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HOME > TAICHUNG > ARTICLES

COMPASS MAGAZINE > September 2008

Lasting Impressions with local fare
Mayor Hu treats President
Stephen to some tasty Pickled
Cabbage and Pork Hot Pot.

Lasting Impressions with local fare
The hot pot restaurant where
Mayor Hu hosted the President
of the Republic of Nauru.

Lasting Impressions with local fare
President Stephen tells the
media that they should open a
hot pot restaurant in Nauru.

Lasting Impressions with local fare
The Nauru officials enjoyed
themselves with some karaoke.

Lasting Impressions with local fare
President Stephen and his
wife, Mayor Hu, the Deputy
Mayor, and the owner of the
restaurant pose for a
photograph.

Lasting Impressions with local fare: A hot pot feast regales Marcus Stephen, President of Republic of Nauru

Words and photos by Taichung City Government
Translated by Ann Lee

In the beginning of August, Marcus Stephen, President of the Republic of Nauru, visited Taiwan. When he arrived, the president was treated to Pickled Cabbage and Pork Hot Pot, a traditional northeastern Chinese dish that is widely popular in Taiwan, but an unlikely candidate for feeding a visiting diplomat. After the meal, Taichung's mayor, Jason Hu, reported: "I think the president is quite down to earth, so I thought he would enjoy the hot pot. As it turns out, he was really pleased and felt that [hot pot] was an extremely healthy way to eat." President Stephen especially enjoyed the shrimp.

When Stephen and Hu met, they greeted each other with a laugh. The mayor then instructed the president and first lady on the traditional way to eat hot pot, and the paired seemed to really enjoy the range of food brought to the table. Stephen was especially fond of the restaurant's signature dish, Sauteed Preserved Pork with Garlic, and Mrs. Stephen was a fan of the white cabbage. The officials from Republic of Nauru that came with President Stephen didn't waste any time, either, as they started enjoying another Taiwanese pastime--KTV. All in all, everyone had a great time as both the hosts and guests enjoyed themselves fully.
Originally, the welcoming feast for President Stephen and his crew was set to take place at The Splendor Hotel, which was going to pick up the tab for the event. Hu later changed the venue to the hot pot restaurant, saying that he didn't feel right taking advantage of the hotel industry and didn't want the business to lose money. He also explained that he treated President Stephen to show how sincere he was and thankful for his visit; this is the first time during his position as city mayor, that he has paid for a meal to welcome friends from afar.

As for whether or not presenting President Stephen with hot pot, a less-than elegant dish, was the proper way to give a first impression of Taiwan, Mayor Hu stressed that there's nothing wrong with showing guests our city and its culture through local cuisine. He also added that Mr. and Mrs. Stephen had a genuinely great time.
Hu stands by his claim that giving guests local flavors instead of fancy, five-star fare is a great way to let a visiting dignitary feel at home in the city. The mayor cited another example of the fact that it doesn't have to be expensive to be sincere: When the CEO of the Guggenheim Museum visited Taichung, Hu arranged for a meal of meat buns and wonton soup at our own Tradition No. 2 Market. Since then, every time this CEO comes to Taiwan, his first visit is to the market, where he buys more meat buns.

Throughout the meal with President Stephen and his entourage, Mayor Hu and his own guests had a good time chatting and socializing with each other. Bruth Fuh, the Taiwanese ambassador from the Republic of Nauru, was also in attendance. He explained that he bought a hot pot 20 or 30 years ago, so he could make the dish at home, but because he spent most of his time overseas, he still had not gotten the chance to use it. After President Stephen heard this, he told Fuh to make him hot pot when they returned home.

Knowing that eating hot pot in this weather might be a bit too warm for everyone, Mayor Hu also treated the guests to some iced treats with sweet beans, another Taichung specialty dish. Along with the pleasant food and dessert, the visitors also received two bottles of vinegar drinks, a set of cups, sun cakes, and pineapple cakes, so they a little something to take home.

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