【English Corner】Night markets in Taiwan


According to statistics from the Taiwanese Tourism Bureau in 2019, night markets are the most popular spots for tourists again. Night markets have been listed as must-visit places in Taiwan for foreigners at least three years in a row. The number of night market visitors even exceeds the number of Taipei 101s’ visitors. Why do people like to visit the night market? The location, diversity of experience, and low cost explain why night markets gain such enormous popularity in Taiwan.

(Photo credit:Flickr)

Taiwanese night markets are close to ancient temples because these temples bring people a sense of security that comes from being close to the gods. Two hundred years ago, pioneers built temples in cities to pray for happiness for their families. The crowd for praying attracted vendors who gathered near temples to gain more profit. After people visited temples, they enjoyed street food and bought handcrafts from vendors. Nowadays, these areas have become night markets.

People are willing to endure inconvenience when they visit night markets because that experience is unique (and part of the fun!). Although the night markets are crowded, messy, and noisy, people can see hundreds of stores and snack bars, hear voices from cooking and talking, and smell the wafting scent of meals in the same area. People have to stay close to their friends to avoid being separated. Moreover, people tend to choose food stands with the most people in line because that means food there is more delicious. 

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Food, games, and commodities in night markets are not expensive. People spend less money and eat more different foods compared to eating at a restaurant. An oyster omelet only costs $60NT. Games such as catching fish or playing pinball only cost $100NT. People also can buy inexpensive clothes, decorations, or shoes in night markets. It’s fun for people to purchase little things they like without spending too much money.

Taiwanese night markets are popular because of the location, diversity of experience, and low cost. Although shopping malls place night markets in malls’ food courts, people still enjoy the real night markets more.

Written in May 2020