Open-Air Banquet to Boost Tourism and Aid Disaster Reconstruction

Tourism Bureau Ministry of Transportation and Communications Republic of China (Taiwan) (TBROC)


Edited by Julie Yu 2009/08/24

The recent typhoon did a lot of damage to many of the tourist spots in southern Taiwan; but, as the Tourism Bureau points out, it has in no way diminished the deliciousness of the island’s food or the warm hospitality of its people.

A s part of its international 2009 Tour Taiwan year promotion, the Taiwan Tourism Bureau is inviting more than 600 foreign travelers and media representatives to attend a traditional “Taiwanese open-air banquet” on Aug. 18. The event is being held in conjunction of the 20th anniversary of the Taiwan Food Festival. In addition to a delicious meal, the participants will also be able to experience some of the scenic beauty, historic romance, and warm hospitality of the ancient capital city of Tainan.

The list of participants was compiled over a period of more than two months with the help of travel agencies, who are including the open-air banquet in their tour itineraries. Most of the attending groups have not changed their schedules despite the recent ravaging of southern Taiwan by Typhoon Morakot, and their presence at the “Taiwanese open-air banquet” will help to dispel misconceptions about the overall conditions on the island. They will see that as far as international tourists are concerned, the island is mostly back to normal.

The open-air banquet was originally to have taken place at the Old Fort of Anping, a first-grade historic site, but due to environmental and weather considerations it has been moved under-roof at the Anping Tourist Fish Market. During the meal, diners will be treated to performances of hand-puppet opera, spinning-drum music, and the “Twelve Nannies” prancing to solicit the blessings of the gods, providing a rich glimpse into the folk culture of southern Taiwan.

Among the diners will be a group of 40 visitors from Japan, led by two famous Japanese culinary masters, who will not only enjoy Taiwanese food but will also engage in Taiwanese-Japanese culinary exchange. There will also be a famous culinary expert from Hong Kong, and French culinary expert and critic Alain Cirelli will be on hand to experience the unique open-air banquet and the warmth of the southern Taiwanese people. These experts will spread the word about Taiwanese food and the attending international media people will report it to the world, giving a strong boost to Taiwan as an attractive culinary destination.

The kitchen team for the banquet will be headed up by topchef Master Ah Yong, who has prepared a menu consisting of traditional open-air-banquet dishes in consultation with a group of food consultants. Master Ah Yong is donating half of his income from the banquet to the victims of Typhoon Morakot.

The banquet is co-organized by the city governments of Tainan and Taipei with the aim of using the allure of fine food, along with the historic site of the area, to upgrade the image of tourism in southern Taiwan. The banquet will also be used to publicize next year’s Taipei International Flora Expo in the international arena, and the foreign invitees will be urged to return next year for more culinary pleasures along with the flower show.

The recent typhoon did a lot of damage to many of the tourist spots in southern Taiwan; but, as the Taiwan Tourism Bureau points out, it has in no way diminished the deliciousness of the island’s food or the warm hospitality of its people. These remain strong factors in attracting foreign tourists to Taiwan, the Tourism Bureau will use the open-air banquet in Tainan to emphasize the island’s determination to rebuild following the disaster and its indomitable will to survive.


“Bando” , the Taiwanese word for outdoor banquets, is where specialist chefs cook up authentic Taiwanese cuisine at an outdoor venue that guests can enjoy together. Many weddings and feasts in Taiwan are held in this way.  Outdoor banquets are generally held for important occasions. Depending on the needs of the host, they can range from over a dozen people to large events with more than a thousand guests. Back in the days where Agriculture was the main industry and most people are busy in the fields, “ “Bando” served as their means of social gathering for special occasions. Whenever there is a wedding, funeral, or birthday in the community, people would stop their work in the fields and bring their pots & pans, farm produce, food to the host house to help preparing a feast. It’s only through the help and cooperation of everyone in the community that “Bando” could be successful. Today we no longer need to bring our pans & pots to “Bando” but the spirit of “Bando” remains the same. It about sharing and cherishing the moments you have with friends and families.


What else is happening in Taiwan?

So what else is going on in Taiwan? Besides sensational cuisines, Taiwan is also known for its special geologic scenic, diverse leisure and entertainment facilities, and versatile cultural characteristics.

There are many upcoming events that visitors simply can’t miss to complete their Taiwan experience!


21st Summer Deaflympics Taipei 2009
-Taiwan is proud to host the 21st Summer Deaflympics this year in Taipei. It is scheduled to launch in September. It has been predicted that Over 100 countries and 6000 Deaflympics athletes will take part in this game. The City of Taipei invites everyone to come support the game from September 5 to September 15. All proceeds collecting from charity performances will be donated for Typhoon Morakot reconstruction program.


2010 Taipei International Flora Expo
-Featuring a theme of “River, Flower, New Horizon”, the 2010 Taipei International Flora Expo is set to launch in November 2010. According to the mayor of Taipei, the purpose of this expo is “to inspire visitors to embrace new ideas and implement green practices for themselves, thereby achieving the goal of protecting our precious Earth in all its unique beauty.”