Night Markets Taking the US by Storm

Night Markets Taking the US by Storm
Photo Credit: Kinden KuoCC BY-SA 2.0

What you need to know

Silicon Valley is about to get its own night market this summer, but this isn't the first one to appear in the US.

Silicon Valley is getting its own Taiwanese night market this summer, according to Weee.

From June 11 to September 17, the full Taiwanese night market experience will be brought to Sunnyvale. Locals can enjoy free parking and admission as well. Traditional snacks such as stinky tofu, rice noodle soup, minced pork rice, beef noodle soup, will be available, along with common night market games like goldfish scooping, balloon shooting and so on.

The night market is set to open at 1102 W Evelyn Ave from 4 pm to 10 pm.

Night market fad on the east coast

This is not the first time a Taiwanese night market has been seen in the US.

John Wang, a second generation Taiwanese American, is holding the Queens International Night Market in New York City for a second season, reports Storm Media.

According to Liberty Times Net, Wang especially liked lingering in night markets when his parents brought him back to Taiwan during summer vacations as a child. He had always wanted to hold a night market and quit his job as a lawyer three years ago to visit night markets around the world. Wang didn’t expect such a large crowd the first time the market was held in Queens last year, which attracted more than 6,000 people on opening night, and the number has gone up this second-time around with nearly 10,000 visitors on the first night.

The night market not only offers Taiwanese snacks, but cuisines of different ethnicities as well. All food vendors have a US$5 price cap, and the market will be open every Saturday from 6 pm to 12 am until August 20 at the New York Hall of Science in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

Where did it all start?

The history of night markets in the US can be traced back to the well-known 626 Night Market in Los Angeles that is looking at its fifth season this year.

The market that draws an average of 40,000 to 50,000 attendees was also conceived by three Taiwanese-Americans.

“Food is a very social experience for Asian cultures, and also in America,” says Jonny Hwang, one of the founders, in an interview with Public Diplomacy Magazine. “With the advent of social media tools such as Instagram and Facebook, sharing the food experience has exploded in popularity and in turn, that helps promote all the great, small businesses that attend our events.”

Hwang also mentions in the interview that while they maintain a certain amount of Asian flavors and authenticity in the market, the event isn’t restricted to Asian-related businesses. The founder says that while visitors were 98% Asian when they held the first night market in 2012, this number dropped to 80% by their seventh event.

While people have said that the night markets in the US aren’t exactly like the ones in Taiwan or other Asian countries, many still appreciate the familiar atmosphere the markets give and enjoy the food and live performances offered.

Sources:

Public Diplomacy Magazine

Liberty Times Net

Eater

gothamist

Weee

Queens Night Market

Storm Media