Din Tai Fung Taipei Taiwan is famous for its soup dumplings, and is recommended by almost everyone that has visited Taipei, as well as local residents. During my recent visit to Taipei, we ate at two different locations of Din Tai Fung, one at Taipei 101, and the original restaurant near Yongkang Street at No. 194, Sec. 2, Xinyi Rd.
I just returned from seven days in Taipei, Taiwan and Hong Kong, and am still trying to digest everything we saw and ate. It was an eating experience to be sure, but we also observed some unique things about the culture and people in both Taiwan and Hong Kong.
Din Tai Fung is a must for anyone visiting Taipei, so we went to the Taipei 101 location as soon as we arrived in Taipei. Din Tai Fung is known to draw crowds so we were expecting a long queue but there was no line (we got there around 8PM and they close at 9:30PM), although there was a short 10 minute wait. We were immediately handed a menu list to check off what we wanted to order, but it was in Chinese. We were pleasantly surprised to find they had an English menu too. Din Tai Fung’s service is extremely efficient. We were expected to have everything checked off before we were seated, and were warned when the last call for dumplings was before the restaurant was to close.
The next day, we were treated to a huge feast by our cousin at the original Din Tai Fung restaurant. There was a slight queue (we got there around 2PM on Friday) so our wait was less than 30 minutes. According to our cousin, Din Tai Fung is best known for their dumplings (left top part of the menu), as well as their fried rice and hot and sour soup. The advantage of going to Din Tai Fung with a local is that they know what to order in addition to the famous soup dumplings.
Now, to share our feast! There were six of us (including two of my boys who are big eaters) so we were able to sample a lot of different dumplings and dishes. Note: we did eat this over the course of two meals ;).
Pork Xiaolongbao (what Din Tai Fung is famous for – skins are thinner than soup dumplings I’ve had in the U.S. – not a lot of soup, but delicious)
Crab Roe and Pork Xiaolongbao (not much crab flavor – I preferred the regular pork xiaolongbao)
Green Squash and Shrimp Xiaolongbao (subtle, refreshing green squash)
Truffle and Pork Xiaolongbao (one of our favorites)
Steamed Vegetable and Ground Pork Dumplings (not sure what the vegetables were, but they were very flavorful)
Steamed Fish Dumplings (delicate but delicious)
Steamed Vegetarian Mushroom Dumplings (one of my sister’s favorites)
Shrimp and Pork Pot Stickers (look at the crust!)
Sweet Taro Xiaolongbao (at first, eating a sweet xiaolongbao sounded strange, but it was much better than I expected!)
House Special Spicy Vegetable and Pork Wontons (the sauce was excellent)
Spicy Pickled Cucumber (very flavorful – delicious!)
Din Tai Fung Special (one of their original dishes – I liked the other vegetable dishes better)
A combination of seaweed, pressed tofu, bean sprouts and vermicelli
Cold Dressed Wood Ear Mushrooms with Goji Berries (sweet and sour, refreshing)
Chinese food is all about textures – wood ear mushrooms are slightly crunchy
Hot and Sour Soup (thin shreds of tofu and wood ear mushrooms, and not thick and gloppy like what you find most of the time in the U.S.)
Stir Fried Amaranth Greens with Yuba (yuba is tofu skin – very delicate texture and delicious with the green vegetables)
Also available without yuba
Noodles with Minced Pork Sauce (definitely worth a try)
Meat sauce includes pressed tofu and Chinese sausage
Shrimp and Shredded Pork Fried Rice (delicious, although not sure why they are known for this dish – I’ve had similar or better fried rice elsewhere)
Shaoshing Wine Marinated Chicken (good, although it’s an acquired taste – the wine flavor is quite strong)
Served cold as an appetizer
Stewed Bamboo Shoots (subtle taste, tender, but firm texture)
It’s hard to describe the flavor of bamboo shoots, so if you’ve never had fresh bamboo shoots, this is worth a try
One thing we discovered is that authentic Taiwanese cuisine is much more subtle in flavor than Americanized Chinese food. Although I like and am accustomed to stronger flavors, I learned to appreciate the nuances of the dishes we sampled.
Have you been to Din Tai Fung? There are many other locations in different countries as well as in California. I’d love to hear what you’ve tried.
Note: All these photos were taken with my iPhone 7 quickly before each dish was devoured (not an easy task!)