Monday, 2 September 2013

Food Addiction

Information on good places to visit comes from diverse sources in Taiwan. Government websites are sometimes useful if you know what you're looking for, and friends frequently recommend places or suggest trips. Another useful source is Centered On Taipei magazine, a production of the Community Services Center, which serves the English-speaking community, temporary and permanent residents alike.

Centered on Taipei put me on to Addiction Aquatic Development, an aptly-named fish and gourmet food market, containing indoor and outdoor restaurants. It's at No. 18, Alley 2, Ln 410, Minzu E Rd 台北市民族東路410巷2弄18號

Vegetarians should look away now.

Addiction is one of those places where you can choose your meal while it's still alive, and have it cooked and brought to your table steamed, fried, barbecued, made into soup, or however you want to eat it. Addiction also has shelves groaning with very fresh, high quality sushi, sashimi, raw fish and meat, imported delicacies and lots of booze.

With the tail end of a tropical storm system still hanging over Taipei yesterday, we sought and found sanctuary from the rain at Addiction. We got a taxi from Zhongshan Junior High School MRT station on the brown line. There are a few buses that pass nearby but taxis aren't that much more expensive and deliver you to your destination reasonably dry.

One of the advantages of living in Asia is that you can drink fresh coconut milk straight from the nut. It's a subtle taste but your stomach sends back signals of great contentment after drinking it. I first encountered fresh coconut milk many years ago and am always ready to become re-acquainted. My son is also becoming a big fan. This is just one of the drinks on offer at Addiction.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Tanks of huge crabs, lobsters and other shellfish greet visitors on their arrival. Assistants spray your hands with sanitiser before you're allowed inside, and it's easy to see why because the temptation to touch is irresistible. We toured the poor, doomed creatures before going into the shop area.

I don't know what these are. My husband thought of a name but I'd better not repeat it on a site open to the general public.
We saw at least three places to eat: a stand up sushi joint, an upstairs hot pot restaurant, and an outdoor barbecue area. There may be more but the place was so packed it was difficult to manoeuvre and explore. We settled on the outdoor area as it was marginally less full than the others, and enjoyed a beer while waiting for a table.

The creme-whip topping is actually some kind of crushed ice, as far as I could tell. Not unpleasant but, as someone more used to room temperature bitter, slightly bizarre.

Ordering is a little unusual too. There is a single wooden menu to read as you're waiting, but guests survey the display of (already dead) items on display to order.

We had green pepper, mushroom, rice balls and skewers of meat and fish, but a crab leg and scallops were the highlights of the meal for me.
The crab legs were about a foot long. Here's ours resting on the ceramic hot plate where wait staff deposit your food as it arrives. 

The aftermath.

The scallops were huge and delicious too.

The wait staff were dressed as sailors, bless 'em.

After a couple of hours we emerged extremely full and a little poorer. It would be easy to become addicted to food if you frequently ate at Addiction.

No comments: