Developing My Aquatic Addiction At Aquatic Addiction Development 三井 上引水產

aad

One of the things that I missed the most while in Paris was good, affordable, fresh sushi. Unfortunately, you have one of three options: 1) pseudo-Japanese restaurants 2) chain store sushi places and 3) super expensive Japanese owned sushi restaurants that will easily cost you over 100 euros for two.
Luckily, France is well-known for some of the world’s best seafood so I was able to quench my cravings at places like Bar à iode.

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However, nothing beats Taipei’s Fish Market in terms of affordability and taste. As a veteran, I have tried all four restaurants and feel sufficiently informed to give an opinion.
Legend has it that they were going to demolish the building when it was bought and turned into the seafood paradise we have now; a bit like La Felicità in Paris. The entire space has been divided into the Supermarket, the Sushi Bar, the Seafood Bar, the Charcoal Grilled, the Hot Pot and Trésors de la Mer.

Now, there are a few ways you could go about eating your seafood. You could simply grab a couple goodies from the supermarket where they provide everything from miso soup, salmon rice, mentaiko grilled salmon, nigiri, sashimi and grilled meats – which is what I did today as I was short on time – or you could sit yourself down at one of the many restaurants in the Fish Market, except for the Seafood and Sushi Bar where they were going for more of a standing sushi bar/sushi on the go concept.

oyster bar

Trésors de la Mer has got to be my favourite as they do everything from seafood platters to hot pot. It is a three floor restaurant on the far end of the Fish Market that overlooks the Charcoal Grilled. The Charcoal Grilled comes in at a close second because having a mini barbecue on your table in an open space amidst all the fairy lights with a huge screen showing old, black and white movies makes for a beautiful summer moment and scores high on the originality scale but lacks the appeal of raw seafood. The Hot Pot rates even lower on my list because hot pot places in Taipei are as numerous as the stars in the sky. However, it needs to be said that both the Hot Pot and the Charcoal Grilled provide quality ingredients and excellent service.

Regardless of whether you end up munching on a skewer stick or swallowing French imported Gillardeau oysters whole, a trip to Taipei is not complete without visiting its Fish Market.

Aquatic Addiction Development 三井 上引水產
Address: No. 18, Alley 2, Lane 410, Minzu East Road, Zhongshan District, Taipei City, Taiwan 10491
Official Website: http://www.addiction.com.tw/

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Recommended by CNN – Smoothie House

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This is SO three years ago and I know I’m late to the party but adverts for the best shaved ice in Taipei are still up in Dongmen MRT station. They stretch for metres along the escalators and they all say one thing, “Recommended by CNN“. Smoothie House is also referred to by locals as “the famous shaved ice place” and rightly so as it was packed with tourists and the staff are trained to speak English.

smoothie house

Taiwan has always been the stuff of tropical fruit dreams so it wasn’t a surprise that their Super Mango Snowflake Ice is highly recommended. We took one of those and a Yoghurt Berry Snowflake Ice, both around 220NTD.


Smoothie House definitely lives up to expectations with flavours that are natural and fruits that are freshly bought from local farms. You don’t feel an overload of sugar when you finish the bowl but sharing is advised as portions are quite large. Shaved ice is a must for anyone visiting Taiwan!

Address: No.15, Yongkang St., Da’an Dist., Taipei City 10650, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
Telephone: +886-2-2341-6161
Opening hours: AM 9:30 ~ PM 11:00

The Epitome of Instagram-worthy: Drunk Café

drunk cafe

After a meticulous search across the worldwide web, Wendy came up with this gorgeous location. My phone vibrated continuously as the pictures came in; it looked perfect!
“Wonderful! See you on Sunday!!” I typed back.

interior

Sunday night and I was the first to arrive. The café was gorgeous with its fairy lights hanging from the black ceiling like a thousand stars, throw pillows adorning every sofa and armchair. The feathered ceiling lamps were like something from an interior design magazine and the whole effect was completed with neon signs.

bar

I was rather surprised that the place seemed much smaller than in the pictures but it turned out that half the café was closed due to renovations…

The food is standard with prices that are quite affordable (NT$320 for the spaghetti, NT$200 for a glass of white wine) but I’m sure the majority of clients come back mainly for the decor and perhaps the cocktails on their lengthy and impressive list but I have yet to try those.

All in all, it is the perfect place to catch up with the girls over a drink and to take a few (or a couple) Instagram photos. Wink*
Sadly, I wouldn’t recommend Drunk Café for dinner as the tables are quite low which makes it impractical for eating but mainly because it really is more of a beverages and snacks establishment than a proper, full-on restaurant.

Regardless, it is definitely worth a visit.

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Drunk Café
Address: No. 9, Lane 116, Guangfu South Road, Da’an District, Taipei City, 106
Telephone: 02 2731 8787

 

A Michelin Star Experience in Taipei – Longtail

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Quite frankly, many people would be surprised to know we have a couple Michelin star restaurants in this island city. After all, we’re not as renowned as the French for our cuisine, neither are we as international as other cities, like Hong Kong, for example.

This year, Longtail was awarded one Michelin star along with 17 other restaurants in Taipei so imagine my excitement after a year abroad! Sadly, I was too busy catching up and focusing on the food to take photos of the decor which was simple, chic and straightforward. Nothing too fancy or fussy.

So why is it called Longtail?

When I was asking for the WIFI password which was “blue magpie”, I misheard it as “blue may pie” at first and had asked the waitress in a joking manner, “Why blue may pie? Does the owner like to eat it?”
She smiled and responded professionally, “I have no idea but I will ask for you.” And off she went.
A few minutes later she explained that as the national bird of Taiwan is the blue magpie and due to the length of its tail, the restaurant was therefore named: LONGTAIL. I thought it was an adorable detail so I thought I might add it in here.

Walking into the restaurant, you are met with the bar which looks refined and upscale with its standard wall of whiskeys, gins, liqueurs and bartenders in uniform. Longtail has a lovely selection of wine from almost everywhere, not just France, which often tends to be the case in Taipei. I was pleased to see they had a lovely, affordable bottle of Nero d’Avola from Sicily as well.

The meal consisted of six starters due to my friend’s suggestion; he’d been here a couple times so I thought it wise to just follow his advice. Apparently their starters are far more superior to their mains…

kanpachi

We started with the kanpachi sashimi whose light, fresh flavours made it the perfect début and a beautiful introduction for the stronger flavours of the uni and crispy nori rice entrée which were pungent and present.

uni

Next was the fig toast with ricotta cheese. This was the dish that introduced me to ‘lemon balm’. How did it take me 24 years of life to discover this gorgeous grass?!

fig

Then came a delicate plate of charred foie gras dumplings with sweet corn sauce which was definitely an interesting pairing and a memorable dish! Who would’ve thought?! Foie gras, a Christmas favourite and a fairly expensive, luxury food item with everyday, ordinary sweet corn. Genius.

dumplings

After that innovative piece were the shrimp sliders. This is probably the most sophisticated burger I have ever eaten in my life. So much hard work and care had been put into every layer that it was almost a pity to finish it off!

sliders

Last but not least, the crunchy soft shell crab with its spectacular salted egg yolk sauce. What a twist the sauce was! It certainly brought the dish together and was definitely something I had never tried before. I particularly appreciated the greens that accompanied the crab bringing with it a lightness that counteracted the greasiness often associated with anything fried.

softshell crab

Conclusion: divine; both the service and the food.
I read someone else’s blog post about their experience at Longtail and they had complained about the service, but apparently that was when the restaurant had first opened so perhaps there was some tweaking to be done. I can testify that the service is currently top notch! What a wonderful re-introduction to the gastronomic scene of Taipei!

Click here to check out the Longtail menu
For reservations: +886 2 2732 6616
Address: No. 174, Sec. 2, Dunhua S. Road, Da’an District, Taipei

 

 

 

A Little Slice of Italy at La Felicita

Prepare to feast your eyes on the biggest restaurant in Europe~

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La Felicita, from the successful restaurant group Big Mamma, is a DIY, self-service, food market type restaurant in the 13th arrondissement. This huge space is creatively decorated with greenery, fairy lights and food stands. You can find seats everywhere, even in the library area on the second floor which gives you a gorgeous view of the entire space and is the perfect spot for a cosy cocktail.

While queuing up outside, the staff will hand out menus for you to browse as well as a map. You see, the thing is, every food stand offers something different. It might sound like a hassle but the food hunt if actually quite fun! Be weary of going during the weekend as the line was around 30-35 minutes long and would be rather tedious without friends to chat with.

Once the three of us had found a table, we sat down to ponder over the menu. It was decided that we would be having the BBQ ribs (12 euros), the truffle pasta (16 euros), a starter consisting of burrata and fennel saucisson (12 euros – 6 euros for each ingredient) as well as one bottle of white wine (which later became two bottles! – 19 euros for rosé and 21 for white). This added up to approximately 21 euros per person! Not bad especially for the quality of the food: fresh and delicious!

Also, the bar is probably one of the most impressive I’ve seen with hundreds of bottles of alcohol beautifully displayed on its shelves. The toilets are no exception – say hello to your childhood friends, ‘Ken and Barbie’ who will greet you at the door.

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Frankly, 5 out of 5 for this establishment! I will definitely be going back!

me

Bar à iode – Seafood Paradise!

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To say that it’s a hidden gem in the heart of Paris does not even begin to cover le bar à iode. It ranks high on my list because these are one of those rare moments when quality, price point and service come together in perfect balance. Honestly, it doesn’t get better than this! However, in all fairness, I have yet to try L’ilot which embodies the same concepts but was sadly closed for the summer vacation period when we had attempted to get our hands on one of their highly praised seafood platters. Alors! A la prochaine!

So what exactly makes bar à iode so exciting? Let’s just say that Paris is not exactly seafood haven as the city is completely landlocked which is why fresh, high quality seafood is so expensive. This is also why finding a place like bar à iode is such a game changer. Prepare yourself for large, copious platters, much like the ones you get in Bretagne, Normandie etc…but for the SAME PRICE IN PARIS.

On this particular night, we had the petit iode platter which usually comprises of 4 fine de claire oysters, a portion of whelks, periwinkles, a portion of grey shrimps (also known as crangon crangon – funny name, isn’t it?) and a portion of cocktail shrimps. Since neither of us are huge fans of periwinkles, we asked the waiter to leave those out and give us extra whelks instead. It was done at no extra cost nor fuss!
We ordered 6 extra Cancales oysters, a squid carpaccio, dessert to share and a bottle of Riesling for only 59 euros!

Not only was the food highly satisfactory, but the service was also top notch, especially considering the amount of customers they had to handle.
We went on a Saturday night and of course, they were fully booked, save the terrace which they reserve for walk-in customers only. Despite this fact, we were still very well taken care of and frankly, there isn’t much more to say than, “What are you still waiting for?” Go and enjoy the rest of your summer with some fine de claire oysters and a bottle of sweet Riesling on the Boulevard Saint-Germain!

Address: 34 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75005 Paris

Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 12-3pm and 7-11pm

Check out the bar à iode website for the menu and/or further information!

me

 

Hidden Retreat In The Heart Of Paris

entrance

Firstly, who would have ever thought that such a charming, exotic yet peaceful place could exist smack-bang in the middle of Paris?

And yet it does.

In the form of the Muslim Institute of the Great Mosque of Paris.

corridor

This is definitely not your typical Haussmann building but a dazzling work of Moorish style architecture built by 450 North African craftsmen and artists. The intricacy of the mosaic that covers almost every wall is insane as well as the vibrancy of the colours!

mosaic

The Great Mosque is made up of:

  1. The Court of Honour
  2. The Great Patio
  3. The Prayer Room
  4. The Minbar
  5. Le Minaret
  6. The Library
  7. The Hall of Honour

The star of the show is, of course, the Court of Honour (the gardens) with luxurious fountains, pools and the gorgeous turquoise tiled floors give the impression of walking on water.

Entrance fee is at 3 euros per person and the mosque is open every day from 9:00-12:00 and 14:00-18:00 except on Fridays and Muslim holidays. For futher information, feel free to consult their website!

grand mosque

The cafe just next door is a lovely way to finish off the afternoon with a glass of hot mint tea at just 2 euros each! Please note that no alcohol is served at this establishment which doesn’t take away from the fun whatsoever! The terrace is aesthetically pleasing and calm yet “hidden” in a sense, giving the place an air of intimacy.

What did kill the good vibes a little was perhaps the waiter who was grumpy and not at all helpful but maybe we just caught him on an off day!

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