Food is a big part of the travel experience, and definitely is the first thing I think about when I wake up every morning.
Unlike the farmers market in the US that only happens once or twice a week, in Taiwan there’s a morning market nearby that I can go buy breakfast and lunch every single day when visiting.
Morning markets are usually packed with housewives and elderly population who are doing their daily grocery shopping. Morning markets tends to sell a lot of raw food materials like freshly chopping pork, vegetables, chicken, and also hot food to bring home for lunch (not to eat there).
Most of the vendors at the morning market has been there for their whole life, sometimes they even pass their business down to the next generation. Locals also has a habit of buying food from certain vendors in the market, as the life-long relationship is established between both sides. Every time I go back to the morning market near my house, I still recognize the vendors I’ve seen since my elementary school age, and buys from those few vendors.
(Photo Above: Rice balls in Taiwan are influenced by Japanese’ concept of onigiri/pure rice balls. However, rice balls in Taiwan uses long grain rice, which is more sticky and chewy, with stewed egg, shredded pork, preserved vegetables, and seaweed in it)
Between night and morning market, I do like the morning market a little bit better. You get to buy fresh, seasonal fruits & food in larger quantities and in cheaper price as you haggle your way through. They also have greater variety of local delicacies at the morning market than the night markets (which are geared towards young people and tourists).
Many vendors also love to chat and make friends with their customers. It is a morning ritual for many to come to the market and catch up on gossips about what is going on in the neighborhood.
(Photo: Candied nuts with the green tea flavor on top, the bottom ones are candied nuts with rose pedals. Taiwanese do not like super sweet desserts like Japanese do, instead Taiwanese people prefers lightly candied nuts, fruits, and shaved ice with beans. )
(Photo Above: Spring rolls in Taiwan are not fried like the Chinese spring rolls in USA. Spring rolls in Taiwan are about 7 inches tall, 2-3 inches thick, filled with shredded carrots, cucumbers, meat pieces, cabbage, cilantro, noodles, and sugared peanut powder.)
(Photo Above: Bean curd at the front, steamed pig blood rice pieces in the back. I know, the steamed pig blood rice may sound gross at first, but it has no taste and smell of blood at all. The texture is rather like a hardened mochi)
Vendors at the morning market tends to be more friendly towards photographer. Many of the vendors welcomed me and my camera with open arms (even gave me tips on what and how to take their food photos 😄).
So, if you wake up in the early morning (around 7am-10am), love trying new food, and want to take photos somewhere, I recommend a trip to the traditional morning market in Taiwan.
These photos were taken at XiangShang Market/向上市場 in TaiChung City/台中, Central Taiwan. The market has been around 23 years, with over 260 vendors in the market. Opens Monday – Saturday from 7am to 2pm. Go before 11am if you want to try some popular food stands like the rice ball or spring roll stand.
Because morning markets usually cover couple blocks in the area, the easiest way to go is to tell the taxi driver the market’s name “向上市場/ XiangShang Market” or intersection (XiangShang Road/向上路 & ZhongMei Street/中美街), and they get you there in no time.
TaiChung XiangShang Market 向上市場 Map: