Taiwan is a small island nation 180km east of China with contemporary cities, hot springs resorts and dramatic mountainous terrain. Taipei, the country’s capital in the north, is known for its busy night markets and street-food vendors, Chinese Imperial art at the National Palace Museum and Taipei 101, a 509m-tall, bamboo-shaped skyscraper with an observation deck.
The island of Taiwan was mainly inhabited by Taiwanese aborigines before Han Chinese began immigrating to the island in the 17th century.
Taiwan today maintains a stable industrial economy as a result of rapid economic growth and industrialization, and is a destination of choice among tourists and travelers and realizing that, Taiwan Board of Tourism has launched Time for Taiwan campaign recently to encourage Muslim travelers to travel to Taiwan.
While the country enjoys healthy amount of tourists among Chinese dialects speaking travelers, Taiwan has becoming increasingly popular among non-Chinese speaking tourists and also among Muslims.
In the past, it is rather daunting for Muslim to travel in Taiwan as the language used nationwide is pretty much just Mandarin and the food are mostly non-halal. However, Muslim travel to Taiwan is certainly much easier these days as Taiwan has made it a point to accomodate Muslim tourists and travelers.
See the picture? This is Pineapple cookies produced in Taiwan and has a Halal logo on it. Coming from the land of Roasted Pork and Xiao Long Bao, you may be surprised to discover that Taiwan has not one, but two halal certification boards. The Taiwan Halal Integrity Development Association (THID) and the Chinese Muslim Association have both taken up the mantle of Halal watchdog. Though slightly different in their classification, both are fully Halal certified and safe for Muslims to enjoy. The associations also certify food products sold in supermarkets.The Chinese Muslim Association of Taiwan carries a list of Halal or Muslim friendly restaurants on its website, so if you are a Muslim planning to travel to Taiwan, you might want to check it out.
Taiwan boasts a surprising range of halal food options covering cuisines as varied as Chinese, Taiwanese and Indian. Muslim food is easier to find in more cosmopolitan Taipei, which cooks with no pork, lard or alcohol, but do be wary of street food as most are non- Halal.
Thanks to Taiwan’s government’s push to encourage Muslim travel to Taiwan, more hotels are getting their restaurants halal-certified and adding signs of Qiblah in their rooms pointing to Mecca for the convenience of Muslims to observe their daily 5 times prayers.
There isn’t a centralized listing for prayer rooms in Taiwan, but Taipei does have mosques. A full list of mosques in Taiwan can also be found on the Chinese Muslim Association website.The Association also has headquarters in Taipei City that are worth a visit if you’d like to find out more about Islam in Taiwan.
So if you are a Muslim and has fear of the unknown in Taiwan, worry and doubt no more as Taiwan is now a hub for Muslim tourist and is Muslim traveler friendly.