TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan’s first vending machine to sell Halal food was installed at Taipei International Convention Center (TICC) on Friday (Sept. 6), providing multiple Muslim-friendly snacks and drinks to a community that has been growing on the island.
The vending machine serves more than 20 types of Taiwanese food that have received Halal certification. They include grass jelly beverages, green tea, milk tea, coffee, Sarsaparilla, popcorn, and noodle snacks, among others.
Wei Guo-chi (魏國志), general manager of OK Mart, the company behind the vending machine, says the “mini shop” offers cashless payment services for the convenience of global business travelers.
In collaboration with the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA), OK Mart is preparing to set up additional Halal vending machines across the island, targeting locations such as the Nangang Exhibition Center, train stations, national scenic areas, and tourist centers.
TAITRA President Walter Yeh (葉明水) said advocating Halal certification has yielded some fruit in the past two years after the establishment of a promotion center. Currently, 1,075 culinary businesses in Taiwan have the certification, and the council is encouraging them to label their products as Halal-certified so that the Muslim community can easily spot their choices, added Yeh.
The Taiwanese government has been building Muslim-friendly facilities in recent years, as it eyes a trillion-dollar catering to the world’s 1.8 billion Muslims. In 2018, Malaysia ranked Taiwan as the second most Muslim-friendly nation in the world after itself, according to Yeh.
The island nation also ranked third among destinations outside of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation destinations in the most recent Mastercard-CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index, which was published in April 2019.