TaiwanYes Houston

“You are admired for your adventurous ways.”

If you’ve been following my blog, you know I traveled to Texas over spring break. When I heard there was a Taiwanese festival happening when I would be around, I went and checked it out. Hosted by the Taiwanese Association of America, Houston Chapter, the cultural event is called TaiwanYes Houston.

It’s inspired by the vibrant Taiwanese night market. Except it’s held during the day. Yeah, that confused me for a bit, too. However, like a traditional night market, there was an abundance of food, games, and cultural activities. Here’s a whirlwind tour of my time there:


A lot of night market food consists of snacks. Here are a few folks working hard to make bubble waffles:


Some of the things I sampled that day were yam balls, takoyaki, and minced pork over rice (see pic below).



There were several booths offering carnival games. A few of them were the usual fare, like ring toss. However, there were new ones that caught my eye, such as “Whack a Balloon”:


Other lesser-known games they had included goldfish scooping (small circular nets to catch fish) and Taiwanese pinball.


Besides the live musical entertainment, cultural activities were held indoors (great because Houston is hot!). The main interactive stations involved calligraphy, dough figurines, umbrella and fan painting, and hacky sacks.


Oil-paper umbrellas are traditionally made from bamboo sticks, and the shades are covered over in persimmon oil. Traditionally, they were crafted by the Hakka people in the Meinong district of Kaoshiung for cultural ceremonies. In fact, the typical marriage dowry included these umbrellas because of the characters for “paper” (sounds similar to the word for son) and “umbrella” (has five person characters in it, symbolizing fertility).


Taiwanese hacky sacks are also affiliated with the Hakka people, the second largest ethnic group in Taiwan. The sacks are made by sewing cloth scraps together and filling them with rice, beans, or sand. Typically, bright floral fabric is used to make the sets of three to five hacky sacks. The toys are played by tossing them in the air by hand while chanting traditional rhymes.


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  1. Interesting facts on the oil paper umbrellas and hacky sacks, who would’ve known? That’s the great thing about travel, expanding ones’ horizons.

    • Jennifer Chow says

      Pretty interesting, right? I thought I would have known some of these things already, but it’s great to learn new stuff.

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