Tue, Mar 17, 2009 - Page 4 News List

COMMUNITY COMPASS: From tasty treats to dancing, Thailand Week offers it all

By Jenny W. Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

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Thailand Week began on Saturday with three bangs on a traditional Thai gong.

At the opening ceremony, the Thailand Trade and Economic Office (TTEO) invited the public to participate in a series of free activities designed to help Taiwanese better understand the country’s culture.

Thai food enthusiasts flocked to Sun Yat-sen Memorial despite the cold wind and drizzling rain to enjoy a wide offering of delicacies at 20 booths set up by Thai restaurants from around Taiwan.

For those who enjoy cooking, Thai ingredients were also available, along with handicrafts from Chiang Mai in northern Thailand.

Twenty-one Thai restaurants in Taipei, Hsinchu, Taichung, Tainan and Kaohsiung have been certified as high quality, authentic Thai restaurants, part of the “Thai Select” program.

The Royal Government of Thailand and Thai Trade created the worldwide restaurant certification program to help lovers of Thai food find the real deal wherever they go.

In Taiwan, the TTEO issues the certification. TTEO Executive Director Arhborn Manasvanich said the program is conducted by a panel of TTEO officials and representatives from the private sector, who test each restaurant for quality, freshness, ambience, service and authentic, tasty dishes.

“We want to give people the most authentic, fresh, healthy, and innovative Thai cuisine,” she said, saying a good Thai chef should always cater to the taste of customers.

There are some misconceptions about Thai food, she said; the idea that most Thai dishes are spicy is wrong.

“We have every flavor you can think of: from spicy to sweet to sour to salty. There is a taste for everyone,” she said.

The week-long festivities will include a demonstration of traditional Thai carving and dessert making, presented by Taipei’s Patio Restaurant; a business seminar for those interested in investing in Thailand; and an exhibition on Thailand at Tamkang University.

The events will conclude with classical dance performances by a Thai dance troupe in Taichung, Taoyuan and Taipei on March 20, March 21 and March 22 respectively.

More information on Thailand Week activities is available through the TTEO at its Web site, www.tteo.org.tw.

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