To Henry Golding, the Bustle of Taiwan's Night Markets Encapsulate the Spirit of Asia
13.11.2023 - 16:45
“Last April, my wife, Liv, and I took our firstborn, Lyla, from Los Angeles to Taiwan to meet Liv's entire family, which was a really big deal because family is such an important part of Taiwanese culture. Six or seven of Liv's closest relatives brought us to the Shilin Night Market in Taipei, and you know how Asian night markets can get kind of insane. Lyla had this stink face the entire time because she wasn't used to the humidity and the noise and the smells. She was just like, What the hell is this place? But that's the energy of Taiwan: all that commerce, the mom-and-pop shops, the food stalls feeding millions of people every day. My mother-in-law loves bringing us to a stall that does fermented tofu—grilled with all sorts of sauces from spicy to sweet. You can tell the stall is near when you smell that pungent scent permeating the air. It's phenomenal, walking through those night markets. That's Asia to me, those aromas and the loud bustle. As for Lyla, once we got her some fruit, she warmed up to it all. Just take her to a watermelon stall and you've got her. We've traveled a tremendous amount with her since she was a baby, but every stage of traveling with kids as they grow up is totally different. Liv and I have another newborn now, so hopefully we can keep up the trend of showing our girls the world. Taiwan is such a strong cultural reference point for Liv, having grown up there, that we want to pass it on to our kids. It's one of those places that's always going to evolve as time goes on. There will be changes in its future, but that's what Taiwan has endured for ages. Each time we visit, it will have changed, and our family will have changed with it.” —as told to Matt Ortile
Malaysian-British actor Henry Golding stars in the film Crazy Rich Asians and is a self-proclaimed “airport dad” who never travels without snacks in the carry-on bag.
This article appeared in the December 2023 issue of Condé Nast Traveler. Subscribe to the magazine here.
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