Day Tripping in Taipei: National Palace Museum and Addiction Seafood 故宮博物院

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Shipping all of the arts and artifacts from the Forbidden City in Beijing to Taipei is probably one of the smartest decisions that Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist Party ever made. Anthony Bourdain visited this museum and said he found the pork of his dreams — a meat-shaped stone that looks like a piece of marinated pork belly. The meat- shaped stone is as famous as the Jadeite Cabbage — a piece of jade carved into a cabbage with a camouflaged grasshopper on top.

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Chinese tourists flood the National Palace Museum (故宮博物院) all the time. Be prepared to face a crazy crowd. I’m not sure if it gets slower closer to the end of the day. It might be worth a try.

The easiest way to get to the National Palace Museum is to take the metro to Shilin Station on the red line and use exit 1 for Chungzhen Road. Then switch to a cab or take the bus Red 30 (紅30) to the entrance of the museum or bus 255, 304, 815, 18 , or 19 to the plaza out front.

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If seafood or sushi sounds good, you can visit the National Palace Museum in the morning and then take a cab to Addiction Seafood (上引水產) for lunch afterwards. (Or late lunch at Addiction and then head over to the museum.) The cab ride is probably under USD $8.

This is certainly not the best seafood in town. It’s not all that sustainable and environment friendly. Lots of seafood served here are not caught locally. Seafood restaurants at or near fishing ports where you can buy fresh caught and have a kitchen cook it to your request are no doubt the best. However, for non-Mandarin speaking tourists, those places are difficult to get to and nearly impossible to communicate with. That makes Aquatic Seafood a good option inside the city. Having said that, I don’t want to give an impression that this place is a tourist trap. Locals patronize this restaurant and market. It is fun to visit; the food is good; and there’s a large variety of options.

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Addiction Aquatic Development has a Tsukiji style standing sushi bar, a hot pot restaurant, a seafood bar, and an outdoor charcoal grill area. There is also a supermarket where you can find dirt cheap sushi and sashimi. Go there on a weekday. It slows down after about 1:30 p.m. The supermarket marks down the prices of sushi and sashimi close to the end of the day.

At the standing sushi bar, you grab a number and wait in line for a table. This is a roughly $30 set plus two single orders of nigiri.

At the standing sushi bar, you grab a number and wait in line for a table. This is a roughly $30 set plus two single orders of nigiri.

 

This ridiculous spread from the market probably cost under USD $70.

This ridiculous spread from the market probably cost under USD $70.

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An economic way would be to mix and match. Start with sashimi and suhi from the market and then hit the sushi bar or the outdoor grill; or start with the raw bar and then fill your stomach with takeout from the market.

The dining area near the exit of the market is always packed. After you check out at the market and walk outside, turn left to head toward the outdoor grill area and turn left to take the pathway between the outdoor grill area and the other fish super market. There you will find a lot more seating that most of people do not know about.

At the outdoor charcoal grill area, you pick out ingredients that you can see at the display and the kitchen staff cooks them for you. Then the servers bring your food to your mini grill at the table.

At the outdoor charcoal grill area, you pick out ingredients that you can see at the display and the kitchen staff cooks them for you. Then the servers bring your food to your mini grill at the table.

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This other ridiculous spread of six king crab legs, scallops, shitake mushroom, green bell pepper, plus sour, and a coconut was abiyt USD $160. (King crabs alone were USD $107.)

This other ridiculous spread of six king crab legs, scallops, shitake mushroom, green bell pepper, plus sour, and a coconut was about USD $160. (King crabs alone were USD $107.)

Alternatively, Shilin Night Market is quite close to the National Palace Museum. Also, Taiwanese chef André Chiang of Restaurant Andre in Singapore has a recently opened a bistronomy restaurant in Taipei, RAW, which is a short taxi ride away from the National Palace Museum. Be sure to make a reservation two weeks in advance. Miramar ferris wheel is nearby. That’s one way to see the night view of Taipei.

For vegetarian options, Cha for Tea, the restaurant branch of Tenrun Tea, offers dim sum, soup, noodle soup, and main dishes infused with tea.

 

National Palace Museum
http://www.npm.gov.tw
No.221, Sec. 2, Zhishan Rd., Shilin Dist., Taipei City
8:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
NTD $250 (USD $8)

Addiction Seafood 上引水產
No.18, Aly. 2, Ln. 410, Minzu E. Rd., Zhongshan
Dist., Taipei City
Cash only. $40-70 per person
http://www.addiction.com.tw
6:00 a.m. – midnight
Sushi bar 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

RAW
No. 301, Lequn 3rd Rd, Zhongshan District
http://www.raw.com.tw
Wed-Sun 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.; 6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
NTD $1,850 + 10% per person / USD $63

Cha for Tea 喫茶趣
No. 570, Section 5, Zhongshan N Rd, Shilin District
http://www.chafortea.com.tw/menu/index.html#22/z
11:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
$12-16 per person

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