Welcome to the photo series Eater Scenes, in which photographers visit some of the world's great restaurants to capture them at a certain, and very specific, point in the day. Today, photographer/videographer Stan Lee visits Taipei's iconic Shilin Night Market.
Every night at 5 p.m., Taipei's Shilin District lights up as locals and tourists alike flock to one of the city's largest attractions: the Shilin Night Market, featuring hundreds of vendors, games, and of course, food. The market's dozens of food vendors — some cooking on stationary stands, others wheeling carts — sell everything from skewered cuttlefish to fresh fruit to Taiwanese sausages, though on a recent night, the longest lines wrapped around stands dedicated to two of the market's most iconic dishes: pan-fried buns and slabs of fried chicken cutlets.
Last Wednesday evening from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Eater photographer Stan Lee captured all the vendors (and diners) in action. At the chicken stall, cutlets were pulled from the street-side deep fryer with tongs, shaken of their excess oil, and simply wrapped in paper before being handed over to the diner. Visitors sat on bare stoops and staircases to eat their more-unwieldy dishes. And while those snacking on skewers could easily navigate the clothing vendors and game stalls, one game offered its own built-in culinary component. Players crouched on plastic stools, hovering over a set-up that challenged them to "fish" for their own live shrimp; if the player was successful at skewering their snack, the operator grilled them up to be eaten on the spot.
Watch a night at Taipei's most popular market unfold in the gallery above.