Taiwan’s Capital of Gastronomy Tainan Showcases 60 Michelin "Star Potential" Dishes on the International Stage.
Tainan, often hailed as Taiwan’s capital of gastronomy, was selected last year (2021) as one of the cities to be reviewed by Michelin Guide, one of the world’s most authoritative food review guidebooks. In order to assist Tainan's catering industry earn Michelin stars, the Tourism Bureau of Tainan City Government organized a three-month "Tainan Michelin Carnival" online voting campaign from December 26, 2021 to March 25, 2022, during which period Tainan restaurateurs were invited to submit their signature dishes for online voting and evaluation by expert judges. Up to the end of the event, a total of 156 restaurants with 365 dishes registered for the event, and the accumulated number of votes reached 261,831, with over 1.4 million visits on the event website. After the three-month campaign, 60 shortlisted dishes with the most “star” potential were finally unveiled! The Tourism Bureau held a press conference at the Far East Shangri-La Hotel in Tainan to today (Apr. 12) to announce the results. At the same time, renowned Michelin-starred chefs and other experts in the food industry were invited to share and exchange their experiences of Tainan cuisine.
Tainan is internationally renowned as the capital of Taiwan’s food culture, and the city government team led by Mayor Huang Wei-Che has made "promoting Tainan food tourism to the world" as one of the key goals of expanding international tourism to Tainan. Thanks to the tireless efforts of the city government team and the Tainan Tourism Bureau, Michelin announced last year (2021) that Tainan would be included in the 2022 Michelin Guide, which is a much-anticipated honor for the city. In order to lead Tainan's food and beverage industry to compete for a Michelin rating, the Tourism Bureau has been planning multiple related activities since 2021. The Tainan Michelin Carnival online voting campaign is intended to achieve the goal of increasing the visibility of Tainan's food scene in the international arena through the participation of the public, the publicity of domestic and international online media, and the power of social media, which in turn will boost the potential of select restaurants in Tainan earning Michelin stars.
To encourage restaurants in Tainan, Mayor Huang Wei-Che, joined the event to present awards to the shortlisted restaurants, and invited the VIPs and media to give a round of applause and encouragement to all Tainan restaurants. Mayor Huang pointed out that the most interesting fact he found about this event is that there are exactly 365 dishes in the competition, which means one dish every day for 365 days a year, and everyone is welcome to visit Tainan every day to taste them. The featured dishes include a variety of different cuisines, including Taiwanese, Cantonese, Japanese and other culinary delicacies, with the hope of enhancing Tainan's food culture and culinary standards. Looking back on the past two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, the domestic and international tourism market has been on a rollercoaster ride, and the catering industry has been greatly affected. Mayor Huang especially thanked the efforts of the catering industry and the city government team, who have worked tirelessly side by side to get Tainan’s best food listed on the Michelin Guide. The preparation of a Michelin review can be compared to a marathon. Before the result is announced, we all have to continue to work hard and gain the first Michelin starred restaurants in Tainan.
The event was attended by Tsao Yi-Shu, Deputy Chief of International Affairs Division, Tourism Bureau, MOTC; Tainan City Councilors Ingay Tali, Shen Chen-Tung, Wang Jia-Jeng, Chen Yi-Chen; Tsai Yu-Feng, Chairman of the Tainan Formosa Chefs Association; Tai Yung-Ming, Chairman of the Tainan City Cultural Tourism Gifts Industry Development Association; Tsai Cheng-Hung, Chairman of Tainan Association of Travel Agents,Hsu Hsing-Chuan, Executive Director of Tainan Hotel Business Association; Chang Bao-Jen, Chairman of the Cooking Business Association of Tainan City. During the ceremony, Mayor Huang Wei-Che, Director Kuo Chen-Hui and the attending guests picked the star cards together to symbolize well wishes for Tainan restaurants to be in the Michelin Guide. In addition, although he was unable to attend the event due to the epidemic, Chef Chen Yong-Hua of Taipei Grand Mayfull Hotel also sent words of encouragement and blessings to Tainan restauranteurs through livestream. Apart from food experts and scholars, noted photographer and blogger Ean Chen, and Chang Tso-Ming, creator of the famous blog Life in Tainan attended the event. It can be said that key representatives of the food industry are standing in praise of Tainan cuisine. The selected dishes include traditional Taiwanese and Cantonese cuisine, as well as Western cuisine and desserts and souvenir gifts, epitomizing the feeling that the city is indeed a "food museum" that has undergone 400 years of evolution and refinement.
Director Kuo Chen-Hui of the Tourism Bureau of Tainan City Government noted that food is an important and indispensable part of tourism, and the fact that CNN once named Tainan as the "king of food" is a testament to the strength of Tainan's food scene and potential to become an international player. This is the fifth year that the Michelin Guide entered Taiwan. With the efforts of the city government team, Tainan has been selected as a Michelin-reviewed city this year, which is not only a recognition, but also a big step for Tainan's food industry to enter the international hall of fame. The Tainan Michelin Carnival is an online voting event held by the Tourism Bureau of Tainan City to help Tainan restaurant establishments earn Michelin stars. The Tourism Bureau appreciates the the 3 months of hard work by the restaurants in collaboration with the city team. In addition to congratulating the 60 shortlisted dishes, the Tourism Bureau would also like to encourage all the participating restaurants. Tainan's food culture is not made up of a single dish, but a smorgasbord of delicious dishes offered by various hotels, restaurants and stores.Each dish is an important element that constitutes Tainan’s food culture. We hope that this year's Michelin Guide series of related activities and guide announcements will successfully bring Tainan food to the international stage and generate a new wave of culinary craze for Tainan food both domestically and internationally, bringing a new peak to Tainan tourism.
The Tourism Bureau said that the "Tainan Michelin Carnival" online voting campaign closed on March 25, and 60 shortlisted dishes as well as all entries are posted on the official website of the event, which can be said to be an opportunity to gather many of the signature dishes throughout Tainan, with pictures and dish descriptions on the official website for reference. Furthermore, to promote Tainan’s street snacks during the event, a “Street Side Food Stall Recommendations Area” was also launched in March. The Area features a total of 49 food establishments recommended by gourmets from their pocket lists, and is very worthy of reference. The Tourism Bureau welcomes the public to make use of the information on the event website to arrange a culinary trip to Tainan.
Although the event has come to an end for the time being, the Tourism Bureau will continue to provide guidance and assistance to the industry in their pursuit of Michelin ratings and to promote Tainan's culinary tourism. In addition to compiling the activities of the participating restaurant establishments, the Tourism Bureau also plans to produce a Tainan food brochure and several recommended Tainan food tour routes. The Starred Chef series of industry counseling sessions will continue in April, and the latest session will be held on April 18 at the Silks Place Tainan. Chef Ryogo Tahara of Logy Restaurant will share the secrets of earning Michelin stars with the theme of Asian creative cuisine. It is hoped that through these activities, not only will Tainan's food scene have a chance to be included on the Michelin Guide, but it will also bring Tainan's food tourism to the international level, which will in turn lead to the development of other tourism-related industries.