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[Taipei] Din Tai Fung

Din Tai Fung Mascot
Kawaii Din Tai Fung mascot greeting customers with a basket of xiao long bao

The Din Tai Fung (鼎泰豐) mascot is so adorable that every visitor will be clamouring to pose and take a photo with him. Who could imagine that a character with a xiao long bao (steamed pork dumplings with soup) for a head would be so irresistibly cute? We decided to check out this place right after Kao Chi which is just around the corner so that we could compare the quality and see what the fuss was about. Din Tai Fung is a famous Chinese restaurant with a long history and has outlets all over the world, including Singapore. Unfortunately, Singapore does not feature this mascot so this is an eye-opener for us. This particular outlet is the flagship store along Xinyi Road (信義路) situated at the entrance to Yong Kang Street (永康街), also known as “foodie street” (美食街).

Din Tai Fung, Taipei (Xinyi Flagship Store)
The perpetual crowd outside the entrance. The service crew was speaking fluent and impeccable English to westerners looking to join the queue.

Din Tai Fung, Taipei (Xinyi Flagship Store)
You are given the menu as you are queuing. By giving your order to the kitchen now, you minimize the waiting time when you get the table. The menu comes with Mandarin, English, Japanese and Korean descriptions.

Order
The xiao long bao come in a basket of 10. If you wish to order 5, we were told you can indicate “0.5” for that item. Since we just came from Kao Chi and still going Smoothie House for desserts after this stop, we decided to order 5 of the normal pork xiao long bao (小籠包), 5 of the crab-roe pork xiao long bao (蟹粉小籠包) and a plate of egg fried rice with shrimp (蝦仁蛋炒飯).

Din Tai Fung, Taipei (Xinyi Flagship Store)
On the way to your table, you will pass the glass-window kitchen area, a trademark of the restaurant where you can see the chefs hard at work.

Din Tai Fung, Taipei
Simple and elegant table setting ready for our arrival.

Din Tai Fung, Taipei
A cloth basket holder for your bags is part of the value-added service provided by the restaurant. That’s wiffy’s bag, not mine.

Din Tai Fung, Taipei
You can cover the bag holder during your meal for peace of mind.

Crab Roe Xiao Long Bao @ Din Tai Fung, Taipei
The crab-roe xiao long bao 蟹粉小籠包 (NT$165 for 5) can be identified by the yellow/orange filling seen through the translucent skin.

Crab Roe & Pork Xiao Long Bao
The filling tasted more meaty than Kao Chi’s version. Still delicious but we prefer the crab-roe xiao long bao at Kao Chi.

Pork Xiao Long Bao
The normal version of the xiao long bao with pork filling 小籠包. NT$95 for 5.

Pork Xiao Long Bao
The soup broth spilling into the spoon as you bite into it.

Xiao Long Bao Filling
The pork filling is meaty and chunky.

Ginger with vinegar
Ginger and vinegar condiment. A must-have to go with your xiao long bao.

Vinegar
If you like their grade of vinegar, you can purchase a bottle at the counter.

Egg Fried Rice
Egg fried rice with shrimp 蝦仁蛋炒飯. wiffy’s sis commented that this tasted slightly more bland than the Singapore version but as she is sensitive to MSG, she could tell that this version had much lesser or no MSG added.

Din Tai Fung Merchandise
With a popular and cute mascot, it is no wonder that a range of merchandise has been created as part of business marketing. Being the sucker I am for cute stuff, I just had to pick up an item or two though they are not exactly cheap. Every purchase of NT$300 entitles you to a set of free postcards.

Din Tai Fung Magnets
Kawaii mascot magnets NT$120

Din Tai Fung Keychain
Sweet girl version of the mascot mobile strap NT$110

Overall, food quality was very good but not exceptional. The service crew was warm, professional and attentive. Scores of crew greet you as you arrive and leave the restaurant. Plus points for providing a bag holder by the table and an attendant stationed at the washroom to ensure its tip-top cleanliness at all times.

Din Tai Fung Mascot

Din Tai Fung 鼎泰豐 (Xinyi Flagship Store 信義店)

地址: 台北市信義路二段194號(永康街口)
Address: No. 194, Sec. 2, Xinyi Rd., Da-an District, Taipei, Taiwan
Click here for Google Map
Opening hours/營業時間: Mon-Fri 10am to 9pm, Sat-Sun 9am to 9pm
Telephone/電話: 02-2321-8928
Website/官網: http://www.dintaifung.com.tw
Getting there: For now, the nearest MRT station is either Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Station or Zhongxiao Xinsheng Station but either one is too far to walk from so it is highly recommended to take a cab. Lookout for Dongmen Station Exit 5, opening in Sept 2012, which will only be a 3-min walk away.
Notes: Menu provided in English, Mandarin and Japanese.

What’s nearby: Kao Chi, Smoothie House (Yong Kang 15), Lao Zhang Beef Noodles, Yong Kang Beef Noodles

Check out all Taipei food reviews.

This article is written by contributing writer, B.

wiffy: Even if you have Din Tai Fung in your country, it is still highly recommended to visit this flagship store at Xinyi Road. The 超人氣 (super popular) vibe here is electrifying with its never-ending stream of customers; yet service is fast, efficient and impeccable. I consider this a must-visit place of attraction in Taipei. It is rated the number 1 restaurant in Taipei on Trip Advisor. If you still have room for more xiao long bao, check out the nearby Kao Chi. It is much quieter than DTF, but we had the best-ever crab-roe xlb there! After our meal, we headed over to Smoothie House for a refreshing shaved ice dessert.

   

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