On our recent trip to Taipei and Hong Kong, Bob and I rediscovered our love for this Taiwanese chain, Din Tai Fung. We'd forgotten how amazingly delicious their xialongbao was, but don't worry, we ate there three times in our 8 day trip so we got plenty of dumplings.
We tried the original pork xiaolongbao (tiny soup dumplings), chicken dumplings, and a crab and roe combo. Our favorite is definitely the original pork dumplings, they're just perfect and mouth-wateringly delicious. In later trips to the restaurant we'd only order these dumplings as they're our favorite and we wanted to stuff ourselves with as many as we possibly could.
To go with our pork dumplings we also ordered some greens. (One thing I really love about Asia in general is the huge assortment of vegetables that are available, as well as all the different ways these vegetables can be prepared.) So we ordered the cucumbers in chili-vinegar sauce, yum! And water spinach sautéed with garlic.
We thought about ordering more "healthy" options, but ended up just stuffing our faces with the dumplings. Who were we kidding, porky- meaty delicious dumplings were what we really wanted.
We only had to wait for a table for a little amount of time, as this place is super efficient. All the wait staff is really helpful and friendly, and a friend of ours told us that in order to work there you must speak at least two languages to assist customers. I never lacked for my tea to be refilled, and they brought out a covering for my purse so it wouldn't get grease on it. Great service and delicious food, really it's a dream come true.
The other great thing about Din Tai Fung is that if you're not familiar with eating xiaolongbao they have these cute little instruction cards that they place on all the tables so you can figure it out. Bob and I like to dip our dumplings in vinegar with a little bit of ginger with each bite. Heavenly!
And finally, because we're of course in Asia it's ridiculously cheap. We spent $30USD for lunch and we each ate 10 pork dumplings, split cucumbers and water spinach and enjoyed 6 dessert bao, stuffed with taro and red bean. We were completely satisfied customers.
There are a few US locations of Din Tai Fung, and I plan on always eating dumplings if I'm ever in a city that this restaurant exists. If you've never been before I suggest you add it to your list of great eats!