While night markets give people an impression of being crowded and unsanitary, they remain an irresistible drawcard for local and foreign tourists alike, according to the results of a survey released on Wednesday.
The poll, jointly conducted by the Global Views Survey Research Center and the Good Neighbor Foundation, showed that the majority — 51.1 percent — of respondents say night markets are unhygienic, compared with 28.5 percent who think otherwise.
About four out of five respondents have seen littering at night markets, a major hygiene problem that more than 90 percent of those polled say could be addressed by installing more recycling and waste bins.
Despite the negative impressions, the poll found that 24.7 percent of respondents visit a night market once a month, while 13.3 percent go there nearly once a week.
A vast majority — or 88 percent — of respondents say they visit night markets mostly with close acquaintances, the poll showed, with Greater Taichung’s Fongjia (逢甲) Night Market (25.6 percent), Taipei’s Shilin (士林) Night Market (15.4 percent) and Greater Tainan’s Huayuan (花園) Night Market (10.7 percent) the three favorites.
The survey was conducted from July 9 to July 11 through random telephone samplings of 1,080 residents, aged 20 or above.
Meanwhile, night markets appear to be one of the most visited places by foreign tourists, as nearly 77 percent of international tourists last year visited at least one night market during their stay, Tourism Bureau statistics showed.
A Malaysian exchange student at Tunghai University, who identified himself as Lin Tzu-min (林自民), said Fongjia Night Market deserves top position, adding that his favorite snacks are stinky tofu and papaya milk.
In a bid to give night markets nationwide a makeover, the foundation is to join hands with E.Sun Commercial Bank, Chunghwa Telecom Co and several universities to launch a “night markets cleanup campaign” on Sept. 29.
Those interested in signing up for the campaign can visit www.cleanuptheworld.org.tw for more information.