Soup dumplings (also known as xiao long bao) happen to be one of my favourite things to order when I see one in the menu. It’s an experience altogether – lifting the dumpling from its basket ever so carefully, praying it wouldn’t tear and spill all the precious broth. A good soup dumpling has a delicate skin that does not break until it reaches one’s mouth, where the broth is released with the first bite, complementing the savoury meat filling within.
I visited the first Din Tai Fung outlet in Taipei, where I enjoyed baskets of these tasty morsels. Waiting time for a table can range from 10 minutes to a good one hour, depending on the crowd and your luck. Once seated, you’re rewarded with a boisterous ambiance and floor staff moving around in lighting speed with food orders.
The soup dumplings I had at Din Tai Fung were delicious, true to its reputation. Small, pale and unassuming, these dumplings release pops of delicious hot soup accented with some julienned ginger and black vinegar. One basket it not meant for sharing, I always say.
Din Tai Fung is also known for the cold steamed chicken which I didn’t particularly enjoy. What I liked better was the pan-fried dumplings that were crisp in the outside and filled with minced pork and scallions at the centre.
The pork chop fried rice wasn’t fantastic; at least it didn’t taste as good as the one I had in Singapore. I found the meat oily and the rice, blander than desired. Better was the Taiwanese beef noodles, a dish of handmade noodles with tender beef brisket, beef chunks and flavourful broth.
Overall, I found the food decent with some hits and misses. Service can be quite hurried when it’s peak hours so do take note. :)
Food: 6/10 (non halal)
Verdict: Pretty good soup dumplings but I didn’t find the rest of the items particularly memorable.
Din Tai Fung (original branch)
No. 194, Xinyi Road Sec. 2,
Taipei City 10651, Taiwan