Restaurant: La Parc Cafe at Sunworld Dynasty Hotel Taipei 台北盛世王朝大飯店

Address: 100 Dunhua N Rd, Taipei (台北市敦化北路100號)
Telephone: (02) 2715-0077 X3310
Open: From 5:30pm to 9pm tomorrow; and 6pm to 9pm on Christmas Eve
Cost: NT$780 plus 10 percent tomorrow; NT$1,250 plus 10 percent on Christmas Eve
Details: Buffet style; credit cards accepted

By Jules Quartly  /  STAFF REPORTER

Fri, Dec 22, 2006 - Page 15

Christmas arrives a day early for many of us this year as there won't be a national holiday conveniently celebrating the generalissimo's birthday and we'll be at our desks on Monday. Fans of the festive season blowout will have to make do instead with a traditional dinner on Christmas Eve.

Not to be put off, Sunworld Dynasty Hotel Taipei is putting on a song and dance to go with all the turkey trimmings of its Christmas buffet. Head chef Tony Wu (鄔仲利) said it's a secret but there will be oysters cooked in garlic and butter to go with appetizers of French bread, mixed-grain loaves and white rolls. The perfect starter will be followed by baked garlic scallop, lobster gratin and US fillet smothered in cracked pepper and mushroom sauce.

On most days this would be enough, but since this is Xmas and a time of excess, leave room for the traditional turkey, with apple chestnut stuffing, vegetables, roast potatoes, red currant jelly, bread sauce and gravy. Wu said he would be using 5kg to 6kg birds so they would be tender and juicy.

Asked whether Christmas was a big deal in Taiwan, Wu said it was becoming so. "We worship the West so even though it's not a religious event for most of us it is an international festival and younger people in particular like to celebrate it because they have experienced the special atmosphere abroad."

A 30-member choir from Shixing University (世新大學) will go a-wassailing while you eat and cover tunes from Sister Act, David Tsao (曹明) and Jolin Tsai (蔡依林), in addition to singing classic carols. Jazz band Top will tempt diners onto the dance floor, while a magic clown walks around the tables pulling doves and flowers out of his hat. Organizers said there would also be a lucky draw and Santa Claus will make an appearance, along with his little helper, to dole out prizes.

If you can't make it to Sunworld for Christmas Eve, no worries, they will come to you. A Christmas basket containing Carta Vieja Chilean wine, honey chocolate rolls, German fruit bread and a selection of biscuits baked in the hotel's kitchen (including surprisingly inoffensive durian-flavored cookies) can be yours for NT$1,888, plus 10 percent.

Merry Christmas!