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DIN TAI FUNG Experience @ Taipei 101!

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DIN TAI FUNG is the Legendary Xiao Long Bao (steamed dumplings) restaurant in Taiwan that a lot of Pinoy foodies visiting Taiwan and Hongkong are raving about.

Established in 1974, it was:

  • named among the Top 10 Restaurants of the World by The New York Times in 1993
  • awarded One Michelin Star three times for its Hong Kong Branches in 2010, 2011, and 2012

It is one of the popular restaurant chains with a high franchise fee (rumor is $20M - hope that Henry Sy can bring it to Manila). So, we have to settle for the next best thing from Hongkong -- Crystal Jade -- and some Xiao Long Bao shops that got chefs from Din Tai Fung.

To kick off the Flavors of Taiwan series, I would like to share with you our Din Tai Fung experience...

Flavors of Taiwan Series (2012):

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We decided to eat in Din Tai Fung in the Taipei 101 Mall branch to make it convenient to go to the Taipei 101 observatory after lunch.

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It is located in the basement level. You have to fall in line to get a table during the peak lunch hours.

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The Hello Kitty-like Xiao Long Bao chef mascot welcomes guests to Din Tai Fung. Cute, isn't it?

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The restaurant has a modern ambiance with its straight lines, comfortable chairs, artistic lights and photos.

This branch is an upscale dimsum place; I wonder how the original store looks like...

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A centerpiece of the restaurant is the see-through Xiao Long Bao preparation kitchen where you can see how each dumpling is carefully prepared.

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DIN TAI FUNG MenuAppetizers 1 | Appetizers 2 | Xiao Long Bao 1 | Xiao Long Bao 2 | Steamed Dumplings 1 | Steamed Dumplings 2 | Buns 1 | Buns 2 | Soups 1 | Soups 2 | Dishes | Fried Rice | Noodle Soups 1 | Noodle Soups 2 | Noodles | Wontons | Desserts | Desserts & Rice Buns | Gift Sets 1 | Gift Sets 2 | Drinks

The menu is equally impressive -- yummy food photography, organized, easy-to-read and well-presented. It has the appropriate icons to indicate what's popular, if it has chicken or pork, what's spicy and if it's a vegetarian dish.

As a rule of thumb, 1 Peso is equal to 1.5 Taiwan NT$.

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The attention to detail is amazing. They provide a container for the bags; but if you sling your bag or jacket on the backrest of your chair, they cover it for security purposes.

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Tea is immediately served and refilled from the long spout tea kettles.

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★ Spicy Pickled Cucumber (NT$65 +10% service charge).

The servers present the appetizer cart while you wait for your orders.

As for this starter, we liked the sauce and spicy pickled taste of the small cucumbers.

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Sauteed String Beans with Minced Pork (NT$90 +10% service charge).

The vegetable dishes were good appetizers. This was OK, nothing out-of-the-ordinary since we have a similar Filipino dish.

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★ Pork Xiao Long Bao (NT$190 - 10pcs. +10% service charge).

We loved the Xiao Long Bao! The outer dimsum skin was so soft but strong enough to keep the soup inside without bursting easily. The soup was hot and had deep pork flavors.

It's a good portion size; you can eat it in one bite.

Each piece is about P30 when you convert it, and is almost the same as the pricing here in Manila.

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★ Fried Pork Chop (NT$100 +10% service charge).

Aside from the Xiao Long Bao, we enjoyed feasting on this Taiwanese pork chop version -- very soft with a lot of umami flavor. It was so good we couldn't stop eating it.

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★ Shrimp Fried Rice with Egg (NT$180 +10% service charge).

Their Yang Chow rice version was moist and bursting with flavor in each rice grain. It perfectly complemented the Fried Pork Chop.

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It was fun eating with the media delegation, which was made up of people who enjoy food and understand the need to photograph them before eating. :)

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★ Steamed Shrimp and Pork Shiaomai (NT$320 - 10pcs +10% service charge).

I also loved the shrimp and pork siomai that looked like small bags of coins sealed with shrimp. Don't you just love the presentation?

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It tasted equally good too -- soft dimsum wrapper, nice fresh shrimp, and good pork flavors.

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Overall, Din Tai Fung was really good (although I would have preferred to eat in the original store in Taiwan for my first visit, just to experience an old-school dimsum place). But I do think its ambiance, presentation and taste were already somehow pre-empted by Crystal Jade.

Din Tai Fung already has branches in Japan, China, Singapore, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Australia and Thailand. I'm still hoping that it finds its way to Manila soon...

Din Tai Fung @ Taipei 101 Restaurant
B1, No. 45, Shifu Rd., Taipei City (Taipei 101 Mall)
Telephone: +886-2-8101-7799
Website: www.DinTaiFung.com.tw

★ - Recommended. Order this! :)

Related Blog Posts:

TAIWAN: Guide to an Awesome Experience in Taipei! #CometoTaiwan

Awesome Taiwan #CometoTaiwan Series (2014):

Flavors of Taiwan Series (2012):

 

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Full Disclosure: Nothing to disclose. Our meals were courtesy of Chatime Philippines. We are not connected with the establishment or any organization marketing Din Tai Fung.

P.S. Thanks for the awesome company for our first Din Tai Fung Experience!

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There's also Din Tai Fung here in Canada. A little pricier if converted but well worth it.

My family and I dined in Din Tai Fung recently in Thailand, and it made me wish that someone would bring it here to the Philippines. It's too bad the Din Tai Fung in Taiwan doesn't serve Roselle Juice. I also couldn't find the delicious cold tofu dish that we ordered. Sad :(

Either way, I hope you enjoy the rest of your stay in Taiwan! Oh, and I hope you can try out Taiwan's famous fried chicken and bing (shaved ice)! You can find it in most night markets (most notably the one in Shi Lin). The fried chicken with cheese is really good! A few years back, it cost NT 50 for a ridiculously large piece.

As for the bing, my friends and I enjoyed it with the Taiwan egg pudding (it comes in a small plastic container and costs NT20 I think), and with a mix of various jello and sweet syrup. The cost really depends on the store/stall. But in the night market, it used to cost NT 75.

Din Tai Fung is really one of the best in my opinion. After trying it in Hong Kong last year, I understand Michelin Star ratings even more: Michelin Stars are really more about the food and nothing more. No ambiance, no service quality, nothing of those. It really is all about the taste of the food. I think there is this other dimsum restaurant in Hong Kong that has such a smelly interior and bad service but has a Michelin Star. Heard that you have to line up in there for breakfast just to be able to eat by lunch :P

Interestingly, some of the menu in Din Tai Fung is very similar to Shi Lin here in Manila, Even that Shrimp and Pork dumplings presentation is uncanningly the same.

there's a din tai fung here in Aracadia, California. It's pretty good and use to have instruction on the chopstick cover on how to eat the dumplings. I like how they have it in bamboo steamer's over there, here in arcadia they use the aluminum steamers :(


Yeah the aluminum steamers would probably produce a different flavor I guess.

Live an Awesome Life,


Anton Diaz
Founder and Digital Publisher
www.OurAwesomePlanet.com

Crystal Jade is from Singapore, FYI.

Also, that presentation of shrimp siomai is quite common (check out Lugang Cafe, Crystal Jade, Shi Lin, etc.).

I suggest you also try "上海湯包" pronounced as "Shanghai Thang Pao" located at the basement of Taipei 101. It's equally good! There's always a line there as well.

Try the crispy dried pork at "新東陽 Shin Ton Yon's" stall also located at the basement, it's addicting! They have samples for you to try.

Finally, I can't leave Taiwan without having Cold Stone Creamery ice cream! I love their coffee flavor & mint flavor!

Thanks for this tip! Will check this out when we visit again.

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