Taiwan’s National Palace Museum is stocked with breathtaking treasures from China’s imperial. Its arguably greatest attraction is a small statuette, shaped like a bok choy cabbage. While it may seem pedestrian at a glance, a closer look reveals that the cabbage is actually carved from a single piece of green-and-white jade, lending a surprisingly realistic look. A delicately carved locust and katydid (a type of cricket) are perched elegantly on its leaves, to boot. Its artistry, unusual subject, and the fact that it likely belonged to a Qing-dynasty consort give the cabbage massively popular appeal, making it one of the most-viewed objects at the museum.
Walking the several floors of the sprawling museum would make anyone hungry, and the museum’s on-site fine-dining restaurant, the Silks Palace, 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. In place of crickets, Silk Palace’s rendition artfully substitutes shrimp.
Know Before You Go
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 email@example.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).