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Synapticism

An experiential journal of synchronicity and connection

Běidǒu 北斗 is a small town on the plains of Changhua 彰化 south of Yuánlín 員林. It is mainly known for being the origin of bawan (Taiwanese meatballs) but also appears to have some importance in history around the same time as nearby Lukang 鹿港. Nowadays it is also home to one of the biggest night markets in the area on Thursday nights.

Beidou Far East Theater 北斗遠東戲院

Beidou Far East Theater 北斗遠東戲院
A glimpse of the elegant facade of the historic Far East Theater in the heart of Beidou, Changhua.

Běidǒu 北斗 is home to the historic Far East Theater 遠東戲院 (pinyin: Yuǎndōng), originally built in 1955. Like most vintage theaters in Taiwan 台灣 it struggled through the home video era and eventually shut down in the late 1990s. Unlike many other cinemas of its generation it does not appear to have been subdivided into smaller theaters prior to going out of business. It was, however, converted for use as a karaoke bar or gambling den at some point, judging by what I observed during a recent visit. Nowadays the interior is used for nothing more than storage, particularly for a restaurant that has since colonized the area adjacent to the former ticket booth and entrance.

Changhua Night Markets 彰化夜市

Beidou’s Thursday night market
Beidou’s Thursday night market.

Changhua 彰化 isn’t exactly known for its night markets, but since I’ve been spending some of my time there I’ve done the work to translate what little information is available and share what I’ve experienced first-hand after having been out to about a dozen night markets in the area. This post (in Chinese), dating back to 2009, is the most widely cited reference that I have been able to dredge up. So far it hasn’t led me astray but there are no guarantees any of these markets are still around (or even cool and interesting).