Taipei, May 18 (CNA) The state banquet to be held Sunday to celebrate President Ma Ying-jeou's inauguration for a second term will feature simple yet delicious Taiwanese agricultural products and seafood, the banquet's organizer said Friday.
Lee Chien-jung, the chairman of the Taipei Grand Hotel where the state banquet will be held, said the dinner will be in keeping with Ma's preference for "simplicity," "energy conservation," and "environmental preservation."
All of the ingredients will come from domestic farms, in a gesture of support for local farmers and fishermen, he said.
Around 500 guests invited to attend the inauguration ceremony will join the dinner, which will be hosted by President Ma and his deputy Wu Den-yih, who will also be inaugurated the same day, Lee said. The meal will be prepared and served by a staff of about 250 people.
According to the hotel, the eight-course banquet will start with appetizers made of mullet roe from Yunlin, duck from Yilan, sweet potatoes from Chiayi, and sakura shrimps from Pingtung.
Other dishes will feature chicken, lobster, grouper, rice and assorted fruits, including pineapple, wax apple, melon, guava and watermelon.
The desert will be a traditional sweet soup with popular Jiufen sweet potato balls and herb jelly, called "xiancao" in Mandarin Chinese.
The banquet's final touches will be Oriental Beauty Tea and handmade mung bean cakes, said Lee, who noted that no pork or lard will be served out of respect for the dietary habits of some of the country's important guests.
The set menu served at the state banquet, designed by Grand Hotel chefs, will also be available for hotel clients starting in about two months at a price of NT$2,500 (US$84) per set, Lee said.
About 230 people with 41 foreign delegations are expected to attend the inauguration ceremony, and Ma is expected to meet with each one beginning Saturday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
Meanwhile, Presidential Office spokesman Fan Chiang Tai-chi said the upcoming ceremony will be held based on the principle of "simplicity, solemnity and thrift," meaning there will be no fireworks display or gala party.
The budget for this year's inauguration ceremony will be NT$6 million, much lower than the NT$39.84 million budgeted for Ma's first inauguration four years ago, when more than 500 guests were invited from around the world to attend.
(By Wang Shu-fen and Elizabeth Hsu)