Din Tai Fung
B1F., No.45, Shifu Rd., Xinyi Dist.
Taipei, Taiwan 110
Warning: The best Xiao Long Bao was spotted here!
Why did we dine here? – Din Tai Fung is a popular Xiao Long Bao (small bamboo steamer bun in Chinese) – Shanghai Steamed dumpling restaurant with locations in Bellevue, Los Angeles, Taipei, Hong Kong, Japan, China, Singapore, and several other countries.
Learn how to buy a Taiwan prepaid SIM card for your iPhone or Android smartphone.
We never thought of ourselves as xiaolongbao fanatics, but after visiting any San Francisco area restaurant rumored to have good steamed dumplings.. Din Tai Fung Hong Kong, Shanghai, Arcadia, Bellevue, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur.. Numerous top rated restaurants in Shanghai.. I guess we are guilty.
We continue our quest for the best in Taiwan. Several foodies have expressed their opinion that Din Tai Fung Taipei is #1. Time to see for ourselves.
Our journey started in the Taipei 101 skyscraper, the tallest building in the world for several years. Downstairs in the food court is a large flagship local of the dumpling chain king.
Din Tai Fung Taipei 101 reminded us how xiaolongbao or Shanghai Steamed Dumplings should taste and look. They are constantly cranked out with robot like precision. The Southern California branches achieve roughly 85% of the quality of this branch. It amazes us that virtually no out Chinese restaurant in the San Francisco area comes close. A super sized dumpling or one in a foil basket is a dead giveaway for compromise.
You can see that each dumpling is compact, uniform, 18-fold crown, weighed down with soup when you pick them up. The meat inside is not huge yet the soup is full on a slightly meaty flavor.
We also dined at Din Tai Fung’s original Xinyi location in Taipei. It is a much more cramped space when compared to the flagship Taipei 101 Din Tai Fung. We would rate quality of the pork and truffle dumplings here to be just a small tick lower.
On our latest trip to Asia, we had a chance to compare these Din Tai Fung Taipei super dumplings to the real deal in Shanghai. In the past, we found Jia Jia Tang Bao in Shanghai running ahead. This time, we noted that Jia Jia’s consistency is less than Din Tai Fung. You had dumplings slightly differing in size and shape. Quality wise, we would have to give the nod to Din Tai Fung Taipei over Jia Jia. Jia Jia is also notorious for running out of pork dumplings around noon, then forcing you to order the more expensive crab ones.
On our last trip, we make a pilgrimage to Fu Chun. They serve what many feel is the closed you can get to authentic xiaolongbao. These have far thicker skin, meatier, and less soup. Rice wine and soy sauce are also more prevalent.
Most restaurant like Jia Jia or Din Tai Fun do not serve real xiaolongbao, but really Nanjing tangbao [Nanjing soup dumplings] labelled as xiaolongbao.
Insider Tip – Go early to avoid the lines. Wait times up to 2 hours during peak times!
Cuisine – Chinese Shanghainese – Taiwanese
Location – Taipei 101, Taiwan
Opened – 2004
Service – Din Tai Fung was friendly and efficient. They have this down to a science and it shows. This restaurant will place a decorative cover over coats hung on your chair. A basket will be brought to hold your backpack or your handbag. There was nearly tea refilling. Why can’t Chinese restaurants be like this? Automatic 10% service charge.
Verdict – Din Tai Fung Taipei 101 is definitely a great place for Shanghai steamed dumplings or Xiao Long Bao. You have to fly across the Pacific to eat something more authentic than we have back in the US. Their truffle dumplings are tops in our book. We actually returned for our last meal at the Din Tai Fung original location. A clean efficient Chinese food chain that has turned dumpling making into a science. Other items on their menu are simply filler.
Din Tai Fung Signature Dishes – Xiao Long Bao or Shanghai Steamed pork dumplings, other dumplings
Din Tai Fung’s Menu is pretty extensive with lots of appetizers, dumplings, noodles, greens, buns, and dessert. Lots of pictures make it easy to order. They include a lot of vegetarian and gluten-free options. We are here for the dumplings, so we try to waste as little time as possible on the other items.
Foodie Note: They have mini pork dumplings on the weekends, so you may want to time your visit.
If you like eight treasure rice, call ahead at least 3 days to pre-order the large version of this dish.
Website Din Tai Fung Menu clearly marks Vegetarian and Gluten Free options. Prices were cheaper than Din Tai Fung Bellevue, Washington or Southern California.
Din Tai Fung Food Picks:
At the time of our visit, 1 US Dollar = $31NT
Juicy pork dumplings or pork Xiao Long Bao (NT$200 for 10 pieces) contain lots of hot and flavorful soup with good meat flavor, thin wrapper (but not overly fragile), even though they were fairly small and delicate, yet baggy dumplings. Cooked on a cheesecloth, within a bamboo steamer. Thicker cap. You can see the soup pool at the bottom.
The initial bite and sucking of the hot soup resulted in an explosion of flavor. We would rate these excellent, better than restaurants in the United States, including their US locations. We ordered an additional ten dumplings and they came in two minutes. Impressive.
On the last day of our trip we dined at the Din Tai Fung original location in Xinyi and would rate their quality a small touch below the Taipei 101 location. Tad less soup in the dumplings. Prices are the same.
Truffle and Pork XiaoLongBao (NT$450 for five pieces) are their flagship dumpling. Expensive at $3 a bite! You can smell the rich truffle essence before you even bite into them. Silky white thin wrapper. On our first bite and slurp, we said “Amazing, my God!” You can see small black truffle specs on the meat. The waitress told us not to use any sauce or ginger. This is a decadant treat akin to eating a foie gras Xiao Long Bao. We instantly branded this the best dumplings we’ve had.
Mini Red Bean Buns (NT$40 for 2) were tiny but possessed lots of fairly sweet red bean filling.
House Steamed Chicken Soup (NT$200) was served extremely hot with solid chicken flavor. A black chicken’s foot was present, making it clear that this isn’t mom’s chicken soup.
Eight Flavored Sticky Rice Dessert (NT$70) consists of sweet glutinous rice along with some huge pink beans, raisins and nuts. Lots of beans and dates. Not super large, more of a personal size. Note that you can order the larger version, at least 3 days in advance, sometimes you can get away with one day in advance.
OK: (Order if you like this dish)
Pans: (We would not reorder these dishes)