American newspaper features Taiwan night markets

2012/10/23 by CNA
Los Angeles, Oct. 22 (CNA) Taiwan's night markets have been featured in the San Jose Mercury News of California, in an article that distinguished them from street bazaars in other Asian countries.

"Sure, there are similar street scenes across the continent, from Cambodia to China. In Taiwan, however, night markets are a cherished cultural phenomenon that embraces past traditions while remaining contemporary with quick-stepping, fashionable dressed young people who flood them," the reporter John Bourdeau wrote in a recent article.

He described Taiwan's night markets as a "senses-awaking experience -- wafting smells of good food, neon lights that dazzle like disco strobes, the singsong sales pitches of hawkers with bullhorns competing with throbbing techno music."

The feature also quoted Lula Han, identified as an expert on Taiwanese culture, as saying that "eating is literally a religious culture" in Taiwan.

That is because night markets initially sprang up around the many Buddhist temples in Taiwan, the writer said, citing Han.

"After you give food to the god in the temple, you give food to yourself. So the food stalls originated with the temples," Han was quoted as saying.

There are as many as 100 major night markets across Taiwan, with about 20 regular ones in Taipei, the article said.

They are a "nocturnal world aglow with charcoal fires and electronic billboards," Bourdeau wrote. "A river of restless young Taiwanese flows though a warren of lanes filled with portable stands They shop for Nike shoes, electric razors and even puppies. Vendors blend fruit and sugarcane drinks. Chicken and squid sizzle on the grills."

For Taiwanese, however, these markets are more than a place to shop -- they are the equivalent of corner pubs in the west, he said. It is where friends meet and snack on handmade delicacies, he noted.

(By Oscar Wu and Elizabeth Hsu)
enditem /pc