9pm is when crowds begin to thicken in the streets of Taipei, which is generally considered a safe city. More diners throng the street-side eateries that whip up seafood, stir-fries, robatayaki, congee, goose and spicy hotpot later in the night.
Compared to a proper dinner, a late-night supper is a more informal and wallet-friendly affair. The banter and laughter over food also become louder later at night. Diners leave not only with filled stomachs but a hoarse voice from shouting over the din.
The streets in Taipei become buzzier after 9pm as tuition centres, department stores and restaurants close for the day, which increases the number of people on the hunt for street food options. This is coupled with the post-dinner dining crowd who are looking for ways to spend their evenings.
The first surge of late-night diners usually prefer dishes with heavier flavours, such as robatayaki and sliced goose meat platter that are washed down with alcohol. Hotpot is another popular option for those craving for a filling meal.
An hour or two after midnight, another wave of hunger diners emerge from clubs, karaoke bars and cinemas, reigniting the late-night food scene. Congee and noodle shops are especially popular during this time. Exhausted from partying, these diners crave for a light supper to keep the stomach warm and cure their hangovers.
Enjoying a good meal at Michelin-recommended restaurant after hours is not entirely impossible in Taipei. One-Michelin-starred yakiniku restaurant Da Wan opens till midnight on weekdays and 2am on Fridays and Saturdays. Many diners are attracted by its use of first-grade beef, including Japanese wagyu. If you are worried about messing up the expensive piece of meat you’ve just ordered, ask the experienced restaurant staff to cook it for you. Each server is assigned to one customer at the bar counter, which makes things easier for solo diners. A meal costs NT$3,000 (S$132) on average.
At the nearby Ningxia night market, Rong’s Pork Liver and Liu Yu Zi, which are known for its fried taro balls, are listed as Bib Gourmand Restaurants. The bestselling pork liver soup at the Rong’s Pork Liver, which has been around for around 60 years, tastes fresh and does not carry the stench from the intestines.
At 11:30pm, be prepared to get in line and queue at Liu Yu Zai as its popular fried taro balls sell out quickly. Most of the stalls close till they run out of food so arriving earlier is recommended. Spend a night on the streets in Taipei, and you will realise that the night gets more delicious.
This article was written by Chen Ching Yi and translated by Vincent Leung. Click here to read the original version of this story.