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Eat, Drink and Play

Updated: 2012-08-20 10:59
By Eric Jou ( China Daily)

Eat, Drink and Play

From tasty pig innards to oyster omelets and the local version of toad in the hole, the Taiwan night markets draw foodies from the local neighborhood as well as visitors from abroad, especially from the Chinese mainland. Provided to China Daily

Eat, Drink and Play

A pile of freshly baked savory and sweet pastries attract a crowd of eager regulars at the night market. Eric Jou / China Daily

Eat, Drink and Play

It's all a part of daily life, and probably the best place for visitors to experience a little of local color. Eric Jou tells us more about the ubiquitous night markets of Taiwan where both natives and tourists mingle to shop, have a meal, chat and relax.

The night is hot and humid, just like any other summer night at Taipei's Datong district. Thousands are squeezing into a narrow back street off Ningxia Road, and the night is filled with gleeful shouts, beckoning cries and the scent of sizzling food. No, it is not a block party, or a carefully orchestrated public relations event. It's just another normal evening as people gather to celebrate the age-old tradition of the Taiwan night market.

These night markets, basically groups of street vendors in any given locality, are a staple of Taiwan nightlife. They offer everything from food to tourist souvenirs and game stalls.

"Night markets fill a very important role in Taiwan," says Lin Ting-kuo, head of the Ningxia Road Night Market Association. "In Taiwan, convenience is very important, and the night market offers convenience in many ways, from offering fast and cheap food to hungry businessmen, to providing a nice venue for the family to get out and have fun."

Lin says the hospitable nature of the Chinese people in general is part of the reason why night markets have become such an integral part of Taiwan's culture.

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