With a big assortment of food stalls and game stalls, “Night Market” evokes nostalgia.
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On Sunday night, the Taiwanese American Student Coalition (TASC) hosted its first-annual in-person Night Market since the COVID-19 pandemic. The Mandela Room had a similar setup to a festival, featuring food stalls, fun games and a variety of prizes.
The food stalls consisted of traditional Taiwanese street food with scallion pancakes, tea eggs, cucumber salad, popcorn chicken, fried rice, braised pork, chow mein, sesame milk mochi, aiyu jelly and milk tea, among others. In addition, the event featured an assortment of memorable games, such as jianzi, a sport in which players aim to keep a weighted shuttlecock in the air without the use of hands, chopsticks master, a game in which players attempt to use chopsticks to move marbles from one plate over to the other plate in 30 seconds, ring toss, fishbowl toss, balloon pop and more. Attendees also had the opportunity to win prizes ranging from Squishmallows to sticker sheets and bubble wands and even a TASC tote bag.
Fatima Gonzalez, a sophomore majoring in psychology, said that the event made her reminisce on her childhood.
“When we were sitting down and eating, it truly felt like we were back in elementary school and we were at a school trip,” Gonzalez said. “Everyone was so enthusiastic trying to get specific prizes.”
Red lanterns lined the walls of the Mandela Room and decorations included nostalgic components of Studio Ghibli’s “Spirited Away.” In fact, one of the backdrops featured a life-sized No-Face, one of the most iconic Studio Ghibli characters of all time. Lin Fang, president of TASC and a senior double-majoring in nursing and biology, elaborated on the theme, “Jiufen Old Street.”
“[The town] is famous for its windy and narrow pathways, along with its abundant night market and street food,” Fang wrote in an email. “Our decorations were made to mimic Jiufen’s nightlife and charming architecture.”
Tiffany Chuang, one of the event’s coordinators and a junior double-majoring in accounting and business administration, said that the fruits of their labor paid off after seeing the event come to life, thanks to the months of planning with her co-chair and the rest of the TASC E-Board.
“Without all their sacrifices and help we wouldn’t have been able to pull off a successful Night Market,” Chuang wrote in an email. “It was a lot of hard work but seeing all of our attendees enjoying the food we made and having fun playing games was extremely rewarding.”
Jovin Huang, a junior majoring in neuroscience, spoke on the authenticity of the theme and his anticipation for future events that exhibit the culture of Taiwan.
“I went [to Jiufen] a few years back and the food and games reminded me of the type of things you’d find there,” Huang said. “I hope TASC can showcase more areas of Taiwan in the future as there are so many more places in Taiwan that all have their unique experiences.”
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