Keelung's Miaokou Night Market is a large night market in northern Taiwan, full of all kinds of delicious Taiwanese street food considered by some to be the best in Taiwan. The market consists mostly of food stalls in front of the Dianji Temple in Keelung, streching on both sides down the street. It is said to be a must see night market and one of the busiest in Taiwan.
The Miaokou Night Market started up after completion of the Dianji Temple (奠基宮) during the Qing Dynasty in 1873. At the time the temple was surrounded by rice fields, but by the Japanese Era the area around the temple began to be developed.
Food stalls really started to spread out at the entrance of the temple at the end of the Japanese Era. Since then, the famed food at Miaokou has brought more and more tourists to the area seeking delicious snacks.
In recent years (since 2017), many stalls at the night market have become vacant due to high rents, and there have been notably less people visiting the night market. Some say that this is because of the advent of online shopping and food delivery apps. However another big factor is overpriced properties and stingy landlords. The night market is not going to close down anytime soon, but Taiwan is going through an economic transition period that is not only affecting the rental market but also consumer trends. Despite this, you will still be able to find delicious food on the street any night of the year.
Every day 12:00 noon to 12:00 midnight.
How to get there:
By Train: Take the TRA to Keelung Station, then walk east on Zhongyi Road (忠一路) until you reach the night market.
By Bus: Taking Keelung Bus (intercity bus) or K-Bus from Taipei Main Station or City Hall to Keelung.
By Car: Take National Highway 1 north to the end of the highway until it becomes central Keelung, then turn right. There is plenty of parking to the south of the night market underground.
By Scooter: Take provincial highway 5 to central Keelung. There is parking along the street but you might have to walk a ways to be able to park in a legal spot.
Please see below:
I have been to Keelung's Miaokou Night Market twice; both times it rained, and both times it was packed with people. The nearest parking lot to the night market is about two blocks away. However you come, expect to walk a ways to get there, because there is no parking or large bus/train station nearby (unless you come by taxi).
The central feature of the night market (besides Dianji temple) is the iconic rows of yellow lanterns on either side of the main entrance.
Crab Soup 螃蟹羮
Below the yellow lanterns, on either side the main dish is crab soup. The typical price is around 50 NT, and includes crab meat inside a sweet and sour soup. I didn't have a photo of it on this trip but it is definitely worth a taste on your next trip there.
Dianji Temple 奠基宮
Dianji Temple (奠基宮, aka Shengwang Temple 聖王公廟) is the main feature of the night market. As explained in the background, this temple dates to 1873 during the Qing Dynasty rule of Taiwan. For more information about this temple, please check out this blog by Josh Ellis.
Inside the main entrance to the temple is another courtyard with some restaurants. When I was there there was a statue of one of the main Gods in the temple, "Kaize Holy King or Kaize Shengwang 開澤聖王," in the middle of the courtyard, adorned with Christmas lights.
Pot-side Sticker Soup 鼎邊銼
Here we tried pot-side sticker soup (Dingbiancuo 鼎邊銼), another Miaokou staple. A bowl here is only 60 NT. This was made famous by Anthony Bourdain during his TV show The Layover.
Pot-side sticker soup is a combination of seafood and fish meat along with cabbage in a sweet and sour soup. It's pretty good, and there is usually plenty of meat.
View of the main gate of the temple as we left into the busy main street.
Pot-Stickers/Boiled Dumplings 水餃
A traditional Chinese food not specific to Taiwan or Miaokou night market, we tried potstickers at a roadside stall in Miaokou.
Nothing beats a simple and delicous plate of boiled dumplings.
Taiwan Crepes 可麗餅
For dessert, we also tried some of the Taiwan crepes (可麗餅) at the market, which are just average crepes with sprinkles or ice cream in them, not really filling at all and super thin, but they always are so enticing.
Another crab soup stall.
Crab soup and oil rice stall sending steam into the air. There has to be at least 20 such stalls in this night market selling the same thing.
Guabao (割包, 刈包, aka Taiwanese Hamburger) is another popular treat in the night market, also made famous by Anthony Bourdain when he visited Taiwan (see the video below). Guabao has a soft steamed bun with braised pork, greens, and peanut powder mixed in. It's pretty good, and you should definitely try some if you come. There are two stalls that sold them when I was there. One is on the right on the temple side when you reach the first intersection, right in the intersection: this is the same stall that Anthony Bourdain ate at (same stall that I ate at in the picture above).
Anthony Bourdain is a dear and missed personality in the food and travel sphere. In his memory, you should watch his segment on Miaokou Night Market when he visited as part of his show The Layover. If the video above doesn't work, check out the link here.
There are many other treats to explore and enjoy in this night market, so go there and discover them for yourself!
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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.