TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Wary of COVID-19 spreading from clusters, Taipei City Government has announced the annual Dihua Street Lunar New Year bazaar is canceled, leaving only long-established stores on the street to cater to masked shoppers, while an e-commerce platform is partnering with popular stores to provide online options to customers.
To tap into a growing demand for safe shopping and dining at home during the holiday, the leading e-commerce platform Shopee Taiwan is introducing an online Lunar New Year bazaar that incorporates 30 of the most-popular brick-and-mortar stores in the Dihua neighborhood for its online platform. They include Lee's Bakery (李亭香), Huang Chang Sheng Chinese Medicine (黃長生藥行), mullet roe specialty store Li Ly Sun (李日勝), and Lan Tung Herb (聯通漢芳).
As the Lunar New Year is less than two weeks away, shoppers are still thronging to Dihua Street for dried food and snacks as part of the holiday tradition, despite halting the annual bazaar due to the pandemic. Glittering gold chocolate coins symbolizing good fortune are displayed in the stores on Dihua Street, though the economic outlook remains uncertain following a minor surge in domestic COVID-19 cases since mid-January.
On Saturday (Jan. 30), the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said people self-monitoring their health for seven days following their 14-day COVID-19 quarantine should not attend banquets and gatherings.
Shoppers and visitors stroll along Dihua Street on Jan. 21. (Taiwan News photo)
Gold chocolates in a "sycee" or "yuanbao" shape signify prosperity and are often on the must-buy list for Lunar New Year shoppers. (Taiwan News photo)
Running between Nanjing West Road and Minquan West Road, the Dihua shopping area is known as the heart of Dadaocheng, where Lunar New Year decorations festoon local neighborhoods. This year, the first day of the Lunar New Year falls on Feb. 12.
Stores on the street typically offer seasonal sundries, including nuts, dried fruits, vegetables, and meat jerky. Many of them typically offer customers free samples so people can decide what to purchase, but not this year due to safety reasons.