be sure to have them.
I'm going on a weekday, so hopefully there will be tickets, but I was trying to book them early online,
and don't have a starting point that's just "Taipei Main Station." Instead, the starting point for "Taipei" is Shulin, etc.
Do you have any suggestions?

Thanks so much! I'm excited to visit this country!

Hi, Thanks for your comment.

Hi,

Thanks for your comment. I'm really happy the website has been useful for you.

I think they use "Taipei" instead of Taipei main station. The departure station from Taipei, the code number is 100.

This is the booking page, you probably already found it: http://railway.hinet.net/net_eng.htm

You definitely can book tickets in advance, but I'm not certain if its possible to book the tickets by yourself without a local ID card.

Please let me know if you have more questions about this, or anything else.

Make a comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options