Students experienced the atmosphere and taste of a Taiwanese night market Friday evening after standing in lines for traditional food, painting lanterns, playing a Taiwanese ring-toss game and participating in other cultural activities.
The Taiwanese American Students Association organized the 10th annual Taiwanese market in the Gregory Gym plaza. The event replicated the atmosphere of a traditional Taiwanese night market to educate students about Taiwanese culture.
“What an actual Taiwanese market is, you walk into a street and there are just vendors everywhere selling clothes, selling food, and it’s a really overwhelming experience,” Douglas Wang, the association’s financial director, said. “The food and everything is all blended so well together.”
Wang, a finance sophomore, said an actual Taiwanese night market promotes businesses, whereas the replicated event at UT promotes the culture of Taiwan to students. He said the market was filled with vendors from other Asian cultural organizations that were also invited to promote unique aspects of their cultures.
Plan II senior Daniel Hung, the association’s president, said the event had more food, entertainment and tabling by organizations this year than ever before.
“To me, it’s just nostalgic being here,” Hung said. “It reminds me of Taiwan and being at the night market in Taiwan. For me, it’s just bringing back the old memories. That’s the best part.”
Hung said he thinks the best part of Taiwanese culture is the food. At the event, students got to try Taiwanese cuisine for free. Students stood in long lines that stretched from the south side of Gregory Gym plaza to the north side. When it was announced the green onion pancake line was moved, students ran to form a new line.
The night was filled with a variety of entertainment, including a mochi-eating contest, a Chinese yo-yo performance and singing. Biochemistry freshman Kevin Chan sang a popular Taiwanese song titled “Kiss Goodbye” acoustically. Vendors and students attending the event sang along in Taiwanese. He said the song is one of the more popular songs of the current Taiwanese generation.
Students also played “Tao Chaung Chaung,” a game similar to ring toss, at the Taiwanese International Student Association booth.
The event was a success because they were able to share the unique culture and identity of Taiwan with more people this year, Hung said.
Hung said, “I think the best way to express that is through our culture, through our food, through our games, which is why the night market is such a big deal for us.”