Shallow Aquatic Addiction and a Sea of Fruits and Vegetables

A fishy wall :o
There’s something fishy about this wall :o. No, really, seriously, there is ;).

You may have notice the almost absolute absence of sushi, sashimi and any other raw seafood dishes on my blog. I blame my DNA for it, I just don’t gravitate around seafood, and if I do, I prefer it cooked.  Nevertheless, I still love strolling through fish markets to observe those little, and sometimes huge, treasures from the sea.

Earlier this year, I welcomed a canuck friend, who happens to love seafood, and so, while putting together an itinerary to show her the best of Taipei, Addiction Aquatic Development (AAD) came to mind. Still a foreign territory to me, I had put all my trust on a few positive blog reviews to ensure a visit that’d be worth our time.

The day before our excursion to AAD, I inquired Google Maps for public transportation alternatives, and was presented with just one bus route, although once at the bus stop the following morning, came the unpleasant surprise that it was actually a ghost bus. With a tight sightseeing schedule, time was of the essence, so we jumped into a taxi and made our way to there.

View of the aquamarine area.
The aquamarine area, with water tanks filled with fresh living shellfish as the main center of attention.

Arriving around 10am, we were one of the few souls visiting. Walking through the aquamarine area, we marveled at ginormous crabs, snapped pictures of oddities from the sea,  compared the different sizes and colors of uni, and gasped at the price tags :o. So is the price to enjoy fresh seafood flown from afar I guess.

Are you excited for oysters? Probably more than me eh ;)
Are you excited for oysters? Probably more than me, eh 😉

Overall, most of the seafood on the premise is composed of shellfish, there’s also a stand with fresh fish but the catch for that day looked rather underwhelming and paled in comparison to the array of choices found at traditional fish markets. Lest to say, I left the aquamarine area a tad disappointed, not wowed, with my curiosity still hungry (or angry?) for something more rowdy and stimulating. Obviously, I should have been warned, had I read about AAD’s aim to evolve above the mess found in traditional markets.

The fate of this giant crab is approaching...
The fate of this giant crab is approaching…
I can’t even imagine dealing with this in my kitchen, LOL. A cooking technique to deal with living seafood such as Mr. Giant Crab or Miss Lobster is to apply general anesthesia by freezing it, and then plunge it in a boiling pot of water. But then again, I don’t even think the size of my freezer could accommodate Mr. Giant Crab.
Scallops, fresh or already shucked.
Pecten Maximus. I don’t recall the origin of the still-living scallops, but the shucked ones come from Hokkaido.
Oysters, still in their shell or already shucked, mostly likely not of the same variety.
Oysters, still in their shell or already shucked, mostly likely not of the same variety.
Gillardeau oysters going for 114NT a pop, is it worth it?
Triploid or not? That is another question.
Fresh fishes seen, kind of boring in comparison to a traditional fish market.
Glimpse from the modest catch of the day.
Some of the fun critters in the water tanks.
Some of the fun critters in the water tanks.
Say cheese! Quite surprised to see wheels of cheeses, in particular some made with raw milk, yay to that!
Say cheese! Quite surprised to see wheels of cheeses, in particular some made with raw milk, yay to that!

Aside from the fresh seafood, the gourmet shopping area is also worth checking out for its imported products, especially the cheeses, muhaha. For more information about the sushi bar, deli area and surrounding dining options, I’ll leave you in the hands of some fellow bloggers who actually enjoy seafood and write about it much more enthusiastically than I ever could, even if I faked it, haha.

But who knows, maybe I’ll learn to love seafood after a few more years in Taiwan. Because really, what a pity to be living right next to the sea, and not take advantage of it.

As much as the AAD’s website claims to offer reasonable prices, this definitely ain’t gonna be an everyday place to go shopping for seafood or to dine out. All in all, Addiction Aquatic Development is an upscale gourmet seafood stop, certainly a piece of heaven for seafood lovers, but not so much for those who prefer delicacies from the land. So for the latter crowd, if visiting in the morning,  you can starve off your curiosity by walking across and delving into the Taipei Agricultural Products Marketing Corporation.

What is going on inside this ugly building?
What is hiding inside this massive and old building?

Just before dropping us at Addiction, the taxi passed by that old building, it caught my attention, and seeing people hauling cages and boxes of fruit and vegetables just outside of it, I gathered that whatever went on inside the building deserved some of my attention.

This is not your usual neighborhood market, but a place geared for wholesale distribution of fruits and vegetables. This kind of place actually exists in all major Taiwanese cities, and are open to the general public as well.

Aahhh, now we're talking!
Aahhh, now we’re talking! Stalls after stall of fruits and vegetables.

Walking in the huge warehouse split in two sections, separating the fruits from the vegetables, imported or locally-grown, it felt  like stepping in the vegetarian/vegan version of Ali Baba’s cave.

I see zucchinis!
I see zucchinis!
Herbs and chilis!
Herbs and fresh chilis!
Wow, purple Chinese yam 山藥.
First time seeing some purple Chinese yam 山藥.
Squashes.
A mountain of squashes, taro and sweet potatoes.
You'll need one of those for your homemade winter melon tea experiment.
You’ll need one of those for your homemade winter melon tea experiment, or to practice fruit carving XD.
Cherries do not grow in Taiwan, they are all imported.
FYI, cherries do not grow in Taiwan, they are all imported.

The fruit section had actually quite a lot on display, some sold in bulk, other nicely packaged for gifting, right on time for the then upcoming Chinese New Year celebration.

Just like Addiction, this isn’t a place you’ll go out of your way for shopping, the majority of the produce there can be found at most supermarkets and traditional markets, but still, who knows what you may luck upon in this cornucopia of fruits and vegetables.

With our curiosity fulfilled, and some time left before our next touristy destination, I attempted to locate the closest U-Bike station, and miserably failed at that, or was it also a ghost one? And then opted to walk our way to the Zhongshan Junior High School MRT station, where we stumbled upon the beautiful Hsing Tian Kong 行天宮 temple. Pre Chinese New Year rituals were talking place, with lines of people,  some even bringing clothes or other objects, waiting to receive blessings. It was my first time witnessing such a scene, and I was glad for the unexpected opportunity to show my friend this traditional religious facet of Taiwan, which I myself never get bored of.

I had originally allocated the whole morning to visit AAD, and in retrospect, I have no idea why I thought that much time was needed. In any case, even though AAD left us underwhelmed, the Serendipity goddess hovered over us that morning and nudged us toward some unexpected points of interests. Indeed, surprises can lurk at unsuspected corners in Taiwan, and sometimes you don’t always need to try too hard to stumble upon them, just a pinch of luck will do :).

Hsing Tian Kong temple 行天宮.
A lively place, especially around Chinese New Year.

 

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2 thoughts on “Shallow Aquatic Addiction and a Sea of Fruits and Vegetables

  1. I am really no sea food fan. I can take some standard fish dishes but anything beyond just doesnt work with me. Whenever my CHinese family wants to treat me something special we end up in a sea food restaurant and I end up half sick at the table :p

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    1. 😄 I totally commiserate with you on that last point, I’m the only one in my family who doesn’t adore seafood.

      Like

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