President plays chef at reception


TAIPEI–President Ma Ying-jeou showed foreign dignitaries how to make steamed dumplings at a National Day reception yesterday but even he admitted that he has a ways to go before preparing dumplings like a pro.

The National Day party, hosted every year by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) at the Taipei Guest House, drew thousands of distinguished guests from embassies and representative offices. This year’s party was held on a larger scale than usual because the Republic of China was celebrating its centennial. About 6,000 invitations were issued and more than 4,000 people showed up for the gathering, according to the MOFA. Ma, accompanied by Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore and Palau President Johnson Toribiong, made three steamed dumplings, said Joy Hu, public relations manager for Din Tai Fung, one of Taiwan’s leading restaurant brands and a dumpling specialist. Hu described Ma’s effort as “not bad for an amateur,” but Ma himself wasn’t satisfied with his culinary display, saying that the shape of “the steamed dumplings looked a little like boiled ones.”

Although the president did not make any public remarks at the reception, he urged guests to sample different Taiwanese dishes available at the reception. Chang Wan-ling of Leechi Bakery said the bakery’s pineapple and taro cakes drew the most interest, and bags of cookies and cakes were passed out to guests who were too full to enjoy them, she said. Ma and his wife Chow Mei-ching left in the middle of a live drum performance by U Theater to catch a train to Taichung for an evening National Day celebration show.