Today (August 24) the menu for the Tang Prize Banquet on September 21 was revealed to a select few press and top culinary personages. These haute and healthy dishes will celebrate the extraordinary accomplishments of the 2018 laureates to be awarded earlier that day. For such a special occasion, the Tang Prize invited the culinary master behind the 2016 banquet, Guo Hong-Che, director of the Chinese Gourmet Association. Guo arranged the night’s menu around biopharmaceutical science, one of the fields of the Tang Prize, and the theme of Lohas (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability). Such a menu connects the Tang Prize with new trends in eating healthy. And in addition to its more philosophical elements, it is a style of cooking that satisfies your palette, Guo said, without breaking your weight loss plan.
This nine-course meal, designed by a culinary expert and cooked by a master Cantonese chef, is a meticulous construction, from the selection of the local ingredients to the prepping, cooking, and plating. Such popular ingredients as red quinoa, dried radish, salted mullet roe, pine nuts, dragon tiger grouper, and Japanese wagyu beef are on the menu for this night of haute and healthy cuisine.
Chern Jenn-Chuan, CEO of the Tang Prize Foundation, said that the banquet for each prize year is planned with a unique approach and a different theme. And the success for past banquets is thanks to the assistance of the Chinese Gourmet Association and the Grand Hotel. Future banquets will take a similar approach, Chern added, with each focusing on one of the fields of the Tang Prize—Sustainable Development, Biopharmaceutical Science, Sinology, and Rule of Law. Eventually, the history of these banquets may be compiled in a book.
As an international award founded in Taiwan, the Tang Prize intends to let the laureates and the guests at the banquet taste the local flavors of Taiwan and the greatest foods of abroad; it wants also to give guests a taste of traditional dishes that are also in line with new trends and interesting designs. Such old yet surprising combinations will give new value to food and will redefine what a banquet can be.
First on the menu is a plate of cold hors d'oeuvres served family style. The dish uses dried and salted mullet roe, sweetened sweet fish, baby abalone, boiled squid and prawn balls with kumquat sauce, these ingredients representing the north, south, east, and west of Taiwan as well as the five flavors of sour, sweet, bitter, spicy, and salty, symbolizing adversity and diversity of life and culinary culture. Another unique dish is rice with Taiwanese quinoa and shrimp, which originates in traditional Taiwanese sticky rice. Guo was inspired to go beyond the commonplace dish by adding healthy and fragrant quinoa and small shrimp, a product of Taiwan’s southern town of Donggang. It is further garnished with a shrimp stick, which is a fried mix of green onions, egg, and a large handful of small shrimp. Embracing tradition and innovation, this dish gives the diner a new image of commonplace streetfood.
Now into the third year of hosting the Tang Prize Banquet, the Grand Hotel is expecting another successful year. Hosting such an event “is a great honor,” said Executive Deputy General Manager of the Grand Hotel Pang Yu-jia. The gala event has become a big yearly event for the hotel, one that draws many distinguished guests and national attention.
The grand finale of the sumptuous meal is certainly the knifework of internationally renowned chef Xu Yao-guang as displayed in the sweet chrysanthemum soup with chrysanthemum-shaped tofu. Xu first cuts tofu with a round mold 6 centimeters in diameter. He then makes a total of 108 cuts vertically and 108 cuts horizontally, each 0.5 centimeters in depth. As a result, what was once a solid block of nondescript tofu becomes a chrysanthemum blossom with 11,664 individual petal-like strands. When placed in a bowl of sweetened chrysanthemum flavored soup, the tofu “blooms” into a flowery dessert.
The banquet is one part of Tang Prize Week, a series of events running from September 19 – 28. Centering on the award ceremony on September 21, the week encompasses a lecture series on September 22, where the world-changing work of the laureates will be explained by the visionaries themselves. For more information on the week and its events, please visit the Tang Prize website http://www.tang-prize.org/en/first.php