The Taiwanese Student Association organized a “Light of Night” Taiwanese market on the Bellevue College Campus on Friday, June 10. Supported by the Associated Student Government and the International Student Association, TSA President Evangeline Lang and a volunteer team consisting of about 15 TSA members were in charge of different tasks and put the event together. “We want to let more people at Bellevue College know about the Taiwanese culture by having a traditional night market which is popular in Taiwan,” stated TSA member Amy Lin who was in charge of organizing the food for the market.
“In Taiwan, there is a very famous night market, Shilin night market,” Lin explained. “When tourists come to Taiwan, this night market is part of their tour.” According to Lin, there is not just one popular night market but many more in basically every Taiwanese town. “Taiwanese people love doing activities at night,” said Betty Lai, another TSA member. She added that many Taiwanese people prefer to work at night and like to visit the market to eat and socialize afterwards. “My favorite thing about the night market is the food,” said Lai. In addition to sharing their tradition, TSA also wants to raise awareness for Taiwan as a country and for the Taiwanese culture. “There are lots of people who don’t know the differences between China and Taiwan,” Lin said. “Foreigners, like students from Europe, may not know that we have a different culture than Chinese people.” BC student Claudia Esplugas attended the event to explore those differences. “We hear about China many times, but we don’t hear much about the particular area of Taiwan,” she said, explaining that she came to learn and enjoy the evening at the same time.
At the night market, food was provided by three different Taiwanese restaurants from the area. In Lai’s opinion, the best Taiwanese food available at the market is a traditional grilled pork dish served with rice and celery. “It’s a soul food,” she said. Visitors could fill their plates at the buffet which offered chicken, bean tarts, fried rice, noodles and more. A special Taiwanese treat is known as stinky tofu, a fermented dish. TSA members dishing up the food said that the dish smells horrible, but it is incredible delicious. The success of their advertisement was visible in the line of people waiting for stinky tofu, which was by far the longest.
However, food was not the only thing offered by the TSA. Visitors also had the opportunity to try out different Taiwanese games. A popular game called “Tau chen chen” requires the players to throw little rings around bottles or sticks placed at a distance. Other better-known games like can throwing and balloon shooting were also played. Players who did well at any of those games were rewarded with a variety of prizes.
The presentation given by the Bellevue College Flash Mob club was one of the highlights of the evening. Lead by their front dancers Calisha Abdi and Sayuri Tsuji, the crew performed a remix constructed of several famous songs and got the whole cafeteria applauding.
At the end of the evening, all visitors who left the market received tiny tattoos with the logo of TSA or the Taiwanese national flag as a goodbye gift.
“In the future, we want to have more events for students at our college, but we need more people who become involved,” explained Lin. “There [are] not a lot of Taiwanese students at Bellevue College, so it’s hard for us to hold events.”