The Taipei City Government is moving ahead with plans to relocate more than 500 food stalls in the Shilin Night Market to a renovated building in November despite protests from some vendors and residents.
Market Administration Office director Ding Juo-ting (丁若庭) said yesterday that the building was the original home of the 538 food stalls before they were moved to their present location to allow for the building’s renovation, and the city would stick to its schedule of a November relocation.
An extensive renovation plan for the night market, a popular destination for both local and foreign visitors, began in 2002 and the food stalls were moved to a site across the street from the MRT’s Jiantan Station.
The renovated building has three underground floors and a ground floor. According to the office’s plan, about 100 of the 538 food stalls will be moved to the basement — and that has upset some vendors.
“I don’t think people want to go to a night market that is indoors and underground,” an oyster omelet vendor surnamed Chen said.
Many Internet users also voiced their opposition to the plan on Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin’s (郝龍斌) Facebook page, calling on Hau to halt the plan so the Shihlin Night Market doesn’t go the way of the Jiancheng Circle (建成圓環).
The Jiancheng Circle, Taipei’s oldest food market, was located at the intersection of Chongqing N Road and Nanjing W Road. It finally closed its doors in 2006 after a massive renovation project by the city government failed to revive its fortunes.
“Night markets have a unique ambience. It’s different from air-conditioned food courts in the malls and that’s what attracts us to the night markets. We should preserve such unique culture,” a netizen named Miso Chang wrote on Hau’s Facebook wall.
Another netizen, surnamed Ho (何), urged Hau to listen to the voice of the people and save the Shihlin night market from becoming “another Jiancheng Circle.”
Hau has instructed city officials to continue communicating with the food vendors, but to complete the relocation according to the original schedule.