Din Tai Fung [鼎泰豐] (Taiwan|台灣)

I see many gluttonous days ahead of me if my past few days are reflective of what is to come.  I spent another day in Taipei with a friend, and we once again ate like there was no tomorrow, starting with Taiwanese cuisine, moving on to afternoon tea, then Din Tai Feng to finish our day of fooding.

With numerous locations in Taipei [台北] and just one in Taichung [台中], Din Tai Feng is the place to take any visitor - whether it's one from a business trip or a close friend.  Though not extremely cozy or grand in appearance, this place is a simple, classy, and clean restaurant that offers arguably the best pork dumplings aka xiao long bao [小龍包] in all of Taiwan.  There are often long lines during lunch and dinner hours, and a wait of 20 minutes isn't unusual, but their service is very efficient and doesn't leave you dissatisfied despite the wait.

Known for it's pork dumplings (and being frequented by Japanese businessmen), Din Tai Feng offers a variety of Taiwanese (/Chinese) cuisine, including beef noodle soup (牛肉麵), dumplings of all sorts, including dessert buns and dumplings with taro and red bean filling, as well as the typical noodles and vegetables that can be found at street vendors.  All the buns are handmade with skill and dexterity - and I only mention this - because each restaurant will have a viewing window where you can watch the chefs crafting the dumplings.

The only way to describe their dumplings is dainty (and of course delicious), as they are perfectly shaped, and the flavors are tweaked to perfection.  Some places' pork dumplings will leave you with a terrible aftertaste of lard, but these won't, even after you've had your fill of everything they have to offer!  Also, make sure you use their ginger shreds with vinegar and soy sauce.  Their beef noodle soup is also extremely delicious - the beef cooked to the perfect texture and flavor - and the soup base neither flat nor too salty.  The spicy shrimp wontons [紅油炒手] are also one of my favorites, although they can be a bit oily.  Everything else is also really tasty, but the pork dumplings, beef noodle soup, and dessert dumplings are my top picks!  Their veggies are also good, but quite expensive for what they're worth compared to everything else.
Pork Dumplings | Xiao Long Bao [小龍包]
Pork Dumplings | Xiao Long Bao [小龍包]
Pork Fried Rice
Spicy Shrimp Wontons in Sauce [紅油炒手] - also one of the faves!
Vegetable Dumpling
Kong Xin Cai [空心菜]
Red Bean Mini Bun
Red Bean Dumpling [豆沙小龍包]
Something I feel like I should mention is that you can get half orders of the dumplings (5 instead of the 10) if you're interested in trying a larger variety.  Also, don't be surprised if there is a lady standing in the restroom area at all times - she's there to clean the bidets after every use!  It took me a while to get used to...

Needless to say, Din Tai Feng is a place you won't want to miss out on!  The chains in Los Angeles and Sydney aren't half as good (or cheap), and in my opinion, even the Taichung chain is inferior to the Taipei one.  This place is all over Taipei, so make sure you visit this one Michellin Star restaurant during your stay!

Price: 400NT$pp | $$ for TW
Rating: 5/5

Din Tai Feng [鼎泰豐-台灣]

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