By Priya Konings
As BYT has recently noted, embassy events are one the best perks of living in DC, especially ones that feature famous chefs. I recently attended a state banquet dinner at the Taiwanese Embassy, technically called the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the U.S., and the experience was pretty thrilling.
First of all, who knew the Taiwanese were such party animals!? I, for one, sure as hell did not know and but I caught only pretty quickly when the banquet dinner I attended, catered by famed Chefs Mr. Kai-Tun Hsu and Mr. W.T. Huang, started with shots. Yes, shots.
Endless amounts of wine followed, along with a fabulous seven course menu that was supplemented by stories from Ambassador Lyushun Shen and cooking demonstrations by the renowned chefs.
The first course was perhaps the prettiest, consisting of five delicious items, which represent the Taiwanese five fortunes: wealth, health, longevity, love, and virtue. The sweet honey cherry tomatoes charmingly served in a hollowed out lime, and the miniature spring roll, were the most memorable elements of the dish. Soup followed next, complete with housemade tofu, which was a real treat, considering tofu is one of the culinary items Taiwan has long since been known for.
Housemade noodles (stretched by hand!) were also served, as was lobster, a ginger and garlic broccoli and onion dish, sugar snap peas with beans, steamed cod, and noodle soup, another Asian staple. Perfectly seasoned, simple but delicious, the food was elegant to look at and incredible to eat. Fruit and sesame-coated peanut mochi were offered as the final course.
My first endeavor into Taiwanese food has left me to advise all of you to find any local establishment offering Taiwanese dishes and sample them immediately! You can also contact the Taiwanese Embassy for recommendations, and to see what future events they may be hosting.