Living in abroad for an extended period of time, it can be easy to fall into what we like to call “the apathy trap.” It’s that sense that you’ve seen it all already, you’ve developed your routines, you know how to navigate fairly easily for the day to day, and you have already expended so much energy to just get to where you are functioning (fairly well) abroad. You really don’t need or want to deal with the mafan 麻烦 of something like visiting a temple on the other side of the city or the noise and congestion of a night market. There are times when we all need to pause, take a day off, however, some foreigners fall into these doldrums a little too completely. We sensed recently that we’re approaching one of these lulls, to shake things up, we decided to head with some friends to the Raohe Night Market for an evening of perusing stalls and filling our stomachs.
How to get there:
Ride the Green Line all the way out to Songshan, and take exit 4, 3, or 1 up to the street level. It’s a block north from there.
Everyone has a favorite night market in Taiwan, and the Raohe Night Market happens to be one of ours. It was established in the 80’s and has been a popular destination for locals and foreigners alike ever since. It is tightly packed in the way that the best night markets are just a couple thousand feet of stalls with everything from fried pepper buns to squid balls to papaya juice stands. It has the atmosphere of a fair or a carnival with people and energy that is easy to get swept up in. You tend to eat and shop your way towards one end and then turn around and do the same on the other side of the street going in the opposite direction.
“We need to do this more” was the first thought popped into this author’s head after biting into a fried potato spiral on a warm December night in Taipei. It can be easy to fall into patterns of operating abroad that don’t include the things that we were first introduced to on our arrival to Taiwan. We try to save money, we get caught up in our own lives, neighborhoods, and activities and in the process we forget to return, from time to time, to the parts of the city that made us fall in love with Taiwan in the first place. And if you are new to Taiwan, or have not been to the different night markets, checking out Raohe can be an incredible place to start. Enjoy.