Night markets are a staple of Taiwanese culture. Popping up as the sun goes down, night markets provide cheap eats, consumer goods and entertainment late into the night all over Taiwan and further abroad. Usually held outdoors, night markets frequently take over busy daytime thoroughfares.
Since 2001, the Taiwanese Student Association has been bringing this slice of Taiwanese culture to campus for one night each year. The TSA’s UW Night Market has grown every year, beginning in the HUB ballroom, then moving to the HUB lawn and then to Red Square. Last year’s market drew over 5,000 attendees to partake in Taiwanese snacks, watch bands and traditional performers, and to play games of chance and skill. People come in from all over the region to attend. Some even drive down from Vancouver, B.C.!
This year’s night market, sponsored in part by the UWAA, promises to be the biggest one yet. I had a chat with Ted Chen, one of the student organizers, and he enthused about the menu (“Over 100 items from 13 vendors!”), the entertainment (two UW alumni, known as “The Fung Brothers,” will share the stage with Filipino-American music phenom Joseph Vincent as special guests), and the games (“You can actually win these!”). The food is a particular point of pride for Chen, who pointed out the traditional night market staples—popcorn chicken, bubble tea and stinky tofu—that will be on offer, as well as harder-to-find Taiwanese specialties like Hakka cuisine, baked pastries and Taiwanese sausages.
The UW Night Market is open to the public. It starts at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 11 and will close around 10:30. Campus parking is free after noon on Saturdays. The UWAA is proud to be supporting a vibrant campus life; why don’t you stop by and check it out?