After our adventure in Maokong Gondola, we made our way to Taipei 101 where a famous restaurant is located at the very base of the iconic skyscraper. We arrived at 2 in the afternoon and Din Tai Fung was swarmed with tourists and locals alike. A priority number system is set at the entrance. The number of people is relevant as they have different queues for each group – one for pairs, another for groups of 3-6 and large groups. Once you’ve notified the hostess of the number of people in your group, you’ll be included in the queue and provided a menu so you can decide in advance what you’ll be ordering. As per the signage for the priority numbers, we were to have a 40-minute wait.
Groups hunched over a menu is quite the sight outside the restaurant.
I think we just waited for half an hour before we were assigned to our table. From there, it was quick and straightforward. The server asked for our orders and in just minutes, drinks and the appetizer were already in our table.
Shaoshing Wine Marinated Chicken
Steamed chicken marinated in Shaoshing wine. I have no idea what Shaoshing wine is, but you can taste it in the chicken meat. It had layers of flavour; sweet and zesty that has a light bitterness.
Hot & Sour Soup (Spicy)
Your typical hot & sour soup. I enjoyed this very much, spending more than a day in that cold weather, especially. It is self-explanatory, the name is already a description of the dish. Bamboo shoots, tofu and spices swim around the slightly thick soup. They offer this in regular, meaning not spicy, and I can’t get my head around the concept of a hot & sour soup not being spicy. I’ve only, always, had spicy hot & sour soup and it’s always nice to have that oomph. Don’t get this if you dislike sour or spicy foods, otherwise, it’s a must!
Pork Xiao Long Bao
Din Tai Fung came into prominence because of their Xiao Long Baos. They are basically dumplings with soup and the type of meat you want, inside. If you bite into them, it’s a sure way to spill the soup inside so eat these by (1) biting a tiny bit and sip the soup before eating the whole dumpling or if you want to live dangerously, (2) by the mouthful, and burst them only inside your mouth. Be careful, though, as the soup can be very hot.
A glass cased room can be seen in one area of the restaurant where you can observer men making these like a machine. They were fast and orderly. I wish I took a picture, but I felt like it was disrespectful to the men working.
Steamed Shrimp and Pork Shao Mai
A familiar dish to us, this became the very first meal where we ate a lot! Shao Mai is a staple in any Chinese restaurant and it was only right to order some. Living in Asia, I’ve probably eaten thousands of Shao Mai already. This one tasted delectable and authentic. my first time to see it wrapped with the shrimp in the opening.
Noodles with House Special Spicy Sauce
This was like an Asian counterpart of a spaghetti. Salty and spicy with a slight hint of sweetness, I could compare this to our local pancit canton. This might even be the authentic version of it.
Pork Chop Fried Rice (With Egg)
I had to ask my friends to get a second order of this. I was so hungry, I had to latch on to whatever’s familiar. We haven’t had a proper meal the day before as it was mostly 7/11. I guess, I’ll never be able to survive long periods without rice. They also have this fried rice with shrimps which also looked tasty. If I ever return, I’ll be sure to include this and the shrimp fried rice in my meal. The pork chops were meaty with little to no fats, which I like. The coating isn’t overwhelming, it had a nice sweet and salty combo making it the perfect viand to pair the fried rice with. This dish is a sure way to fill you up.
Snow Mushroom Sweet Soup
For dessert, we had this cold soup. The soup is thick and sweet, it had gelatin with snow mushrooms as the centerpiece. Refreshing and a nice way to balance all the savory dishes we just had.
Sesame Mochi in Sweet Rice Wine Soup (Hot)
I’ve never had hot soup for dessert, this was a first. But after days of staying in Taiwan, I observed that it isn’t uncommon to offer hot dessert such as this one. Because of the rice wine, this had a tint of sourness. However, it was majorly sweet. I love mochi and I love sesame so the mochi balls were delightful to eat. I’d recommend that people try this, we don’t get a lot of hot desserts around the world. It’s not bad either, it’s actually really good.
Sesame inside the mochi ball.
All in all, our experience in Din Tai Fung was excellent. The service and food were impeccable. The only downside is that it is famous, so expect a lot of people and long queues. Maybe go around 11, or an hour before peak time.
How To Get There
- Take the Tamsui-Xinyi Line (red line) towards Xiangshan.
- Alight at Taipei 101 MRT Station.
- Follow the overhead signs to exit at Taipei 101. From there, you won’t be able to miss Din Tai Fung since it’s just beside the exit at the base of Taipei 101.