Sunday, September 7, 2008


When we were in Taipei recently, some friends of ours brought us to an award winning restaurant famous for its steamed dumplings (xiao long bao). Below is a familiar sight at Din Tai Fung's original eatery in Xinyi Road, Taipei. Here during peak hours, the crowd literally arrive by the bus loads, and waiting more than an hour for a table is not unusual. We had to seek solace in a bookshop next door to flee the frigid outdoor that winter night, while waiting for our table to be ready.

Din Tai Fung was founded by Bingyi Yang, a cooking oil producer turn restaurateur. Their signature dish was so successful, that it became inevitable that there would be a demand for their dumplings outside of Taiwan. Today, Din Tai Fung has branches in 9 countries worldwide, its latest outlet having recently opened in Gardens Mid Valley, Malaysia.

The dumplings here appear like a work of art, elegant with its many folds and cleverly filled with tiny portions of broth. A word of warning, do not pop these dainty morsels directly into one's mouth when freshly served, to avoid the hot broth from scalding one's tongue. The technique to consuming the dumplings is to first puncture the skin with a chopstick to allow the broth to flow out onto the spoon. Next, savour the broth before popping the dumpling into one's mouth.

The dumplings come in many varieties ranging from pork to crab meat to vegetarian too, not forgetting the Vegans. Its skin is not overly thick and rubbery, and the broth is thick and hot. Other dishes worth mentioning include their steamed chicken soup noodles, noodles mixed in broad bean sauce and their signature fried rice.

I look forward to patronizing their latest outlet in Gardens Mid Valley. You can expect a review from me in the not to distant future.

Din Tai Fung Restaurant

Address: No.194, Xinyi Road Sec. 2, Da-an District, Taipei City, 10651 Taiwan.
Contact number: 886-2-23218928
Reservation: 1st come 1st serve
Opening hours: 10.00-21.00 (Mon-Fri), 09.00-21.00 (Weekends & Public Holidays)
Cuisine: Taiwanese (Non Halal)
Must order: Dumplings, Chicken soup noodles
Must not order: N/A
Budget for 4 pax: N/A

My verdict: 4 stars

Not forgetting the dessert freaks, a short stroll away from Din Tai Fung, is this equally well known outlet called Ice Monster.

They serve a heavenly dessert made from a combo of shaved ice and fresh fruits, sprayed with condensed milk and topped with a single scoop of sorbet. My personal favourite is the pure mango variety. Not really a smart move to consume this alfresco on a winter night, but oh what the heck!

Again, they have an outlet close to home, located in SS15 Subang Jaya.

What a treat, a double dose of Taiwan delights right in our own backyard! Enjoy!

Ice Monster

Address: No.15, Yong Kang Street, Taipei City, 10651 Taiwan.
Contact number: 886-2-23948279
Reservation: 1st come 1st serve
Opening hours: N/A
Cuisine: Desserts
Must order: Mango shaved ice
Must not order: N/A
Budget for 4 pax: N/A

My verdict: 3 stars


renroc said...

Had eaten this mango dessert before
finding it in your 'fridge' - this place was featured in the '5 meals a day (on RM50)' programme on Astro WLT.
Devoured the mangoes too quickly and ended up with a lot of rather bland ice (not enough mango topping or too much ice ?)

BlogCe5nT said...

So, that's one "how not to eat it" tip! Thanks, buddy!

2 Romans 1 Impostor said...

Yes, I completely agree, renroc. I have been to the outlet in SS15 and left the place very very disappointed. Very stingy on the fruits.

If anyone out there can post me a photo of what they serve in SS15, I will help blog it as a place NOT to visit!

Claire said...

I've taken something similar in Hong Kong, at this famous shop called 'Hui Lao Shan'. Apparently, they have a chain of stores all over Hong Kong. Their specialty: Mango desserts. Fresh mangoes on mango pudding or mango jellies soaked in mango juice and mango ice cream on top.

Will give this a try when I venture to Taipei...soon. :)