We stumbled upon Ruifeng Night Market by accident during the day, when it is closed with a spooky abandoned amusement park Scooby Doo vibe.
Speaking of Scooby Doo, we return at night we to be greeted by this fine hound manning (hounding) the subway entrance. His paw is pointing to the markets, "go thattaway".
Rueifeng Night Market is large and crowded, just as busy as the tourist markets. The stalls are similar to the ones we saw at other tourist night markets, just with less of the pricey seafood stalls, not so much of the gimmicky stalls, and less English.
We didn't try to photograph every stall here, we weren't in the mood for it, but here's a whole bunch of photos to give you an idea of what it's like.
We saw fish ball stands similar to this all over Taiwan but we never got around to trying them. Next time.
Bubbling broth pots in different flavours.
We don't trust night market sushi stalls. Not sure why. Notice the Spam options in the top right hand corner.
As well as snacky foods on sticks you can more substantial, sit-down, dining at most nightmarkets in Taiwan.
Many stalls are pick n mix options, select the vegetables, protein and starch and they are either souped or stir fried for you.
This man appears to be master of his grill, we give it a go.
Mmmm, rice stuffed chicken...
Piggy biscuits for the piggy in all of us.
Mr Shawn was drooling over the bakery, he's an absolute freak for freshly baked plain cake, alas we had to conserve stomach space.
A sign said this was pine slope pork, whatever that may be. Not even Google can answer that one.
Or was this Pine Slope Pork? Looks more like the classic grilled pork you'd find in Singapore and Hong Kong.
Frozen steaks cooked en masse on grill. There was no shortage of beef dishes in the markets, it seemed plentiful and not overly expensive. Taiwan seemed to be one of the most beef friendly places we have traveled, perhaps not for the cows.
Did we say there were less gimmicky foods here? Mmmmm. We were tempted by this cheese chicken, it looks so wrong it must be right.
Aussie meat pies! Take that all you Taiwanese food chains coming to Australia! We export a cultural culinary delight back to Taiwan. Wish we tried one...
Duck roll ladies.
Taiwanese soft bread roll wrapped around spiced duck and sauce. It was cruelty to share just one.
Pickled vegetables and dipping sauces. The tiny tomatoes looked they would burst right in front of you they were so rich and ripe.
Like all Taiwanese night markets we visited there's a large fun fair section. This is like a low rent version of The Price is Right.
Plenty of room for al fresco dining.
More fun fair stuff - fishing for bottles - from memory they were trying to make the bottle stand upright.
Is that teppenyaki, okonomiyaki or both?
Bubbling oden style sticks.
Don't do it man, it's rigged!
Ah, whatever, it's still fun! Maybe he might just win a giant stuffed duck to take home.
Soft tofu stand.
Hard fried tofu stand. Potentially stinky.
While there's much more picture-worthy food around, we really felt like a plain old fishball soup.
But these are pork filled Fujian style fishballs which are awesome.
The fishball sisterhood.
Another ripper we didn't have room for - a soup filled bread roll. This stall was being run by two young Taiwanese folks who had been very influenced by Japanese culture. They were just trialling out this new venture, good luck to them!
Roll up! Roll up! Have a go or I'll bite your hand off.
More toasty fingers. Bread cut into strips and baked with different flavours, both herby or sweet. Like adult teething rusks.
Green Onion pancakes in multiple flavours. The pancake gets used like a waffle or taco and is folded and filled with different flavours.
A scary looking kebab. After years of travelling Asia we've never been brave enough to tackle a roadside doner kebab, they always look like a sweaty festering mass of food poisoning.
Sliced stuffed sausage, a big sausage little sausage variation.
There's a couple of rows of clothing stalls in the middle, if that's your thing.
Lots of duck bits.
Fresh steamed peanuts and corn on the cob.
Ready to select for dunking in hot broth, these skewers looked fresh and inviting.
Chicken teriyaki style skewers.
So many of the stalls had autographs from famous visitors on the front.
We've noticed steak is a popular night market dish, so we want give the Want Go steak house a go. It's been a steak house in a tent since 1988.
How could you not want to Want Go? Steak in a pepper sauce on noodles with a googie on a sizzling hot plate. East meets West then puts out on the first date. Class.
View from our table at the steakhouse. Only problem was that we couldn't find a beer. So the waiter bloke runs off to the Seven Eleven and got us a couple of crisp, cold Heinekens. That's five star service at the Want Go steakhouse.
Banana skin. Gotta try that.
Banana skins and innards battered by Santa's spunky helpers.
Battered banana skins taste like banana fritters. The out-of-focus lady in the background was photobombing with a huge grin on her face. Sorry about the too-wide aperture settings photobomb lady...
So are the tourist night markets so different from the more 'local' ones? Not really. Both have a lot of the same stuff, the tourist markets possibly have a higher number of crappy and gimmicky stalls. They're all good.
We love Taiwan.