Saturday, November 21, 2009

Thanksgiving Day turkey, Taiwan style, tempts diners with innovative local difference

By Nancy T. Lu
The approaching Thanksgiving Day in Taiwan this year sees planned festive dining revolving around the traditional take-home roasted turkey. Families from Taipei to Tainan are going to warmly gather around the roasted turkey to relish it with cranberry sauce.

But a culinary celebration now going on and revolving around the turkey at Café at Far Eastern finds an imported tradition acquiring an innovative and palatable Taiwanese flavor. Buffet dining with difference starts with the turkey itself. The fowl is farmed right in Taiwan.

The recipes go the range in exotic variety to stimulate appetites of diners – boiled turkey soup with sesame oil, Thai-style shredded turkey salad, turkey and fusilli with pesto sauce, wok-fried turkey in satay sauce, three-cup turkey, turkey in mushroom sauce, turkey curry, turkey-flavored pizza and turkey pie. Dishes are trotted out of the kitchen on a rotation basis.

Shown in the picture is three-cup turkey. The original dish centers around chicken. The recipe calls for ginger, cloves of garlic, red chilli, sugar, sesame oil, soy sauce, rice wine and basil in addition to turkey.

Of this local farmyard bird, its meat is high in nutrition and low in fat content. Its tastiness and juiciness are qualities which call for finding out at the five-star hotel. Health buffs are bound to welcome the turkey’s low cholesterol and high protein, too.

According to the ROC Turkey Association, turkey is raised in Changhua, Yunlin, Chiayi and Tainan. About 300,000 turkeys raised locally wind up in restaurants islandwide. Turkey cocks are allowed to grow to be six months old and 22 kilos in weight. Female birds of five months and weighing 13 kilos are ready to be sold.

The American Thanksgiving Day turkey tradition has certainly come a long way since the 17th century when settlers in the Plymouth Colony were saved from famine and starvation by the wild turkey.

Lunch at Café at Far Eastern starts at NT%750 and dinner costs NT$890 per person. Parties of four start at NT$599 for lunch and NT$699 per person from Monday to Friday. All quoted prices require an additional service charge of 10 percent.

"A Taste of Taiwanese Turkey" will wind up at Cafe at Far Eastern on November 30. Call Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza Hotel at tel. (02)2378-8888 and ask for Café at Far Eastern to make reservations.

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