Huaxi Street Night Market (aka Snake Alley) is a mostly indoor night market that stretches from Bangka Old Street to Longshan Temple in Wanhua District of Taipei. Some specialties of this market include snake meat and turtle meat. Overall it is a unique night market experience in Taiwan that feels more like it is in Southeast Asia.
The land that Huaxi Street Night Market stands on was once part of Basay tribal land. The Basay people had lived on the land for thousands of years before the first Chinese settlers. The area at Bangka was a trading center for the Basay people before Chinese settlers ever came.
Maps dating to the Dutch rule in the 1600s marked Bangka as a trading location.
The name Bangka (or Měngjiǎ in Taiwanese Mandarin) comes from the fact that the Basay tribe called the Chinese trading ships that visited "Bangka" which means canoe, and was transliterated into Southern Min as (Bangkah 艋舺) which literally means small boat.
Later when the Japanese came they mistakenly heard Bangka as “Mange” in Japanese (Wàn huá 萬華 in Chinese), which is the current name of the area.
The settlement at Bangka (Měngjiǎ 艋舺) quickly grew into the largest settlement in Northern Taiwan. Settlements at Dadaocheng and Bopiliao nearby also began to sprout up.
Huaxi Street Night Market has been established for over 50 years. It used to be a red light district before prostitution was banned in Taiwan in 1991. Now it specializes in strange meats such as snake, turtle, and deer meat as well as animal blood. It is also known as "Snake Alley." You can also find normal Taiwanese night market snacks here.
4 PM to midnight every day
How to get there:
By Car/Scooter: From Ximending, go west on Guilin Road until you reach Huaxi Street. There is plenty of scooter parking on the street and paid car parking nearby.
By MRT: Take the blue line to Longshan Temple station, then walk northwest about two blocks to the night market.
Please see below:
I have been to Huaxi Street Market twice. The first time I went it really felt like I was in Thailand or Vietnam. Not many night markets in Taiwan are covered or have such exotic cuisine.
Guilin Road cuts through the middle of the night market, and on either side you can find "Huaxi Street" which is the covered night market area with a tin roof.
Inside are traditional Chinese lamps and organized signs for each shop.
Right away we saw a snake meat shop.
Mostly there are restaurants here.
Noodles, tea, and buns.
Fried beef shop.
Coconut juice and fruit juice shops.
Thai style massage shop.
Another massage shop, with prices similar to Southeast Asia.
Another foot massage shop.
Turtle and snake meat restaurant.
Chinese paintings and art for sale.
It is actually not that easy to find traditional Chinese scrolls in night markets in Taiwan, but you can find them here.
Kids taking photos with live snakes.
Cheap shoes shipped freshly from China probably.
A DVD shop still in operation.
Cheap dress shirts.
Bangka Night Market (Guangzhou Street Night Market) 艋舺夜市 （廣州街夜市）
At the southern end of the street, the night market becomes Bangka (Měngjiǎ 艋舺) Night Market which goes east to west along Guangzhou Street. This night market is also known as Guangzhou Street Night Market. Really, this night market and Huaxi Street are one interconnected super night market.
This night market is out in the open with no roof or covering. It is just your average Taiwan Night Market.
Cheap clothes for sale.
Soup stall and bazaar in the background.
Another view of the night market.
More dried seafood.
Vietnamese food stall with Bahn Mi.
Another view of Bangka Night Market.
Fountain near Longshan Temple MRT station.
Longshan Temple 龍山寺
If you walk to the east end of Bangka Night Market, you will reach Longshan Temple.
This temple dates back to 1738, and was built by Chinese settlers in Fujian in honor of the Longshan Temple in Fujian. The main deities worshipped here are Mazu and Guanyu. Due to its easy access to the Taipei MRT, the temple sees a lot of visitors.
Side view of the temple.
View of the temple roof.
Wall of the temple from the street.
You can also feed coy here.
At the other end of Huaxi Street Night Market, you will come to Guiyang Street, also known as Bangka Old Street.
Bangka Old Street 艋舺老街
For more info on Bangka Old Street, see our full blog on the old street here.
Thanks for reading and be sure to read more of our blogs on Taipei to come.
We are US Expats that have extensive experience living, working, and travelling in Taiwan. In our day, we had to learn many things about Taiwan the hard way. But we have come to learn that Taiwan is one of the best places in the world for Foreigners to live. Our blog does not represent the opinions of every foreigner in Taiwan. We are just trying to help others learn more about this beautiful country.