Savoring Taiwanese Vegetarian Cuisine Reception

Article by Kevin Young
Photo by Xue Liang

The Taiwan Tourism Bureau of New York in a partnership with Sheraton LaGuardia East Hotel cohosted a five course food tasting dinner to inspire and prompt guests to enjoy special dishes created by Taiwan’s Easy House Vegetarian Cuisine at the Phoenix Ballroom inside Sheraton LaGuardia East Hotel in Flushing in an event called “Savoring Taiwan Vegetarian Cuisine.”

Chien-Wei Shih, Executive Chef of Easy House Vegetarian Cuisine

This partnership brought award-winning Taiwanese chefs from the acclaimed Easy House Vegetarian Restaurant to showcase Taiwanese vegetarian cuisine utilizing the freshest vegetarian ingredients transported over the Pacific Ocean from Taiwan. The event is dedicated to launch Taiwanese cuisine internationally, as well as appealing to the American public to entice them in learning more about the Taiwanese culinary culture.

Ed Staniszewski, the ‎General Manager at Sheraton LaGuardia East Hotel

Wei Tuan Chiu, General Manager of China Airlines

The reception started with an opening remarks by Alex Fan, Deputy Director General of Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York, with speeches followed by Ed Staniszewski, the ‎General Manager at Sheraton LaGuardia East Hotel; Wei Tuan Chiu, General Manager of China Airlines; and Thomas Chang,  the Director of Taiwan Tourism Bureau in New York.

Among various Taiwanese cuisines, vegetarian food is especially satisfying for tourists’ pallets. Aside from food this year, CNN published “10 things Taiwan does better than anywhere else,” citing the well-known historical treasures in the National Palace Museum, Taiwan’s National Health Insurance, extensive free Wi-Fi hotspots coverage, Night Markets street vendors and themed restaurants on the fascinating list. CNN describes Taiwan as “one of the world’s most vegetarian-friendly destinations, where it offers approximately 6,000 restaurants serving an impressive variety of delicious vegetarian fare to feed the 10% of the country that shuns meat”. Thomas Chang, Director of the Taiwan Tourism Bureau of New York, cites that based on the 2013 Annual Survey Report on Visitors Expenditure and Trends in Taiwan, Taiwan offers breathtaking sceneries, cuisine, shopping and Taiwanese custom and traditional Culture, are the major factors attracting tourists to visit Taiwan.

Thomas Chang, the Director of Taiwan Tourism Bureau in New York

However in this report, when it comes to the most memorable impressions of Taiwan, answers range from strong Taiwanese hospitality (53%) to delicious cuisine (43%). “By hosting the Savoring Taiwan Vegetarian Cuisine with the Sheraton and Easy House Restaurant, we hope to attract more American tourists to visit Taiwan, and to explore the charm of Taiwanese vegetarian cuisine,” said Thomas Chang, the Director of Taiwan Tourism Bureau in New York.

The exotic delicacies proved to be both nutritious and delicious. The first course, Duet Appetizer, consisted of okra in pomelo sauce, and cherry tomatoes garnished with honey glazed black beans. For the second course a Japanese inspired salad was served which consisted of a base of lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers, with ghost flower plant, sweet potato, purple cabbage and the star of the dish, homemade Japanese dressing. The third dish, brownsword mushroom pot soup contained papaya, lotus seeds, and brownsword mushrooms in a herb-based broth.

The main entrée, stole the spotlight from the other dishes. Mushrooms and truffle rice which a chef demonstrated how to make was absolutely mouth-watering. Fried rice not fried in traditional oil but grounded nuts instead with an Italian truffle sauce combined with asparagus, day lily, and wild mushrooms demonstrated to patrons why this dish is Easy House’s specialty. To complete this heavy meal a sweet soothing pumpkin puree soup with green beans and pearl barley cleansed the many full stomachs.

Ben Hedges, NTDTV host of Lao Wai Kan Zhongguo

Special guest Ben Hedges, NTDTV host of Lao Wai Kan Zhongguo, also shared his experience about Taiwan when he visited earlier this year. He highly praised about the Taiwan people’s extreme hospitality and truly enjoyed all the great food Taiwan has to offer.

Alex Fan, Deputy Director General of Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York

Malan Breton, Fashion Designer

The guests were in awe the entire night, mesmerized by the unique ethnic cuisine, raffles, and the humdinger karaoke show put on by the Taiwan Tourism Bureau’s executive board members. If the whimsical entertainment combined with a delightful meal doesn’t get people to want to hop on a plane to Taiwan, then nothing will.

Rob MacKay, Director of Public Relations, Marketing & Tourism Queens Economic Development Corporation

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