With the international COVID-19 pandemic increasing in severity, tighter border restrictions mean that only a small number of Taiwanese will be able to travel abroad during this year’s Lunar New Year holiday period. As a result, hotels are doing a roaring trade in family reunion dinners this year, with several well-known five-star hotels becoming booked out as early as December last year. Two months ago, the Sheraton Grand Taipei Hotel had sold nearly 200 preorders, while places for Lunar New Year dinners at the Okura Taipei and the Fullon Hotel also sold out last year. The pandemic has given a significant boost to the Lunar New Year dinner trade, with the Fullon Hotel Group reporting a 30 percent increase on last year’s takings at its hotels while the Palais de Chine Hotel has seen a massive 90 percent increase.
Last year Le Meridien Taipei’s third-floor restaurant began selling a Meridien Lunar New Year Banquet that costs NT$32,800 per table for 10, excluding a 10 percent service charge. By mid December last year, the restaurant had already taken bookings for all 50 of its tables. The Renaissance Taipei Shilin Hotel’s Lunar New Year dinner service has not been affected by the pandemic, and places at its second floor banquet room were snapped up within three weeks.
In addition to sit-down dinners, hotels are also offering their customers a Lunar New Year banquet takeaway service, which is proving extremely popular. The Fullon Hotel Group reports that takings are currently up by between 20 and 30 percent for Lunar New Year takeaway meals at all of its locations across Taiwan. The Palais de Chine Hotel is this year offering an “upgrade” version of its Lunar New Year dinner set: the “rich and wealthy poon choi” set costs NT$38,800 per table, while the “open flame chicken congee stewed fish maw” will set diners back NT$18,800 per table. Despite the high prices, the hotel says tables are selling out fast and the restaurant is now 90 percent booked up.
Photo courtesy of the Sheraton Grand Taipei Hotel 照片：業者提供
Finally, the Okura Prestige Taipei is also doing a roaring trade this year. Its best-selling dishes include traditional New Year favorites such as “suckling pig and smoked duck rich and wealthy platter” and “fermented soy bean curd roast chicken.”
(Liberty Times, translated by Edward Jones)
You like the great outdoors, don’t you? (3/5) 你不是很熱衷戶外活動嗎？（三） B: Does the list say anything about tents? If we’re staying at the top of the mountain overnight, we’ll need somewhere to sleep, especially if it rains. A: Yes, you’ll need a tent. They’re not too expensive these days. B: I have a good one at home. It’s sturdy and light. I also have a warm sleeping bag and a sleeping mat that packs up small. A: And don’t forget a headlamp, with extra batteries, for when it gets dark. B: I’m glad you reminded me. I would have forgotten the headlamp. A: Finally, bring washing
B: Where are we meeting the rest of the hiking group? A: The guide will pick us up in Kaohsiung and drive us to the trailhead. There’ll be five of us going. We’re thinking of hiring a car. B: Good idea. If we split the car rental fee between us it will end up much cheaper than five HSR return tickets. And we can leave a change of clothes in the car for after the hike. A: My friend has volunteered to drive. She has one request, though. B: What’s that? A: That we all have a shower before we get in the car
You like the great outdoors, don’t you? (2/5) 你不是很熱衷戶外活動嗎？（二） A: Well, the first thing you’ll need is a pair of good walking shoes or boots. The guide emphasizes the need for something with ankle support. Some of the terrain will be quite uneven underfoot. B: Will we be carrying much gear with us? A: According to this list, you’ll need a large backpack, with a capacity of at least 50 liters. It says everyone in the group will be carrying extra food. B: Extra food? We have to carry that up the mountain ourselves? A: Well, the guide is planning a BBQ at the top of the
Following the huge success of the last two seasons, online video platform iQiyi recently launched Season 3 of its boyband reality show “Youth with You.” The new season is hosted by singer Chris Lee, while Li Ronghao, Will Pan and Lisa of K-pop group BlackPink serve as vocal, rap and dance mentors for the 119 trainees. The top nine standouts among the contestants are set to form a boyband. Unlike previous seasons, however, iQiyi has recruited different types of trainees to increase the diversity of talent on the show, including the members of Produce Pandas, a five-piece “plus-sized” band. Since