Oyster omelets (蚵仔煎) have been voted the most popular night market snack in an online competition launched by the Tourism Bureau.
The results were revealed at a press conference for Taiwan Culinary Month, which runs until the end of this month.
According to the bureau, more than 20,000 people took part in the competition, with each being given 10 votes. Oyster omelets garnered 12,537 votes.
Also in the top 10 were deep fried chicken fillets, stinky tofu, salted crispy chicken, fresh fried bun, pig blood cake, barbecued scallops, fried crispy squid, shrimp cake and Choconana ice.
The bureau said netizens preferred snacks like deep fried chicken fillet, fresh fried bun, salted crispy chicken and pig blood cakes, which can be eaten while walking around, over some traditionally popular dishes, such as oyster noodles, rice with braised pork and Taiwanese meat balls.
It also said that as Taiwan is an island, it was no surprise that seafood features prominently on the list.
As to why pot side scrapings soup in Keelung and bread bowl in Greater Tainan were not even nominated for the vote, the bureau said that while they are popular and unique dishes in their localities, it is hard for them to compete with other snacks available nationwide.
As part of Taiwan Culinary Month, the bureau is hosting cooking contests for professional chefs and students seeking a culinary career. The bureau will also be sending out anonymous gourmets to 114 restaurants around the nation to pick the best group meals.
The 13 national scenic area administrations under the Tourism Bureau have also recommended 27 routes allowing tourists to taste local dishes. As incentives, the bureau has worked with restaurants on the routes to offer discounts or deals.
Despite the H7N9 avian influenza virus and a tainted starch food scandal, bureau statistics show that about 3.81 million foreign tourists visited Taiwan between January and June this year, a 6.4 percent increase compared with the same time last year.
Tourist numbers from some countries or regions showed double-digit growth, including Vietnam (20.3 percent), Singapore (13.5 percent), Hong Kong or Macao (12.9 percent), China (12.01 percent) and South Korea (11.7 percent).