Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Yearly food festival in Taipei seeks to return giant grouper to Taiwan’s dining table

By Nancy T. Lu
Taiwan’s giant grouper looked like a king enthroned on waves of ice at the event held at the Ambassador Hotel in Taipei to drum up interest in the Taiwan Culinary Exhibition from August 20 to 23 at the Taipei World Trade Center’s Hall 1.

A 25-year-old giant grouper from Pingtung, even bigger in size than the fish frozen on ice, was dramatically carried by four men into the ballroom of the five-star hotel in Taipei as climax of the afternoon’s program. The fresh fish known to be rich in protein and amino acids weighed 180 Chinese pounds or catties.

“For many years, the giant grouper raised in Taiwan has been exported for the delectation of seafood lovers abroad,” pointed out Tsai Chin-chuan, the active organizer and promoter of the long-running food festival, now on its 20th year. “We have decided to encourage the bringing back of this wonderful fish to Taiwan’s dining table. Thus, we have invited our talented chefs to show their creativity in their preparation and presentation of this fish.”

The four-day Taiwan Culinary Exhibition this year will highlight some 50 creative recipes tapping the giant grouper and bringing out its best-known qualities. At least 25 dishes will be showcased at any given time. The recipes and special menus will also be served at the respective restaurants where the participating chefs work over a period of time.

Chefs from Landis Taipei Hotel, Ambassador Hotel and Hai Pa Wang Restaurant have been among those who have developed menus revolving around the giant grouper.

The 2009 Taiwan Culinary Exhibition will feature a myriad of activities for the senses, starting with the gathering of eight top teams from Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, the United States and China for culinary competition.

Twelve of Taiwan’s top international hotels and restaurants will whet the visitors’ appetites with their dishes at the Fine Dining Exhibit.

The Suzhou cuisine will take a special spotlight at the food show. The food show in Taipei will likewise make room for “LOHAS Back-to-Basics Banquet: The New Frontier of Living Healthy in Style.”

Culinary diversity in Taiwan’s highlands will be in focus, too. Five-star chefs will be doing cooking demonstrations. The Food Court will have a lot to offer by way of snacks to taste and gifts to buy and bring home.

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