On our way back from the National Palace Museum, we asked the cab driver to take us to the MRT station which happened to be next to the largest night market in Taipei. So we decided while we were there we would give it a shot. Though it was about an hour before official opening time (according to what we read), it looked like things were starting to bustle, so we started off down the alley. This picture of Adam (with the backpack) was taken shortly after we entered before it got crowded.
It's hard to explain what a Taipei night market is like unless you've already seen one. Just imagine lots of people, lots of vendors, a carnival-like atmosphere, bright lights, bright colors, diversity of all the senses -- all lining both sides of some very narrow alley ways... and you're beginning to get the picture. Most folks were on foot, though a few cars and mopeds would also make their way through the alley. It's amazing how they can manuever -- the only time we saw anyone come near to bumping into a moving vehicle was when the handle of a moped attacked a woman's sweater almost pulling her over.
In the Shihlin market you could buy clothes, jewelry, shoes, food... just about anything. And the Taiwanese are very creative about their food! Fried this and that, seafood, various beverages, fresh vegetables -- some of it actually smelled and looked pretty good to us, but we still weren't quite brave enough to take the plunge. We didn't buy anything either as there wasn't much that was really on our shopping to-do-list. We did however get an eye/ear/nose full of the sights, sounds and abundant aromas. By the time we left the market, there was barely enough room to squeeze through due to the over abundance of people. Again the personal space buffer was out the window. This was one of the strangest dishes one could buy in the market... needless to say we passed on this one too! :)