This year (2018) marks the third anniversary of Tainan City’s Night Market Bilingual Menu Project, which aims to help local night markets create an English-friendly environment by making bilingual menus for both foreigners and food stalls. Following in the footsteps of Tainan Flowers, Wusheng, and Yanhang night markets, five more spots join the ranks of English-friendly night markets, including Sinying, Sinshih, Jiali, Siaobei, and Yongda, expanding the scope of the project into the northern Tainan. In order to further assist these night markets in creating a more comprehensive bilingual environment, an illustration meeting was held by the Office of English as the Second Official language (OEASOL) on December 27 to give feasible suggestions and proposals in bettering the bilingual signs and services for foreigners.
Night markets are one of Taiwan’s characteristic attractions featuring local culture, said Li Sian-wei, director of OEASOL. Creating bilingual menus for night markets is an essential means to let foreigners better enjoy and experience Tainan’s renowned delicacies and food culture. More importantly, it enables locals to promote the beauty of Tainan by introducing Tainan’s most popular and typical snacks.
Yet, the provision of bilingual menus is merely a beginning. The key point is how to make the overall environment of night markets more internationalized to meet the needs of foreigners, so as to attract more overseas visitors. With this in mind, OEASOL and Tainan City Market Administration Office co-organized the illustration meeting, presenting suggestions for creating an English-friendly environment on the basis of local foreigners’ personal observations.
Steven, a British writer who has resided in Taiwan for over two decades, suggests that bilingual road signs and maps with such information as the nearest train station or bus stops are essential for foreigners to locate the night market. Other information such as ATM and restrooms is also required, and it would be perfect if there is a clear illustration of parking lots and layouts of each night market.
OEASOL remarks that all these suggestions are useful and worth taking into consideration for future planning. Currently, it is working on an online English-friendly night market map with ready access to each night market’s transport information, vendor information, route guides, and floor plans, which will greatly solve the inconvenience felt by foreigners who are not familiar with Tainan’s night markets. In the future, all the essential information can be easily obtained through QR Code links on the bilingual menus.
Currently, Tainan has 8 English-friendly night markets, including the Tainan Flowers, Wusheng, Yanghan, Yongda, Sinshih, Jiali, Sinying, and Siaobei Chenggon, with a total of 650 vendors providing bilingual menus.