Gourmet food forges cross-Straits link

Updated: 2016-01-20 20:37

By WANG YING in Shanghai(chinadaily.com.cn)

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Gourmet food forges cross-Straits link

Chuan-I Wang (left), a chef from the Grand Hotel in Taipei, and Wang Hao, executive chef at the Central Hotel Shanghai, show their specialty dishes before the two catering firms signed a deal for cooperation in Shanghai on Wednesday. GAO ERQIANG / CHINA DAILY

Shanghai's gourmets will soon have the opportunity to try signature dishes from the Grand Hotel in Taipei, Taiwan - including Madame Chiang Kai-shek's favorite red bean muffin - without flying all the way across the Straits.

The Taiwan-style dishes will be available at the Central Hotel Shanghai for five days starting on March 23, the result of a cooperative agreement reached by the two hotels on Wednesday.

In May last year, during their visit to Grand Hotel, delegates from Central Hotel Shanghai suggested a collaboration. Later, in October, Central Hotel brought its well-known hairy crab dishes there, and won great popularity among local aficionados.

About 130,000 yuan ($19,700) in sales revenue was generated during the weeklong crab dish offering.

"The crab dishes offered at the Grand Hotel made a hit in the local market, and this March we are going to provide Shanghai people, as well as Taiwan businesspeople in Shanghai, our special dishes," said Johnson Chiang, president of the Grand Hotel.

"Fine food is the best way to promote cross-Staits communication. It is hoped that our communication will be long lasting," Chiang said.

The two hotels plan to communicate regularly on an annual basis, said Zhang Guosheng, general manager at Shanghai Wang Bao He Co, the parent of Central Hotel Shanghai.

According to Chiang, the five-star Grand Hotel is well known for its delicate Taiwan-style dishes. It's red bean muffin is tailored to the requirements of Madame Chiang Kai-shek (Soong Mei-ling).

The Grand Hotel, Taipei, known in Chinese as the Yuanshan Great Hotel, was established in 1952. Built in classic Chinese style, it's a local landmark that witnessed Chen Yunlin, then-president of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits, deliver his first formal speech on his visit to Taiwan in 2008.

"After the exchange of signature dishes, the two hotels can also share their customers and management resources," said He Jianmin, a professor of tourism management at Shanghai University of Finance and Economics.

About 4.15 million trips were made to Taiwan by tourists from the Chinese mainland in 2015, estimated to have resulted in sales of 230 billion New Taiwan dollars on the island last year, according to a report from www.taiwan.cn, which is affiliated with the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council.

About 300,000 people from Taiwan live and work in Shanghai.

Central Hotel Shanghai - or literally Wang Bao He Great Hotel in Chinese - is a four-star hotel of Shanghai Wang Bao He Co. Wang Bao He is a time-honored brand in Shanghai that serves signature crab dishes and rice wine. Its history can be traced back to 1744, when a tavern called Wang Bao He was opened by Wang Guichen near the current Chenghuang miao, or City God Temple, in Shanghai close to the same time Wang Bao He Wine Workshop launched in Shaoxing, Zhejiang province.