Four foreigners, who enjoyed a week-long trip to Taiwan for winning a government photography contest, said at the end of their visit yesterday that they were impressed by the country’s natural landscapes and food, especially stinky tofu.
The winners of the “Say Hi to Taiwan” contest, organized by the Government Information Office (GIO), spent a week touring eastern, southern and central parts of the country, helped along by NT$100,000 in prize money.
“This trip offered us an opportunity for in-depth travel to experience various sides of Taiwan,” Sze Chungtao, a 39-year-old winner from Hong Kong who was traveling with his wife and daughter, said on the sidelines of a press conference marking the completion of their trip.
Despite having already visited Taiwan several times, Sze described this trip as “very different” from his previous visits.
Timothy Heng, a 31-year-old Malaysian who was visiting Taiwan for the first time, said he appreciated the country’s “nice scenery” and “various choices of food,” and called Chiayi’s chicken rice his favorite dish.
However, Heng, Sze and a winning pair from Indonesia said it was the fermented tofu, which often turns visitors off with its pungent odor, that left them with the deepest impression.
One of the Indonesians, who had previously spent two years in Taiwan, said he was happy to taste the popular snack again after not having access to it in his home country.
Sze said the taste of stinky tofu varied in different parts of Taiwan, and the variant served in Taitung had a particularly chewy texture.
Having visited tourist attractions such as Alishan (阿里山) and Sun Moon Lake (日月潭), Heng said there was more to the trip than food. He described it as “a prologue of a story” and expected to visit Taiwan again to explore “the story.”
The photography contest, in which participants had to upload a photo related to Taiwan to be eligible to win the trip around the country and the NT$100,000 cash prize, was held in October.
At yesterday’s press conference, Government Information Office Minister Philip Yang (楊永明) said the competition was a major step to promoting Taiwan’s image internationally.