8 course dinner at Cross Straits Restaurant in Taipei

Cross Straits Club

This was what we had for our final dinner before we all left Taiwan. Cross Straits Club (known locally as CS Club) is a rather swanky place in the middle of Taipei.

Braised Shark Fin with Abalone

Braised Shark Fin with Abalone

I thought it was really good – everything was hidden underneath that piece of cabbage. Please, spare me your PETA rhetoric, I’m really not interested in being evangelized to when I’m not going to convert. smirk Shark fin tasted good in this dish. Full stop.

King Prawn in Superior Soup

King Prawn Pasta

This dish is quite misleadingly named. I’m sure the Chinese is more descriptive. It’s actually the best one of the night – a huge big head prawn in beurre blanc (very buttery!) paired with hand made pasta. Blew my mind.

Stewed Osso Buco with Burgundy Wine

Stewed Osso Buco with Burgundy Wine

Yup, what are we doing eating a Milanese dish in Taiwan? I don’t know but it was delicious! I loved how fork tender and juicy the osso buco was. There’s a lot of melt-in-your-mouth cartilage too.

Vegetables with Dried Scallop

Vegetables with Dried Scallop

This is some kind of crunchy root vegetable but deceptively some of the white bits are actually mushrooms. Nice surprise.

Steamed Fresh Fish with Tofu

Steamed Fresh Fish with Tofu

I love fish so this is a winning combination! I like the whole piece of tofu under the fish too, since we didn’t have rice, the tofu does a nice job in absorbing the flavors.

Xiao Long Bao

Xiao Long Bao

There are two pork xiao long bao and the odd one with prawn roe on the top is filled with truffles! I love the truffled xiao long bao, the earthy stock that came out when you piece the skin into your soup spoon was good.

Seasonal Fruit Platter

Beautiful Fruit Platter

A very nicely arranged selection of fruits. I like how CS Club portions their dishes individually, it’s thoughtful for them to think as a diner and make the appropriate cuts and slices to make your dining experience better too.

Sweetened Hashima with Crystal Sugar

Hashima with Crystal Sugar

This is also known as hasma, the dried fatty tissue near the fallopian tubes of frogs. It’s not frog sperm, contrary to popular belief, it’s the complete opposite. Tastes wonderful in a dessert.

Cross Straits Restaurant

Cross Straits Club also has a London style red telephone booth which they sealed up and filled with water and fish. I thought that made for a unique entrance feature. :)

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15 thoughts on “8 course dinner at Cross Straits Restaurant in Taipei

    • I was quite full by that time…

      The truffle one tasted good but I suspect it’s Chinese truffle + truffle oil. They do good xiao long bao in Taiwan though, Din Tai Fung is there too!

    • Yup, they had really good sides too!

      I like the orange sunflower seeds that came with the osso buco – nice presentation of starch, different too.

    • It’s actually a prawn but a lot of people call it lobster coz it looks like a langoustine.

      A langoustine is a true lobster, just like slipper lobsters but this is a huge prawn although sometimes the prawns can be larger than langoustines – their claws can be longer and bigger too.

    • Haha! Yeah, that’s quite a unique feature.

      I was mesmerized by it too, surprised that it was actually an aquarium, which raised a lot of issues – cleaning and maintaining the phone booth/fish tank can’t be easy…

    • Interesting! :)

      I didn’t know what it was – you could be right, the Chinese menu is more detailed, compared to the English words (which at times made no sense).

  1. For all your writing skills, your comments on shark fin are really sad. Continue with that attitude and there will be no sharks left… let alone shark fin. Your entrenched “I like it and I’m not going to change” is remarkably shallow.

    • Hi Bruce! :)

      I would say it’s more “I don’t have any strong feelings towards shark fin, but I sure as hell am not letting cultural imperialism stop/change the consumption of it”. I have explained my position on the subject matter a lot of times, so I don’t feel like I have to to my regular readers anymore.

      It’s not a shallow mindset, but a more enlightened one from having lived in various different countries and having a greater awareness of different cultures. I think a lot of PETA/Sea Shepherd types are mostly like the ones I met while living in Christchurch, New Zealand (a popular launching point for operations against whale hunting in Antarctica).

      The problem I have is this – it’s incredibly racist and discounts the fact that other countries like Norway also practise whaling. “But the difference is the dirty Japs eat it” is a common response. Yes, they do, but they only eat it after research has been done – these are legal whaling byproducts in Research Vessels at sea, consumed to avoid wastage.

      This kind of racial profiling and targeting Asian cultures while ignoring Caucasian ones (when was the last time Sea Shepherd went to Norway to harass their fellow Anglo-Saxon mates?) is the root of the problem and I feel that a lot of the new “dietary law” is meant to comply with Caucasian attitudes rather than keep our own Asian forebears.

      There are plenty of people who would agree with you, as you probably know, Chinese or Asians who’s quick to distance themselves from this “barbaric” practise, sucking up to Caucasian ideals as an attempt to make themselves seem more “enlightened” but I am not one of them.

      I really think that it’s time for Caucasians to stop judgement on their fellow man, if there’s no racist undertones, I would urge the PETA/Sea Shepherd types to see the suffering of their fellow man, the plight of the famine in Africa etc to the injustices done daily in the name of race and cultures before they get so bothered about an animal.

      Look after your fellow man first, then be a patron to animals. A man’s life is not worth less than a dolphin or whale, as Sea Shepherd types would make one think.

      Of course, I’m not suggesting you’re like them, I’m just making a general rant since you seem unfamiliar with my stance on the issue.

      However, I do understand that different people have different values and I respect yours (even while you didn’t mine) and I don’t aim to convert you or think that you’re lesser just coz you hold on to a particular cultural or personal belief.

      On an end note, I really enjoyed reading about your travels in a boat around the world. I met a French couple who did the same (they’re distributing medicine to less fortunate communities) and I thought they had really great stories but unfortunately they didn’t have a website where they could share it.

      Great work on sharing your journeys and safe travels.

  2. Hi Poh,
    Thank you for your kind words about the writings of our voyage.

    I’m finally sitting down with your email and giving it some thoughtful time. As I said in my previous reply, I do appreciate your measured response.

    Please let me address the argument that being anti-shark fin is racist. You use Norwegian whaling vs. Japanese whaling as an example. But we were not talking about whales. I think you have painted all ocean-related environmental sentiments with the same broad brush stroke. I do not believe Norwegian shark fin soup exists. The fact that this dish is Asian has nothing to do with it. Sustainable food sources are important to all cultures – shark fin soup happens to be Asian.

    Beluga Caviar wasn’t banned in the US because the Caspian Sea is bordered by Iran, Russian, or Azerbaijan. Nor was it a racist tactic against rich people. It’s banned because the fish is critically endangered.

    Redfish fishing wasn’t banned in the southern US because of governmental bigotry against Cajun culture; it was prohibited in order to keep the fish from going extinct.
    Sea turtles and queen conch are banned because of over-fishing and not because of a desire to put down the cultures that have consumed them in the past.

    My reason for wanting an end to shark finning has nothing to do with me being Caucasian and the primary market for shark fin being in Asia. It has to do with my intense love for the beauty of these remarkable creatures, their inherent right to live in this world (which is theirs as well as ours), my natural abhorrence of cruelty in any food industry (and finning is particularly cruel), and my desire to see shark species survive rather than become extinct.

    And extinct they will become. At the current rate of shark fishing – conservatively estimated at 100 million each year – they may be extinct within a few decades.
    The loss of sharks would not just mean the disappearance of the species but, as an apex predator, their extinction would impact the ecosystems of the oceans just as the loss of wolves or lions adversely affect the health of the species they prey upon.

    As for focusing on the suffering of our fellow man, I have to say that argument is somewhat thin. That reasoning can be used for anything at all… it would be ridiculous for me to tell you to stop eating shark fin soup because people are starving in Africa. Whether man’s suffering is more important than a fish’s is a philosophical or religious question removed from the facts about shark survival. There is much work to be done to take care of humans and the planet. We need people on all fronts. What rings our bell is different for each person. It’s far better for someone who is passionate about saving forests to spend their time happily pursuing that goal than to trudge along doing some other ‘good’ that doesn’t bring them fulfillment.

    (An additional point is that, if we have people starving, it makes no sense to spend resources capturing a huge fish for just a small piece of it and wasting the rest – most finning operations cut off the fin and throw the shark back in the sea to die a slow and, most probably, painful death)

    Lastly, you said “I would say it’s more ‘I don’t have any strong feelings towards shark fin, but I sure as hell am not letting cultural imperialism stop/change the consumption of it’.”

    My response is, if you don’t have strong feelings about shark fin, then simply stop ordering it. There is no need to aid in the destruction of a species because you want to prove a cultural point.

    To be underwater with sharks, to see their grace and beauty and sense the magnificence of their very existence, is life-changing. The tragedy of their disappearance would not be that we would be denied the observation of this beauty, but that their beauty would no longer exist in the universe. A universe that is theirs as much as ours.

    As a writer, you are in a position to influence people. I hope there might be a day when you might consider another view of this matter.

    Again, thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts.
    Cheers,
    Bruce

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