Tuesday, August 23, 2016
Blessings on the table at Taste of Taiwan
A "Tray of Togetherness," assorted fresh fruit, captured the spirit of the "Taste of Taiwan" friendship dinner that brought Taiwanese and local Chinese together at the table.
Can you build friendships through food? That is question and the driving philosophy behind the United Chinese Society's Hawaii-sponsored "Taste of Taiwan" that took place Aug. 22 at Jade Dynasty restaurant.
From what I saw, yes you can. If not through food itself and the cooperation behind the scenes that goes into feeding hundreds, then through the camaraderie of sitting through a five-hour, 12-course meal. In between courses, there was also a lively bit of alcohol-fueled karaoke, for a good cause as friends challenged friends to step up to the mic in exchange for $100-plus donations to UCS.
On the menu were homestyle comfort dishes from southern Taiwan, "not restaurant dishes," our hosts made clear. Many dishes looked familiar to anyone versed in local Chinese cuisine, but flavors were not. You don't often find cinnamon, and never find basil stirred into dishes at our Cantonese or Hong Kong style restaurants.
The one thing these cuisines do have in common is that the major ingredients have meanings tied to blessings and prosperity, and dishes presented were intended to bestow all guests with good wishes and abundance, and they sent us all home with a small planter of lucky bamboo.
Co-sponsoring the event were the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Honolulu, the Hawaii Taiwanese Center, China Airlines, Lucoral Museum and Jade Dynasty.
Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her food coverage is in print in Wednesday's Crave section. Contact her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.