Jadeite Cabbage With Insects - Gastro Obscura
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Jadeite Cabbage With Insects

An edible version of one of Taiwan's greatest treasures.

Fabulous treasures from China’s imperial past make Taiwan’s National Palace Museum a must-see. One of the biggest attractions is a small statuette, shaped like a bok choy cabbage. While it might seem like an unusual subject, looking closely will reveal the reason for the cabbage’s immense fame: The cabbage was carved out of a single piece of green-and-white jade, which gives it a surprisingly realistic look. On its leaves, a delicately carved locust and katydid (a type of cricket) perch. Its artistry, unusual subject, and the fact it likely belonged to a Qing-dynasty consort give the cabbage massive popular appeal, making it one of the most-viewed objects at the museum.

Walking the floors of the massive museum would make anyone hungry. A fine-dining restaurant, the Silks Palace, is onsite, and offers a most unusual banquet: The National Palace Museum Imperial Treasures Feast is modeled after the famous objects on display. It includes a pork version of the museum’s famed meat-shaped jasper stone, and fruit arranged in an ice container carved to look like one of China’s ancient bronze cauldrons, the Mao-Kung Ting. But the showstopper is undoubtedly the “Jadeite Cabbage with Insects.” Made from a tiny, tender bok choy and braised with meat broth, the cabbage is arranged upright in a large spoon to resemble its jade counterpart. Reasonably, the insects on the edible version are represented by two shrimp instead.

Need to Know

To ensure you can order the National Palace Museum Imperial Treasures Feast, be sure to make a reservation. You can find contact information on the restaurant website or email the staff at silkspalacecs@regenttaiwan.com. The restaurant is right next to the museum, which is open every day from 8:30 to 6:30, and the full menu of museum treasures costs 3800NT$ (about $125 USD).

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