Cuisine Wine Cigar Fusion & Shows
Written and translated by Diva
Photos by Andy Lin
145, AnHe Rd, Sec 1
Hours: 6 pm-3 am
(till 4 am on Fri & Sat)
Credit cards accepted. 10% service charge.
When they open the door, customers visiting China Pa are greeted with a blast of jazz music, fine bottles of wine and the sweet smell of quality cigars. Ever since this restaurant/nightclub opened a few years ago, it has become a symbol of gourmet cuisine, good drinks and great music.
Most nightclubs in Taiwan are closed on Mondays, because of slow business. However, you can come to China Pa on any given Monday and find business people entertaining their clients, fancy girls' nights out, and couples sharing a romantic dinner.
Even if they come a bit earlier, most people stick around until at least 9:30 p.m., when the band starts up. The lead singer kicks off the first set and gets everyone pumped up for the two hours of swingin' tunes. Many audience members request all kinds of old songs, and the jazz band never lets them down.
On weekends the band starts at 9:30 and plays three sets, which go until 12:30. Wednesdays have recently become the most popular days here, however, with the introduction on nostalgic Shanghai Jazz nights, which includes 1930s big band and swing.
As far as the food goes, let's just say that you can enjoy delicacies from every corner in China here. For those who like lighter gourmet cuisine, try the White Yam Tomato Roll with Japanese Sauce (NT$260). For this dish, tomatoes are wrapped in white, crispy yams-it's hard to stop once you start. Meat lovers will enjoy Grilled Ribs with Taiwanese Pesto (NT$560), which comes with your choice of sea salt or Taiwanese pesto. The de-boned and pre-sliced ribs are easy to share with friends.
I used to loathe a dish called Pineapple with Prawns, but after trying a revamped version at China Pa, I can't get enough of it. Prawns in Wasabi Mayonnaise (NT$460) has taught me that not all prawns have to be dripping in grease.
It's no secret that jazz and booze go hand-in-hand. China Pa used Chinese history to create specialty cocktails like Tale of the Forbidden City (NT$380), which is made with whiskey, Kahlua, cocao, and orange juice; it's served in an antique, red porcelain cup and placed in a miniature wooden lounge chair.
Another drink, Farewell My Concubine (NT$620), packs quite a punch as well. Vodka, Bacardi 151, Kahlua, Midori, and passion fruit liqueur are layered like a rainbow in one large shot glass. Seasonal fruits are also served with this drink.
The week of September 10th will bring a big anniversary party at China Pa. This year's theme is Taiwanese aboriginal culture and the program includes the Bunun tribe's famous Pasibutbut ritual, which is a prayer for good harvest, and an aboriginal shaman's blessing. The party food will feature aboriginal delicacies as well as no shortage of rice wine.