Lehua Night Market 樂華夜市 in Yonghe (southern part of New Taipei) is a big and popular night market in the Greater Taipei area. I was very eager to see some night markets I haven't seen yet during my 2010 Taiwan adventure, so I suggested to my girlfriend to visit some in New Taipei first, because last year we mostly focused on Taipei City proper. The Lehua is not hard to find. You need to take the MRT train to Dingxi MRT Station (Orange line) and then walk 10-15min south to Yongping Road (check this map and don't use others, too many are inaccurate). The name 樂華夜市 (lèhuá yèshì) would be roughly translated as "Happy flourishing night market", a very flowery name (no pun intended).
MY IMPRESSION: The market is very clean and neat. Especially the paving stands out, because it reminded me of Europe. There is one main road, but it's not too long. If you walk slowly without stopping, you can reach the end in 5-10 min. But there is a longer side road, where you also have some food stalls and that's part of the night market as well. The main road is wide and that day (it was a rainy Monday), it was easy to walk, there were not so many people and scooters, it was pleasant. But I guess it may be a little crazier during the weekend. This night market is probably half about food and half about clothes ("Made in China" jeans are sold there in huge masses). Lehua seems to be more suitable for young people, while Guangzhou Street is better for older folks.
WHAT KIND OF FOOD IS COMMON: The most common food here is steak 牛排 (niúpái). All kinds of restaurants with steaks on hot plates are seen all over the market. These steaks are not like the ones in the West, but I guess foreigners who live here or just visit would still like them. The rest of the food is pretty diverse. You have your standard bubble tea shops, oyster omelette and stinky tofu stalls as well as various finger food such as the cheese potato 起士馬鈴薯 (qǐshì mǎlíngshǔ), chicken thigh roll with cheese 起司雞腿捲 (qǐsī jītuǐ juǎn), fried sandwich 營養三明治 (yíngyǎng sānmíngzhì, also called "salad submarine"), pork thigh with rice 腿庫飯 (Taiw. tuiko), deep-fried twisted dough stick also known as youtiao (油條) with almond milk (杏仁茶) and the coffin sandwich 棺材板 (guāncái bǎn, a Tainan delicacy).
MUST-TRY FOOD AT LEHUA NIGHT MARKET: If you ask me, this is what I would recommend to you: Try the chicken thigh roll with cheese, fried sandwich and the coffin sandwich, these were very tasty. I would not recommend the youtiao with almond milk. Actually I don't like almond milk that much, the dough stick is not bad, though. Once I visit the Lehua again, I may add some other must-try foods to the list.
Let me show you some of my photos and videos of Lehua Night Market (Feb 2011):
This is the entrance to the Lehua Night Market.
POPULAR SNACK: CHICKEN THIGH ROLL WITH CHEESE 起司雞腿捲
POPULAR SNACK: FRIED SANDWICH 營養三明治
POPULAR SNACK: YOUTIAO 油條
POPULAR SNACK: COFFIN SANDWICH 棺材板
To find the night market, go to Dingxi MRT and go out at Exit 1, walk southwards along the Yonghe Road, in about 10-15min you will reach the night market (Click on map for Google map).
IN CONCLUSION: I like this night market a lot and would recommend it to anyone, who visits Taipei. Maybe it wouldn't be the one I would visit regularly, but now and then I would certainly drop by. The market is clean and well maintained. The food is very diverse and some snacks are very special, they're surely worth a try. The prices are affordable, that means if you're European, American or Japanese, you will feel you can eat a lot of tasty food for relatively small money. Check the video on the left, you will see two skilled Taiwanese cooks and a little bit of atmosphere of the night market.