“Wandering re-establishes the original harmony which once existed between man and the universe.”
Din Tai Fung has recently become a world-wide phenomenon, but actually originated in Taipei, Taiwan! If you're visiting Taiwan, Hong Kong, or mainland China, you have to give it a try. It is a dim sum restaurant, which is a Chinese-style cuisine that focuses on many plates that are meant to be shared. Consider it the Chinese version of Spanish tapas!
Taxi services in Taipei were a lot cheaper than I expected them to be. For a 15-minute drive from our hostel to our destination, it only cost about $5 USD.
We chose to dine at the Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Hsinyi Place, which was the closest location to our hostel. (Click here to read about the best hostel in Taipei!) While we were waiting to be seated, I came across TWG Tea. They had an assortment of macarons, which your girl had to snag! I got the box that came with one of each flavor.
They included: black tea and black currant, napoleon tea and caramel, earl grey fortune and chocolate, grand wedding tea and passionfruit, vanilla bourbon tea and black currant, Camelot tea and praline, vanilla bourbon tea and kaya, lemon bush tea, number 12 tea and tiramisu, and matcha (green tea).
My favorite was the lemon bush tea. Which one seems the most appealing to you? Let me know in the comments section!
Once we were seated at Din Tai Fung, we were greeted with a warm cup of black tea. I love that at most restaurants, they give us unlimited refills of tea. It definitely saves you a buck on adding extra refreshments! The menu is vast so it can be easy to get carried away with ordering (our waitress advised us to cut down a couple dishes...so we did).
The franchise's specialty is xiaolongbao (shah-oh-long-bow), which is a steamed dumpling stuffed with meat and broth! They offer an instructional guide with how to properly eat them because you can burn your mouth if you don't let the broth out of the dumpling.
It's recommended that you try it first without the soy sauce and vinegar dipping, but once you've tried it alone go ahead and dip the xiaolongbao into the dipping sauce. Once you've dipped, place the xiaolongbao onto your spoon. Poke a small hole into it and you'll see a small amount of broth slowly pour out. Let it cool down for a second and then eat the whole thing in one shot. It's the best little morsel of food there is!
For some side dishes, we ordered the House Special, which is a tossed dish of bean sprouts, kelp, vinegar, and glass noodles.
Next was the Cold Dressed Wood Ear Mushrooms. They were acidic, chewy, and the perfect palette cleanser for some of the heavier dishes.
The Shaohsing Wine Marinated Chicken was tender, juicy, and had a subtle wine taste as soon as you bit into a piece.
We also ordered Egg Flower Soup with Tomato and Tofu. This is a soup that is mild in flavor, so it's a great break from all the heavily-flavored dishes we were also trying.
Another great dumpling were the Steamed Shrimp and Pork Shao Mai. The combination of surf and turf was absolute perfection!!!
We also had to order the Shredded Pork Fried Rice.
One of my FAVORITE DISHES ever is the Stir-Fried Water Spinach. There is so much garlic that you probably could fend off any vampire within a 100-mile radius, but since everyone else will have garlic-breath, no one will mind.
I'm almost done, trust me.
Lastly, we ordered the Pork Buns, which is a classic. The bread was so fluffy and slightly sweet, the perfect accompaniment to the melt-in-your-mouth pork!
Here's an overview shot of our table! We barely had any room left to fit any more dishes and we still had the pork puns, water spinach, and fried rice left...
You can bet we were completely stuffed after this meal. We even had to take some to-go, but that's okay. Life is all about enjoying yourself, right? Or maybe that's just what I'm telling myself to justify not finishing.
To end the night, I had to try some more bubble tea, or boba. We stopped by Tea Stop, which is right next to the mall that Din Tai Fung was located in. I ordered the pearl milk tea with boba, which was so cool and creamy! The boba were smaller than I am used to, which was great because it made them easier to eat.
I highly recommend Din Tai Fung to any of you who want to experience a modern take on dim sum cuisine. You get to try a bunch of different things at once and share with your family and friends. It's the perfect social meal, one that you can enjoy for long periods of time if you keep the food coming!
And that ends my time in Taiwan! This was most definitely the most underrated country that I have visited so far. The city is incredibly well thought out, so many services are easily accessible, there's great food everywhere, and the people are so kind. I'll never forget Taiwan and I already can't wait to plan my next trip there.
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