The state banquet to be held today to celebrate President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) re-inauguration will feature simple yet delicious Taiwanese agricultural products and seafood, according to the banquet’s organizer.
Lee Chien-jung (李建榮), the chairman of the Taipei Grand Hotel, where the state banquet will be held, said the dinner will be in keeping with Ma’s preference for “simplicity,” “energy conservation” and “environmental preservation.”
All of the ingredients will come from domestic farms, in a gesture of support for local farmers and fishermen, he said.
About 500 guests invited to attend the inauguration ceremony will join the dinner, which will be hosted by Ma and vice president Wu Den-yih (吳敦義), who will also be inaugurated today, Lee said.
The meal will be prepared and served by a staff of about 250. According to the hotel, the eight-course banquet will start with appetizers made of mullet roe from Yunlin, duck from Yilan, sweet potatoes from Chiayi and sakura shrimps from Pingtung.
Other dishes will feature chicken, lobster, grouper, rice and assorted fruits, including pineapple, wax apple, melon, guava and watermelon.
The dessert will be a traditional sweet soup with popular Jiufen (九份) sweet potato balls and herb jelly, called xiancao (仙草) in Mandarin.
The banquet’s final touches will be Oriental Beauty Tea and handmade mung bean cakes, said Lee, who added that the menu will be halal out of respect for the dietary habits of some of the country’s important guests.
The set menu served at the state banquet, designed by Grand Hotel chefs, will also be available for hotel clients starting in about two months at a price of NT$2,500 (US$84) per set, Lee said.
About 230 people with 41 foreign delegations are expected to attend the inauguration ceremony, and Ma was expected to meet with each one beginning yesterday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
Meanwhile, Presidential Office spokesman Fan Chiang Tai-chi (范姜泰基) said the ceremony today will be held based on the principles of “simplicity, solemnity and thrift,” meaning there will be no fireworks display or gala party.
The budget for this year’s re-inauguration ceremony will be NT$6 million, much lower than the NT$39.84 million budgeted for Ma’s first inauguration four years ago, when more than 500 guests from around the world were invited to attend.