Din Tai Fung – Great Xiao Long Bao (Soup Dumplings) in Taipei
Din Tai Fung (鼎泰豐) is a Taiwanese chain of xiao long bao (soup dumplings) restaurants that are probably the most famous in the world and among the best in terms of quality.
They have multiple branches in Taiwan, Japan, China, Singapore, Indonesia, Korea, Los Angeles, Malaysia and Sydney. I’ve always been surprised that they have been able to maintain their quality given the number of branches they have. Normally, restaurants that branch out like that tend to lose quality over time. I’ve been to the Fu Xing branch in Taipei, the Paragon branch in Singapore and Arcadia branch in LA and all of them are quite good (if anyone at DTF is listening…please open one in NY, you’ll crush the competition).
This review is for the Fu Xing branch in Taipei. The restaurant is located in the basement food court at the SOGO department store on Zhong Xiao East Road. There is always a fairly large wait and the waiter comes out gives you a number and a menu where you pre-order what you want, which is great because it’s extremely efficient. The restaurant is reasonably nice and the service is fine.
We only got two things, but multiple orders of it because we wanted to stick to the classics:
Xiao Long Bao (Soup Dumplings):
The dumpling skins at Din Tai Fung are the best I’ve ever had; they are very thin and delicate, more so than any other version I’ve ever had. That is the where I think DTF really excels. They are among the best dumpling skins I’ve ever had. The filling is very good as well (the best I’ve ever had though goes to Fu Sing Shark Fin Restaurant in Hong Kong), the meat is great and the soup is light and not greasy at all. Just an all around great soup dumpling. 8.75/10 (9.25/10 for the skins, 8.5/10 for the filling)
Beef Noodle Soup (Hong Shao Niu Rou Mian):
Beef noodle soup is one of the national dishes of Taiwan and DTF makes a pretty respectable version. Beef noodle soup in Taiwan is sort of similar to ramen in Japan in that there are tons of places that specialize in it and people tend to get pretty picky about it. I may not be as picky as I once was about it because in the NY a really good version doesn’t exist, so it’s rare that I get to have a really good bowl of it. The version here wasn’t the best I’ve ever had in Taiwan, but it was very good. The beef was excellent, very tender and flavorful. The noodles were excellent as well, al dente with good flavor. The broth was very good, not overly salty, that great hong shao (red cooking) flavor although I prefer mine a bit spicier and flavorful (the best versions I’ve had have a slightly deeper flavor). Overall though it’s a very good bowl of beef noodle soup. 8.5/10
DTF is very famous and famous for a good reason. If you are in an area with a DTF, I highly suggest going.
B2F., No.300, Sec. 3, Zhongxiao E. Rd.
Da-an District, Taipei City 10654, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
(B2F of Fuxing SOGO Department Store)
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