A survey released by Taipei City’s Department of Tourism and Information yesterday showed that pearl milk tea and steamed pork dumpling are the most popular Taiwanese food products among foreign students in Taiwan.
The survey, conducted among 200 foreign students living in Taiwan, was done by the department to gain a better understanding of foreigners’ preferences and to better promote tourism.
It found that 36 percent of students said their favorite local drink is pearl milk tea, while 16 percent said they prefer handshake black tea.
Nineteen percent of the respondents said they loved steamed pork dumplings and think the local delicacy is a staple of Taiwanese food, while 15 percent preferred beef noodle soup. Ten percent of students said they enjoyed stinky tofu, a local snack made with fermented tofu with a relatively low popularity among foreigners.
Wang Da-tung (王大同), a division chief at the department, said many foreigners grew to enjoy Taiwanese food that they did not like in the beginning. For example, a Japanese student said pig blood cake (豬血糕) is extremely tasty when sprinkled with peanut powder.
The survey also showed that pineapple cake and Taiwan baozhong tea were the most popular souvenirs among the respondents. Pineapple cake’s unique flavor and the tea’s representation of Chinese culture made the two items the top choices of gifts.
In related news, the latest information from the Tourism Bureau showed that US tourists to Taiwan in the first half of this year grew 6 percent compared with the number last year. Thirty percent of US tourists to Taiwan are young travelers aged between 20 and 39 years old.
Wang said the survey is part of the department’s efforts to promote Taipei to foreign visitors, especially younger ones.
Department Commissioner Chao Hsin-ping (趙心屏) has led a team to promote the city at the US World Youth & Student Travel Conference this week in San Diego, Wang said.