As the sun set, the tantalizing aroma of food, constant chatter, illuminating lights and exhilarating dance performances filled McDonough Field. People navigated through the rows of vendors, perusing food, drink and games.
The Chinese Undergraduate Student Organization (CUSO) hosted the Asian Night Market on April 15, with 29 vendors from different Asian countries, including China, Korea, Japan and Vietnam.
A long line of people waited outside McDonough Field before the event began. The event attracted many students, with nearly 2,000 attendees, according to CUSO’s Instagram page.
CUSO Vice President of Communications Emily Bush (25C) said Emory University’s Taiwanese American Student Association (TASA) and Georgia Tech’s TASA hosted an Asian Night Market on Emory’s campus before the COVID-19 Pandemic. CUSO wanted to bring the market back while scaling it up, creating a cultural immersion experience for students.
“We’re really trying to make it sort of like an Asian market you would see in China or Korea or something like that,” Bush said.
Kushmita Bhakta (23PH) attended the event because she had never been to any Asian markets in Atlanta. She said she found the Emory event to be very similar to the Asian markets she’s visited back home in California, with a lot of food and people.
“It feels nice [to have] a community event where everyone comes together,” Bhakta said.
The boba tea vendor, Tan-cha, was the most popular vendor at the event, with people standing in lines from one end of McDonough Field all the way to the stage.
Molly Wu (26C) was waiting in line to get boba tea. She said everything at the market smelled and looked “amazing.”
“The booths and the street food is so reminiscent of night markets in Asia that I’ve been to,” Wu said.
Art vendor Cassandra Chu, an artist whose family is from Taiwan, drew five minute portraits at her booth. She said other amusement park artists, such as artists in Six Flags, inspired her to draw her own version of a caricature: “cute” cartoon portraits.
“Sometimes they’re a little offensive, like they make your nose really big or something,” Chu said. “I just wanted to do one where it was more cute, nice and fun.”
The Night Market also featured Asian cultural clubs, including Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Activists (APIDAA) at the University. Anhhuy Do (24C), the APIDAA chief of staff, hosted a Jeopardy game with Asian American trivia.
“Our Jeopardy is just a way for us to engage with the community and just give them input, information that they might not necessarily be aware of,” Do said. “[It will] hopefully garner interest in Asian American issues, Asian American history, Stop Cop City, for example, and Atlanta politics.”
Oxford Asian Culture Club (ACC) also hosted a booth at the event. ACC PR Chair Chloe Zhao (24Ox) and Events Chair Elaine Li (24Ox) said the event was a good way to connect people with their club.
“We wanted to sort of get our name out there and also so that our club members could also see what it was like at the Atlanta campus,” Li said.
Jaida Perkins (24C) said she came to the market because she wanted to go to more social events before the summer. Perkins visited almost every vendor at the event, including vendors for boba, dumpling, fish cakes and fried chicken.
“I’ve been having a wonderful time here,” Perkins said. “The atmosphere was great. The music’s been wonderful.”
Perkins said she liked the night market decorations and found the event informative, as she said she didn’t know Emory had so many cultural clubs. As the night went on, the market seemed to draw even more attendees.
“It’s definitely getting a little crowded now, but I can’t blame people for wanting to show up,” Perkins said.
Heather(Zeyi) Lu (24C) is from Xinjiang, China, majoring in Philosophy, Politics, and Law & International Studies. She enjoys exercising and baking outside of the Wheel.