Trying to gain an edge in the competitive restaurant industry, Taiwanese food representatives watched closely as a chef cut and prepared U.S. beef into mouth-watering dishes diners were sure to splurge on.
The two-day seminar, held by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), introduced more than 80 meat traders, distributors, retailers, chefs and gourmet food reporters to the distinguishing tastes and characteristics of U.S. beef cuts that could boost U.S. beef sales in Taiwan.
The seminar, held at the Hotel Royal Chiao Hsi in Yi Lan in the last week of June, started with cutting demonstrations of U.S. beef tri-tip, flank and knuckle items, showing how underutilized cuts can be turned into flavorful dishes for diners and profitable dishes for restaurant owners and chefs.
“This seminar provided the latest information on preparation methods, serving ideas and marketing trends for U.S. beef to succeed in the Taiwan marketplace,” said Eddy Ho, vice president of Yu-Ho Foods Company, a leading meat importer in Taiwan.
Wine pairings and side dish selections were also discussed, supplying ideas of effective ways to increase the flavor and enjoyment of the U.S. beef dish. In addition, foodservice management and marketing strategies were also shared so the industry representatives could get ideas about how to feature U.S. beef successfully in their establishments.
To close the seminar, USMEF took the participants to Shan Yen, one of Yi Lan's most popular restaurants, so they could see a live U.S. beef tebanyaki demonstration. A chef prepared one U.S. beef steak cut in 15 different ways, showing the versatility and potential profitability of U.S. beef in the competitive restaurant industry.
Shipments of U.S. beef started arriving in Taiwan in late February. They were the first since June 2005, when Taiwan banned U.S. beef after the announcement of a second case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy in the United States.
Since then, USMEF has been actively working with hotels, restaurants and retailers to increase the knowledge of their staff in cutting, preparing and marketing U.S. beef. So far, the results have been extremely successful.
Grand Formosa Regent Hotel in Taipei recently sold out of more than 3,000 cuts of U.S. roast beef in the first 28 days of its 37-day promotion.
“Many customers came here wanting to try the roast beef and were disappointed we had run out,” said Ellen Chang, public relations director of Regent Hotel. “This U.S beef promotion definitely has been one of our most successful promotions.”
Regent Hotel Chef Chen Chun-Shen prepared U.S. beef boneless rib eye steaks and short ribs in the USMEF booth at the Taipei International Food Show in June. Buyers from supermarkets, hotels and restaurant chains gathered at the USMEF booth to sample the U.S. beef items and many wanted to learn more about U.S. beef.
Grand Hi-Lai Hotel, located in southern Taiwan, knows all about the superior quality and taste of U.S. beef, successfully featuring it in its four restaurants.
“We are glad that U.S beef is back on Taiwan's table again,” said Ya-Chi Hsu, secretary of general manager, Grand Hi-Lai Hotel. “When U.S. beef was not able to enter our country, we tried to buy as much as we could. With the market reopened again, we are happy to provide the best meat to our guests.”
U.S. beef and beef variety meat exports to Taiwan through May were 8,439 metric tons valued at $39.8 million.
The U.S. Meat Export Federation is the trade association responsible for developing international markets for the U.S. red meat industry and is funded by USDA, exporting companies, and the beef, pork, lamb, corn, sorghum and soybean checkoff programs.