Steaming bowls of spicy hot pot. Piles of pork buns. Dessert stations covered in soybean pudding and deep-fried sesame balls. These are some of the Taiwanese treats that'll be making an appearance at the week-long A Taste of Taiwan festival.
Held at the Shangri-La in The Rocks, the festival will see guest chefs, flown in from Shangri-La's Far Eastern Plaza Hotel in Taipei, serving up an array of dishes from Taiwan's diverse food scene. There'll be slow-cooked spicy hot pot with shacha dipping sauce and raw egg yolk, as well as oyster omelettes — a night market favourite. But the pork belly buns, or gua bao, are set to steal the show. These pillowy steamed buns are packed with red-braised pork belly, pickled mustard greens and finely crushed peanuts and topped with coriander. Traditionally served at the end of the lunar year, and resembling a wallet stuffed with cash, the buns are said to represent good fortune. While it may not be the end of the lunar year, who would say no to a wallet stuffed with cash?
Thirsty after all those pork buns? Expect an onslaught of bubble tea. Sweet tooth? There'll be a vast Taiwanese dessert station with an assortment of fruit from the sub-tropical island. The classic shaved ice baobing will make an appearance, too, alongside aiyu — a jelly made from the seeds of a variety of Taiwanese fig served with lemon and honey.
A Taste of Taiwan runs from Friday, October 20 to Saturday, October 28 at Shangri-La's Cafe Mix. Lunch is available Sunday to Thursday from 12pm to 2.30pm and dinner from 6pm to 10.30pm. On Friday and Saturday a seafood buffet will be available from 6pm to 10.30pm.