Taiwanese festival run by students attracts nearly 4,000 people

A Taiwanese food and cultural festival was held in London last month. The committees of the student union that ran the event shared their fun stories at the event.

Experience Taiwan‘ was held on April 27 at Lyric Square in Hammersmith by the Student Union ROC Taiwan in the UK (SUROCUK), along with 27 committees, jointly with the UK Taiwanese Chamber of Commerce (UKTCC).

The annual festival is a long tradition of SUROCUK until it paused due to the pandemics and was reorganised since last year.

This year, ‘Experience Taiwan‘ successfully attracted an estimated 4,000 people.

SUROCUK President Vicky, as well as an undergraduate student from the University of Warwick, said the online booking systems were set to open 1,500 spaces and were fully booked by students two days before the event.

“Taiwanese food is popular, yet we want to promote its soft power, such as tourism, aviation, and Mandarin, to the locals.”

The festival aimed to promote Taiwanese food and culture in the United Kingdom, as well as provide a place for Taiwanese students to enjoy their home food while overseas, where there are not many Taiwanese restaurants in the country, compared to other Asian restaurants.

“Experience Taiwan” aims to promote Taiwanese food and culture to local communities, and has attracted nearly four thousand people. Credit: SUROCUK

However, some technical issues occurred that shocked the committees during the preparation.

Willie, activities officer and student at the University of Manchester, said they had been prepared for the festival since last February and it was planned to be held at University College London. However, the venue was later changed one month before the event due to a lack of consensus.

Although the rescheduled issue brought a lot of tension, the new venue – Lyric Square in Hammersmith – prompted the festival to reach a wider audience, where there are not many Chinese and a high flow of local people, said the president.

Public relations officer Yuan, a master’s student at the University of Warwick, said a British old man came over and hoped the festival would be held monthly.

She chuckled and said: “The old man expressed a keen interest in our event, saying ‘it is fun and interesting,’ and questioning why it is not a monthly-held one.”

Some traditional night market games – ring-a-bottle and sack toss – were also introduced on the day. Willie said the locals found these games unfamiliar yet interesting to play with.

“The vibe is really good, where children’s parents film the games, and we give Taiwanese snacks such as mochi and mini puff as a gift to them.”

In the future, the committees hope to have a larger venue with the supply of water and electricity to attract more chambers of commerce and to further promote and share the beauty of Taiwanese culture with local communities.

Featured image credit: SUROCUK

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